The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada’s Cindy Blackstock managed to see a major victory against the federal government on April 18 as the courts ruled in her favour over whether Ottawa is discriminating against Aboriginal children on reserves by providing less funding in child welfare to them.
While a Human Rights Tribunal had been held over the same discrimination complaint in 2011 after it was originally filed by the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations in 2007, the issue was dismissed. However, the Federal Court ruled that a human-rights complaint alleging that Ottawa underfunds services for on-reserve children and is therefore discriminating against them cannot be dismissed.
A hearing will now be held before a new panel of adjudicators.
“I am so happy. But on days like today, I am reminded how sad it is that we even have to bring a case like this forward in the first place. All areas of inequality are now opened up under the Canadian Human Rights Act legally for discussion, because of this case,” Blackstock told the Toronto Star.
If Blackstock actually succeeds with the Tribunal it could open the doors for on-par funding for child welfare services on reserves across Canada in a historic first.