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Help is Available for Indigenous Children and Families Through Jordan's Principle Funding

By: Anne Marie Langan*

Jordan River Anderson was a five-year-old child from Norway House Cree Nation who suffered from a rare genetic condition for which he required specialized medical treatment. Even though he was cleared by medical staff to return home, he waited in the hospital for two years while the provincial and federal governments fought over who would pay for his home care and ended up dying in the hospital (Wikepedia, 2023). A study conducted by the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society in 2005 revealed that many other indigenous children were not receiving the services they needed due to jurisdictional disputes like the one that Jordan's family encountered (Wikepedia, 2023). In 2007 the Government of Canada adopted a motion establishing Jordan's principle which is that services for First Nations children should be culturally based and consider their historical disadvantage (Gov. of Canada, 2023). In the event of a jurisdictional dispute such as the one that arose in Jordan's case, the services would be paid first and the jurisdictional dispute could be resolved after the fact (Wikepedia, 2023).

The federal government has since set up a fund for indigenous children and families which can assist with a wide variety of health, social and educational needs (Gov. of Canada, 2023b). Indigenous children on and off reserve can qualify (Gov of Canada, 2023b). Health services include (Gov. of Canada, 2023b):

  • mobility aids

  • wheelchair ramps

  • addiction services

  • services from Elders

  • mental health services

  • specialized hearing aids

  • traditional healing services

  • services for children in care

  • assessments and screenings

  • transportation to appointments

  • medical supplies and equipment

  • long-term care for children with specialized needs

  • therapeutic services for individuals or groups (speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy)

Social services include (Gov. of Canada, 2023b):

  • social worker

  • land-based activities

  • personal support worker

  • specialized summer camps

  • respite care (individual or group)

  • specialized programs based on cultural beliefs and practices

Educational services include (Gov. of Canada, 2023b):

  • school supplies

  • tutoring services

  • teaching assistants

  • specialized school transportation

  • psycho-educational assessments

  • assistive technologies and electronics

These funds have also been used to help keep families housed by paying rent and utility arrears.

If you have questions about this funding or would like to apply you are encouraged to call the regional center. The contact information for the one in Ontario is: 1-833-442-2429 For more information about how to apply for funding or for assistance in applying, consider reaching out to your local friendship center, such as the Nogojiwanong Friendship Center in Peterborough, Ontario or your local community legal clinic such as the Peterborough Community Legal Center at 705-749-9355.


Government of Canada; Indigenous Services Canada. (2023, October 30). Timeline: Jordan’s Principle and First Nations Child and Family Services.

Government of Canada; Indigenous Services Canada. (2023b, December 29). Submit a request under Jordan’s principle.

Wikepedia. (2023, November 27). Jordan’s principle. Wikipedia.

*Anne-Marie Langan B.A., B.S.W., LL.B., LL.M. is the project lead for the sexual violence projects at Peterborough Community Legal Centre, including the SHAPE project which provides legal advice and education for those experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace and the Your Way Forward project which provides support for those who have experienced intimate partner sexual violence. These projects are both sponsored by the government of Canada's Justice Department. She can be reached directly at

Disclaimer: This post contains general legal information as of February 14, 2024, that may or may not apply in a particular situation. It is important to note that the law, government policies and available programs can change and this blog will not be updated to reflect these changes. It is highly recommended to seek legal advice from a lawyer about your particular situation.

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