Jordan’s Principle is a legal requirement resulting from the Orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) and is not a policy or program.
Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle that aims to eliminate service inequities and delays for First Nations children. Jordan’s Principle states that any public service ordinarily available to all other children must be made available to First Nations children without delay or denial.
Jordan’s Principle is named in honour of Jordan River Anderson, a young First Nations boy from Norway House Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, who spent his entire life in hospital while caught in a jurisdictional dispute between the governments of Canada and Manitoba, which both refused to pay for the in-home medical care necessary for Jordan to live in his home and community.
Jordan’s Principle Handbook
The Jordan’s Principle handbook is a tool for First Nations families and community members to learn about Jordan’s Principle and how to access it.
Applies to all First Nations children, regardless of whether they live on or off-reserve;
Is not limited to children with disabilities; and
Under Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) policy, non-status children on-reserve are being considered eligible for coverage under Jordan’s Principle.
What is covered?
The services covered by Jordan’s Principle are as diverse as the First Nations children it serves. Any government-provided service available to all other children, including service assessments, is included in Jordan’s Principle coverage. If a service is not necessarily available to other children or is an exceptional service, the child will still have their needs evaluated to determine if the service will ensure substantive equality.
Examples of the services covered by Jordan’s Principle include, but are not limited to:
Services from Elders
Assessments and screenings
Medical supplies and equipment
Mental health services
Respite care (individual or group)
Specialized programs based on cultural beliefs and practices
Personal support worker
Assistive technology and electronics
If a service is not necessarily available to other children, or is an exceptional service, the child will still have their needs evaluated to determine if the service will ensure substantive equality. If this is the case, the government department first approached will pay for the service to ensure the child’s needs are met.
For more information on Jordan’s Principle and who to contact, please visit the following websites:
In July 2016, Canada announced new funding of $382.5M over three years as an interim initiative to implement Jordan’s Principle, while committing to undertake a co-development approach with First Nations about the long-term implementation of Jordan’s Principle.
In their 2017 mandate letter, the Minister of Indigenous Services was mandated to “develop and implement an improved response to the provision of child welfare and health care under Jordan’s Principle that focuses on the best interests of the child. This will require a holistic approach to the delivery of services that focuses on prevention, family preservation and well-being, and community wellness.”
Jordan’s Principle Summit
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) hosted the first ever national Jordan’s Principle Summit on September 12-13, 2018, at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty One Territory. More than 850 First Nations citizens, family members, leaders, service coordinators, health directors and technicians, health, social, education practitioners, service providers, and innovators gathered under the theme of Sharing, Learning, and Growing: Imagining the Future of Jordan’s Principle.
On February 23, 2007, the AFN and First Nations Child and Family Caring Society filed a complaintwith the Canadian Human Rights Commission which alleged that Canada racially discriminates against First Nations children in their inequitable funding of child and family services on-reserve.
On January 26, 2016, the Tribunal ruled in favour of First Nations children (2016 CHRT 2), finding that Canada, indeed, funds the on-reserve child and family services program inequitably.
The Tribunal released an initial compliance ruling on immediate relief (2016 CHRT 10) on April 26, 2016, related to the First Nations child and family services program, the 1965 Agreement, Jordan’s Principle, and other issues.
The Tribunal issued a second compliance ruling on September 14, 2016 (2016 CHRT 16), on additional immediate relief measures and reporting on progress towards implementation of the Orders.
The Tribunal issued a third compliance ruling on May 26, 2017 (2017 CHRT 14), that expanded the definition of Jordan’s Principle, made orders on the tracking and processing of Jordan’s Principle cases, and called for publicizing of clear information on Jordan’s Principle.
The Tribunal has issued a fourth compliance ruling on February 1, 2018 (2018 CHRT 4), ordering Canada to analyze the agencies’ needs assessments previously completed, to remove factors of the funding formula that incentivize the apprehension of children pending a new funding formula, and to fully fund agency costs at actuals.