In Memory of Jordan River Anderson 1999-2004
Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Born with complex medical needs, Jordan spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the Province of Manitoba and the federal government argued who would pay for his at home care. Jordan died in the hospital at the age of five years old, never having spent a day in his family home (First Nations Caring Society, Jordan’s Principle, 2016).
What is Jordan’s Principle?
Jordan's Principle is a child-first principle meant to prevent all First Nations children from being denied essential services or experiencing delays in receiving them. Jordan's Principle:
- applies to all First Nations children (on or off reserve)
- involves all jurisdictional disputes, between federal departments or between federal and provincial governments
- provides payment for needed services by the government or department that first receives the request
- In 2007, Parliament unanimously voted in favor of Jordan’s Principle, but the scope was limited and did not fully honor the commitment
- In a landmark ruling on January 26, 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to immediately stop applying a limited and discriminatory definition of Jordan’s Principle, and to immediately take measures to implement the full meaning and scope of the principle (First Nations Caring Society, Jordan’s Principle, 2016)
- In July 2016, the federal government made a commitment to fully implement Jordan’s Principle and reserved $382.5 million to hire service coordinators and to a fund called the Service Access Resolution Fund (SARF)
Are all First Nations children included under Jordan’s Principle?
Yes. All First Nations children 0-19 years old with an identified need for a publicly funded health, social or educational service or support are included, regardless of their health or social status, or place of residency (on or off reserve).
What services and supports are included?
If a First Nations child needs a publicly funded health, social or educational service or support that other Canadian children receive, and cannot access it through existing programs in the community, then it is an eligible service or support through the Child-First Initiative.
So far, coverage has been provided for a variety of services and supports, including:
- mental health services
- rehabilitative therapies (such as occupational therapy, speech-language pathology)
- medical supplies and equipment (that are not covered through NIHB)
- special education supports and services (like educational assistants)
- specialized assessments (such as psychoeducational assessments, Autism assessments)
How are local services being coordinated?
Local Service Coordinators will help identify First Nations children in need and act as the primary local contact for First Nations children and families. The Service Coordinators will work closely with communities and the regional Jordan’s Principle Focal Point contacts from Health Canada and INAC. Once referrals are received, service coordinators work with the family to determine what services are needed. If services are unavailable locally, then an application is made to the Service Access Resolution Fund (SARF) for funding, and services are started.
Who do families contact to get access to services and supports?
Anyone who is aware of a First Nation child who is not receiving the health and social services/supports that is needed is encouraged to contact their local service coordinator. There are 12 service coordinators in the Atlantic region, and four in New Brunswick.
Gloria Augustine-Kingsclear, St. Mary’s, Oromoctofirstname.lastname@example.org (902) 483-9980
Jennifer Perley- Woodstock, Tobique, Madawaska, email@example.com (506) 426-0352
Sheila Francis-Esgenoopetitj, Elsipogtog firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie O’Shea- Eel River Bar, Pabineau, Metepenagiag, Eel Ground, Indian Island, Buctouche and Fort Folly- email@example.com (506) 251-2402