What is Jordan's Principle?

Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle that aims to eliminate service inequities and delays for First Nations children. The Principle states that any public service ordinarily available to all other children must be made available to First Nations children without delay or denial. 

It was named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation, who spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while Canada and Manitoba argued over payment for his at-home care.

In response to this tragedy, in 2007, the House of Commons unanimously passed Motion-296, enacting Jordan’s Principle. 

In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to immediately stop applying the discriminatory definition of Jordan’s Principle and to immediately take measures to implement the full definition of Jordan’s Principle.

Who is Jordan River Anderson?

"Jordan could not talk, yet people around the world heard his message. Jordan could not breathe on his own and yet he has given the breath of life to other children. Jordan could not walk but he has taken steps that governments are now just learning to follow."

Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director First Nations Child & Family Caring Society

Jordan River Anderson was a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba who was born in 1999 with multiple complex medical needs.In 2001, a hospital-based team decided that Jordan’s needs would best be met in a specialized foster home closer to his home community. However, federal and provincial governments argued over financial responsibility for Jordan’s proposed in-home services.
During these conflicts, Jordan remained in hospital, even though it was not medically necessary for him to be there. Jordan died in 2005 at the age of 5, never having had the opportunity to live in his family’s home.

Jordan’s death ignited a movement to uphold human rights for all First Nations children through the creation of the child-first principle called “Jordan’s Principle.”

The Messenger Documentary

Watch this powerful documentary by Alanis Obomsawin which tells the story of how the life of Jordan River Anderson initiated a battle for the right of First Nations and Inuit children to receive the same standard of social, health and educational services as the rest of the Canadian population.. Available on Amazon Prime or the National Film Board. 

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