Jordan’s Principle – Child First Initiative

Jordan’s Principle aims to make sure First Nations children can access public services ordinarily available to other Canadian children without denial, disruption or delay due to jurisdictional payment disputes.

Jordan's Principle:

•    includes all First Nations children 0-19 years old with an identified need for a publicly funded health, social or educational service or support are included, regardless of their health or social status, or place of residency (on or off reserve).
•    involves all jurisdictional disputes, between federal departments or between federal and provincial governments
•    provides payment for needed services by the government or department that first receives the request

Mi'kmaq Family Support facilitates Jordan's Principle cases, providing collaborative care for children and their families of seven First Nations situated along the north and east coast of New Brunswick including Eel River Bar, Pabineau, Eel Ground, Metepenagiag, Indian Island, Bouctouche, Fort Folly plus off-reserve clients in surrounding areas.

Mi'kmaq Family Support helps ensure that:

  • health or social services are not delayed, disrupted or prevented while they're being discussed or reviewed
  • services are implemented in a timely manner

Services will be provided despite jurisdictional service gaps or disputes over payment of needed services between:

  • federal departments
  • provincial and territorial governments and federal departments

What services and supports are included?

If a First Nations child needs a publicly funded health, social or educational service or support that other Canadian children receive, and cannot access it through existing programs in the community, then it is an eligible service or support through the Child-First Initiative.  Such as:

• Mental health services
• Rehabilitative therapies (such as occupational therapy, speech-language pathology)
• Medical supplies and equipment (that are not covered through NIHB)
• Education supports and services (educational assistants, assistive technology)
• Specialized assessments (psychoeducation, Autism, ADHD)
• Naturopathic health services
• Chiropractic services
• Cultural healing activities
• Prescription medication coverage

How are services being coordinated?

Local Service Coordinators will help identify First Nations children in need and act as the primary local contact for First Nations children and families. The Service Coordinators will work closely with communities and the regional Jordan’s Principle Focal Point contacts from the Department of Indigenous Services Canada (DISC). Once referrals are received, service coordinators work with the family and providers to determine what services are needed. If services are unavailable locally, then an application is made to the Service Access Resolution Fund (SARF) for funding, and services are started.

Who do families contact to get access to services and supports?

Anyone who is aware of a First Nation child who is not receiving the health and social services/supports that is needed is encouraged to contact their local service coordinator.






Jordan's Principle Background

Jordan River Anderson was a First Nation child born with a rare disorder who required hospitalization from birth. The provincial and federal governments could not agree on who was financially responsible for his care in a medical foster home.

Jordan's condition worsened and he passed away in hospital at the age of five years old,   before both government levels could resolve who would pay for provided services.

•    In 2007, Parliament unanimously voted in favor of Jordan’s Principle, but the scope was limited and did not fully honor the commitment 

•    In a landmark ruling on January 26, 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to immediately stop applying a limited and discriminatory definition of Jordan’s Principle, and to immediately take measures to implement the full meaning and scope of the principle (First Nations Caring Society, Jordan’s Principle, 2016)

•    In July 2016, the federal government made a commitment to fully implement Jordan’s Principle and reserved $382.5 million to hire service coordinators and to a fund called the Service Access Resolution Fund (SARF)



About Jordan's Principle

..." In recognition of Jordan, Jordan's Principle provides that where a government service is available to all other children, but a jurisdictional dispute regarding services to a First Nations child arises between Canada, a province, a territory, or between government departments, the government department of first contact pays for the service and can seek reimbursement from the other government or department after the child has received the service. It is a child-first principle meant to prevent First Nations children from being denied essential public services or experiencing delays in receiving them. On December 12, 2007, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion that the government should immediately adopt a child-first principle, based on Jordan's Principle, to resolve jurisdictional disputes involving the care of First Nations children."