Manitoba

Manitoba, Ottawa come to agreement on 'Jordan's Principle'

The provincial and federal governments have reached an agreement aimed at putting jurisdictional issues aside when dealing with children with severe disabilities who live on First Nations reserves.

The provincial and federal governments have reached an agreement aimed at putting jurisdictional issues aside when dealing with children with severe disabilities who live on First Nations reserves.

The agreement to implement "Jordan's Principle" is named for Jordan Anderson, who was born in 1999 on a northern Manitoba reserve with a complex genetic disorder that required specialized care.

When he died at age four, he had spent his entire life in an institutional setting, far from his family's community, as the provincial and federal governments argued over who would foot the bill for his care. 

The provincial and federal governments have agreed that First Nations children on reserves with multiple disabilities "should receive the same level of service … as children with similar needs living in similar geographic locations," provincial officials said in a release.

"This is a complex issue, and there is more work to be done, but progress has been made," Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross said in a release. "While that work continues, this agreement will help families who need these services get the care they need."

Both governments will use "individual case reviews" to resolve most issues, and the governments will work together on a mechanism to deal with any disputes, officials said.

In the interim, processes are now in place "to ensure that another case like Jordan's does not occur," officials said.

The federal-provincial agreement is the first of its kind to use Jordan's Principle, said federal Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl.

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