February 23, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission
The Chief Commissioner of Canadian Human Rights Commission, Marie-Claude Landry, issues the following statement:
“Ten years ago today, a journey began to address an issue that had been ignored for far too long. The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, along with the Assembly of First Nations, filed a complaint on behalf of Indigenous children who were taken into the child welfare system and away from their families. Most of the Indigenous children that were in the child welfare system when this complaint was filed are now adults, and some have since lost their own children to the system.
“The inadequate funding of child welfare services on reserves perpetuates the cycle of despair created by residential schools. More than a year ago, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued an order that was meant to end this cycle.
“The Canadian Human Rights Commission is calling for an end to this injustice, and the constructive resolution of the ongoing litigation. Every day that goes by without a resolution impacts lives.
“As Canada’s national human rights institution, it is our role to bring attention to the deplorable conditions and circumstances facing Indigenous peoples in almost every aspect of their lives. Every Indigenous child taken from their family, every child who takes their life out of despair, every child who feels abandoned by those charged with their wellbeing, is one child too many.
“The litigation in this case continues next month, and the Commission will make its full submissions before the Tribunal; yet litigation has its limits. We need quick action to ensure that all agencies helping these children and their families have sufficient funding to make a difference in their lives today.
“A handful of people have the responsibility to implement the Tribunal ruling and fix the Child Welfare system – together. It’s time.”