Federal government announces new funding for on-reserve child healthcare

APTN National News

First Nations children requiring medical treatment on-reserve may get the support they need after the federal government announced late Tuesday it had earmarked nearly $400 million to support what’s known as Jordan’s Principle.

Health Minister Jane Philpott said the federal government will spend $382 million on a new way to implement Jordan’s Principle that she says will enhance service co-ordination and ensure service access resolution so that children’s needs are assessed and responded to quickly.

Jordan’s Principle holds that no First Nations child should suffer denials, delays or disruptions of health services available to other children due to jurisdictional disputes.

In the past, provinces and the federal government couldn’t agree who should pay.

Jordan Anderson was a Cree boy from Norway House, Man., who died in hospital in 2005 after such disagreements kept him from spending his last years in home care.

“This approach will put the needs of children first and ensure that First Nations children living on-reserve receive the health and social services they need in a timely manner,” Philpott said.

The money will allow First Nations organizations to hire a regional service co-ordinator to assess needs, facilitate early intervention, develop integrated care plans and connect the child and family to needed services, she said.

The announcement came a day before the federal government was required to update the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on how it was going to fund on-reserve child welfare, including Jordan’s Principle.

The tribunal previously ruled Canada discriminates against First Nations children.

With files from The Canadian Press