• Consultation process for the reform of child and family services
Feb 14, 2017

The First Nations are in a good position to provide an accurate picture of the issues relating to child and family services in the communities. They are also the ones who, based on a desire for self-determination and reappropriation of governance, can find concrete ways to meet the needs of First Nations children and families while ensuring that these are adapted to their cultures and values.

Following a complaint that was filed in 2007 by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) made a decision on January 26, 2016. The CHRT concluded that, under the Canadian Human Rights Act, the provision of child and family services by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is discriminatory due to inequitable and inadequate funding. One of the corrective orders issued by the CHRT to INAC targets the reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program (FNCFS). 

It is therefore in response to this order as well as the call to action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in December 2015 that INAC entrusted the FNQLHSSC with a mandate to implement a process of engagementwith First Nations. These consultations will lead to the mobilization of First Nations and enable them to be heard with respect to their needs, considerations and vision in the area of child and family services. 

The mobilization sessions will take place in the spring of 2017. Subsequently, a report presenting the recommendations will be submitted to the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, on June 30, 2017. 

The regional round table, comprised of the social services directors of the First Nations communities in Quebec, met on February 20 and 21, 2017, in the city of Québec, in order to meet with Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, special representative for Minister Bennett on the FNCFS reform. This meeting provided the FNQLHSSC with direction regarding the consultation process with First Nations. 

The details surrounding the mobilization sessions and other consultation procedures are coming and will soon be available on the FNQLHSSC website.