Source: Assembly of First Nations, 2015
Summary: Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle intended to ensure that First Nations children do not experience denials, delays, or disruptions of services ordinarily available to other children due to jurisdictional disputes. It is named in honour of Jordan River Anderson, a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. He encountered tragic delays in services due to governmental jurisdictional disputes that denied him an opportunity to live outside of a hospital setting before his death in 2005. Jordan’s Principle responds to complex systems for funding and delivering services, which treat Status First Nations children differently than other children in Canada. 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.
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.
Jordan’s Principle states that in cases involving jurisdictional disputes the government or government department first approached should pay for services that would ordinarily be available to other children in Canada; the dispute over payment for services can be settled afterwards. First Nations advocates developed Jordan’s Principle and have led the campaign for its implementation; Jordan’s Principle is now formally supported by thousands of stakeholders and observers. A motion endorsing Jordan’s Principle was unanimously adopted by the House of Commons in 2007. The federal government subsequently led a governmental response to Jordan’s Principle, facilitating the development of federal and provincial/territorial policies and procedures for identifying Jordan’s Principle cases and resolving jurisdictional disputes over payment or provision of services to individual First Nations children.