Who was Jordan River Anderson?

Jordan’s Principle is named after Jordan River Anderson, a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Jordan was born in 1999 with complex medical needs that required him to stay in hospital.

When he was two years old, doctors said he could move to a special home for his medical needs. However, the federal and Manitoba governments could not agree on who should pay for his home-based care.

Jordan stayed in the hospital until he passed away at the age of five.

What was the Legal Ruling?

In 2007, the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada filed a complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT), which is a legal institution that considers alleged breaches of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The complaint argued that Jordan’s case was just one of thousands in which inequitable and insufficient funding for child and family services to First Nations on reserve and in the Yukon, were discriminatory on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin.

In 2016, the CHRT determined the Government of Canada’s approach to services for First Nations children was discriminatory. One way we are addressing this is through a renewed approach to Jordan’s Principle.

Since the ruling, the CHRT has issued a number of follow-up orders about Jordan’s Principle. In May 2017, the CHRT ordered that the needs of each individual child must be considered, to ensure the following is taken into account under Jordan’s Principle:

  • substantive equality
  • providing culturally appropriate services
  • safeguarding the best interests of the child

This means giving extra help when it is needed so First Nations children have an equal chance to thrive.

Jordan’s Principle continues to evolve through the legal proceedings of the CHRT.

Who can access Jordan’s Principle?

A child under the age of majority in their province or territory of residence can access Jordan’s Principle, if they permanently reside in Canada and if the child meets one of the following criteria:

  • is registered or eligible to be registered under the Indian Act
  • has one parent or guardian who is registered or eligible to be registered under the Indian Act
  • is recognized by their Nation for the purposes of Jordan’s Principle
  • is ordinarily resident on reserve

Who is responsible for Jordan’s Principle service delivery in BC?

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is responsible for the review and adjudication of Jordan’s Principle requests in BC. In 2019 BC implemented an Enhanced Service Coordination model for BC which includes:

  • dedicated community based Jordan’s Principle Service Coordinators
  • a centralized Jordan’s Principle Service Coordination Hub (“the Hub”) hosted by the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS)

Jordan’s Principle requests are submitted to ISC BC region, who assess each request on a case-by-case basis. Jordan’s Principle Service Coordinators can act as authorized representatives, assist requestors to prepare and submit requests to Jordan’s Principle and access approved products, services and supports. Service Coordinators can also support requestors to prepare and submit an appeal if they disagree with the decision made by Indigenous Services Canada.