First Nations children still face delays in accessing health care: report

By CBC News, 10 February 2015

First Nations children in Canada still face obstacles in accessing health and social services as quickly as other children due to continuing "bureaucratic confusion" and red tape on the part of governments, according to a new report.

The report, released on Tuesday by Canadian and U.S. researchers along with the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Assembly of First Nations and Unicef Canada, says the federal government has fallen short on Jordan's Principle, its 2007 pledge to ensure First Nations children with complex health needs who are caught in jurisdictional fights between the federal, provincial and band governments are not denied access to public health services. (...)

However, the report's authors say, First Nations children needing health and social services must still contend with what it calls an "ongoing inequity," as they cannot access the care and support they need as quickly as other children in Canada.

"There is growing recognition that the governmental response to Jordan’s Principle does not reflect the vision advanced by First Nations and endorsed by the House of Commons," the report states in part. (...)

"Responsibility for services to First Nations children is often shared by federal, provincial/territorial and First Nations governments; in contrast, funding and delivery of these same services to most other children in Canada falls solely under provincial/territorial jurisdiction," the report says.

"Accordingly, First Nations children face unique challenges in accessing services, and Jordan’s Principle is an essential mechanism for ensuring their human, constitutional, and treaty rights."

After Jordan's Principle was endorsed by the House of Commons, the federal government helped develop federal, provincial and territorial policies and procedures for identifying similar cases and dealing with jurisdictional disputes. (...)

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Image: Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

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