AFN Welcomes Federal Court of Appeal Decision to Continue Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in Support of Equity and Fairness for First Nation Children

March 12, 2013
(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo welcomes the March 11 decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to continue Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearings on First Nations child welfare.

“It remains unfortunate that the federal government continues to battle us in court on a fundamental issue of justice and equity for First Nations children. It should not have to get to this, however yesterday’s decision is a welcome step by the Federal Court of Appeal and one that will ensure these important hearings continue before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal began hearing evidence February 25, 2013 for a human rights complaint alleging discrimination against First Nations children. The hearings are based on the February 27, 2007 complaint filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission by AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada regarding the longstanding pattern of inequity in government funding and child welfare services for First Nation children.

National Chief Atleo made opening statements at the Tribunal February 25, supporting and advocating for equity and fairness for First Nation children. Hearings before the Tribunal will resume in April and are expected to conclude this summer.

The Government of Canada applied to stop the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal from continuing hearings on the basis that one cannot compare federal programs and funding to those of provincial governments. The federal government argued that the Federal Court misapplied legal standards and adopted its own interpretation of the section 5(b) of the Human Rights Act. The Federal Court of Appeal disagreed and upheld the decision of the Federal Court. The Government of Canada has 60 days to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms

For more information please contact:  

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or

Assembly of First Nations