Canada signs Memorandum of Understanding with 11 First Nations and Alberta towards full implementation of Jordan’s Principle
November 15, 2018 — Edmonton, Treaty 6 Territory, Alberta — Indigenous Services Canada
The Government of Canada, Government of Alberta and First Nations partners are working together to ensure that First Nations children in Alberta can access the supports and services they need, when they need them.
Today the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, along with the signatory Chiefs from Maskwacis, Siksika Nation, Bigstone Cree Nation and Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council (which are represented by the First Nations Health Consortium) and Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services for the Government of Alberta, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committing for the full implementation of Jordan’s Principle in Alberta.
This MOU on Jordan’s Principle is the first of its kind between the federal government, provincial government and First Nations. This allows the Government of Canada, the First Nations Health Consortium and Government of Alberta to address gaps, and share information ensuring that children and families in Alberta are receiving the supports they need – including mental health supports, medical equipment, speech therapy, educational supports, and more.
In 2016, the federal government announced funding to allow Jordan’s Principle to be implemented across Canada. This funding ensures timely access to necessary products, services and supports that address the needs of First Nations children, regardless of whether they live on- or off-reserve. Since 2016, $33 million in funding has been provided for implementation of Jordan’s Principle in Alberta.
The Government of Alberta is committed to reconciliation and working with Indigenous partners to improve services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. This MOU fulfils one of 16 immediate actions set out in A Stronger, Safer Tomorrow, Alberta’s four-year public action plan to improve the child intervention system and strengthen supports for Indigenous families.
The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples in the spirit of reconciliation, recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. The federal government continues to work with all partners in developing a long-term approach to better address the unique health, social and education needs of First Nations children.
“This first-of-its-kind trilateral agreement sits at the heart of what Jordan’s Principle is meant to achieve. This ensures that all orders of Government and First Nation partners are working together to support First Nations children and families in getting the supports and services they need, regardless of where they live, and without jurisdictional disputes. I am honoured to sign this Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Government of Canada. I want to thank the First Nations Health Consortium and the Province of Alberta for this step forward in fully implementing Jordan’s Principle in Alberta.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
“This Memorandum of Understanding agreement is significant because our Alberta First Nations have come together to ensure a First Nations driven program is set in place to meet the needs of First Nations children throughout our province. We continuously work together honouring and advocating for the needs of our First Nation people. We are passionate about our role in improving the lives of our children and families.”
Acting Executive Director, First Nations Health Consortium
“Every child deserves the same access to services, regardless of where they live in Alberta. Our government is committed to reconciliation and to fully implementing Jordan’s Principle. This agreement is an important step towards ensuring that all First Nations children and families receive the services they need and the supports they deserve.”
The Honourable Danielle Larivee
Minister of Children’s Services,
Government of Alberta
Jordan’s Principle is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson. He was a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba born with multiple disabilities which required him to stay in a hospital from birth. At 2 years of age, doctors said he could move to a special home for his medical needs; however, the federal and provincial governments could not agree on who should pay for his home-based care. This is because different levels of government fund different services for First Nations children, especially those living on-reserve. As a result Jordan stayed in the hospital until he passed away at the age of 5.
Jordan’s Principle makes sure all First Nations children can access the products, services and supports they need, when they need them. It can help with a wide range of health, social and educational needs.
Nationally, from July 2016 to September 30, 2018, there have been more than 165,000 requests for products, services and supports approved for First Nations children under Jordan’s Principle, including 8129 requests approved in Alberta for the same timeframe. This includes mental health supports, medical equipment, speech therapy, educational supports, and more.
The 11 partner Nations of the First Nations Health Consortium are:
- Bigstone Cree Nation
- Loon River First Nation
- Lubicon Lake Band
- Peerless Trout First Nation
- Whitefish Lake #459 First Nation
- Woodland Cree First Nation
- Samson Cree Nation
- Louis Bull Tribe
- Montana First Nation
- Ermineskin Cree Nation
- Siksika Nation
For requests for support under Jordan’s Principle, caregivers can call 1-855-JP-CHILD (1-855-572-4453), open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.