APTN National News
OTTAWA-A First Nations organization that advocates on child welfare issues is asking the Federal Court to overturn a decision by the Human Rights Tribunal to dismiss a discrimination claim against Indian Affairs over its funding for First Nations child and welfare services.
The First Nations Child and Family Caring society submitted their Federal Court application Wednesday arguing that the tribunal misinterpreted the Human Rights Act when it decided to dismiss the complaint.
The society claims Indian Affairs discriminates against First Nations children by failing to fund First Nations child welfare services to the same level as the provinces.
The Tribunal ruled last month First Nations on-reserve child welfare services could not be compared to provincial child welfare services could not be compared.
“The tribunal unfairly and incorrectly dismissed the complaint on the sole basis that the discriminatory funding provided by the federal government for child welfare services, since off-reserve funding is provided by provincial or territorial governments,” the society argues in their application to the court. “The tribunal…effectively precluded First Nations people, who receive more services from the federal government than other Canadians because of their…constitutional status, from raising human rights complaints in respect of such services regardless of the discriminatory way in which they may be provided.”
The Tribunal’s decision handed a victory to the federal government which had been vigorously fighting the complaint.
The society is backed by the Assembly of Firs Nations, Amnesty International, the Chiefs of Ontario and the Human Rights Commission.