Bear Witness Day

May 10, 2023 |
Truth and Reconciliation

As an organization that has made Truth and Reconciliation a strategic organizational priority, we must acknowledge and bring attention to how Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately impacted.

May 10 is an important date in the history of Jordan's Principle at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Jordan's Principle is a child-first principle and legal rule named in memory of Jordan River Anderson. 

Once again, we are reminding CPSM registrants that today is a day for us all to "bear witness" to ensure Jordan's Principle is fully implemented by providing First Nations children access to services and support they need when they need them.


What is Jordan's Principle?

Jordan was a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Born with complex medical needs, Jordan spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the province of Manitoba and the federal government argued over who should pay for his at-home care. Jordan died in the hospital at five years old, never having spent a day in a family home. A teddy bear was Jordan's favourite toy and has come to symbolize the fight against the discrimination of First Nations children, youth, and their families.


Why is Jordan's Principle important?

Payment disputes within and between federal and provincial or territorial governments over services and supports for First Nations children are common. First Nations children are frequently left waiting for supports they desperately need or are denied supports that are available to other children. Jordan's Principle is a legal requirement that provides access to supports for First Nations children in need and ensures that the government of first contact pays for the supports without delay. This includes but is not limited to, education and health.


The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (the Tribunal)

After ten years at the Tribunal, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society proved that discrimination existed. The Tribunal ordered Canada to stop discriminatory policies and practices and take measures to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of Jordan's Principle. The CHRT issued the first of several compliance orders on May 10, 2016.

Since the 2016 landmark finding, the Tribunal has made further procedural and non-compliance orders. The case is ongoing and new rulings may arise in the future.


Learn More

Everyone can take peaceful and respectful actions to stand with First Nations and all children. We continue to focus on education and encourage you to take a moment to learn more about Jordan's Principle:


WATCH Alanis Obomsawin's documentary Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger to learn about Jordan River Anderson and the movement for justice that his life sparked.


SEE the Status of Truth & Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action on Child Welfare & Education


VISIT the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society website for more information.