Jordan's Principle Working Group Project (2012-16)

About the Jordan's Principle Working Group (2012-2016)

Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle intended to ensure that First Nations children do not experience denials, delays, or disruptions of services ordinarily available to non-First Nations children due to jurisdictional disputes. The principle states that whenever there is a jurisdictional dispute regarding which level of government or government department should pay for services for a First Nations child, the one first approached shall pay for the services requested. Disputes regarding costs should be resolved afterward, thus ensuring no denial, delay, or disruption in service delivery for First Nations children.  A Members Motion (M-296) endorsing the adoption of Jordan's Principle was unanimously passed in the House of Commons in 2007, but the Principle has never been fully implemented. 

In its January 2016 decision of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and Assembly of First Nations v. Attorney General of Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) affirmed the vision of Jordan's Principle advanced by First Nations advocates and ordered the federal government to immediately implement the principle. In April 2016, the CHRT reinforced this ruling, asking the federal government to confirm implementation of Jordan's Principle. Additional rulings in 2017 further specified the details of and time-frame for implementation of Jordan's Principle.

About the Project

The Jordan’s Principle working group is a collaboration between First Nations organizations, Children’s rights and Paediatric advocacy organizations, and a team of researchers based at McGill University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Manitoba. Its initial goal was to understand how the federal government could claim that there were no known Jordan’s Principle cases in Canada, when anecdotal evidence encountered in our collective experience suggested that such cases were numerous and commonplace. The working group released a report in February 2015.  Summarizing the findings from a content analysis of over 300 Jordan’s Principle related documents and 24 exploratory interviews, it demonstrated the federal government’s systematic failure to ensure equitable services for First Nations children, and included consensus recommendations from working group members. Since publication of the report, the group has functioned as a policy learning network, facilitating member sharing of information about Jordan's Principle implementation.

Working Group Members (2016): 
Hillory Tenute + Amanda Meawasige (Assembly of First Nations)  |  Doug Maynard Canadian (Association of Paediatric Health Centres)  |  Elizabeth Moreau (Canadian Paediatric Society)  |  Marvin Bernstein + Lisa Wolff (UNICEF Canada) | Marion Williams (Paediatric Chairs of Canada)  | Molly Churchill  |  Anne Blumenthal  |  Luna Vives

Research Team (2016): 
Vandna Sinha  |  Meghan Brown  |  Anna McIntosh  |  Lucyna Lach  |  Josée G. Lavoie  |  Nico Trocmé  |  Luna Vives
Funding: Building Research Capacity with First Nations and Mainstream Youth Protection Services in Quebec initiative (SSHRC, Trocmé)

Related Publications

Published Reports


The Jordan’s Principle Working Group. (2015). Without denial, delay, or disruption: Ensuring First Nations children’s access to equitable services through Jordan’s Principle. Ottawa, ON: Assembly of First Nations.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Sinha, V. & Wong, S. (2015). Ensuring First Nations children’s access to equitable services through Jordan’s Principle: The time to act is now. Paediatrics & Child Health, 20(2), 62-4.


Blumenthal, A. & Sinha, V. (2015). No Jordan’s Principle cases in Canada? A review of the administrative response to Jordan’s Principle. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 6(1).


Sinha, V. & Blumenthal, A. (2014). From the House of Commons resolution to Pictou Landing Band Council and Maurina Beadle v. Canada:  An update on the implementation of Jordan’s Principle. First People’s Review, 9(1), 80-91.

Powerpoint Presentations


The Ongoing Struggle for Implementation of Jordan's Principle: Challenges to the Provision of Equitable Services for First Nations Children
(March 2015). Sinha, V. 6th International Meeting on Indigenous Child Health


Without denial, delay or disruption: Ensuring First Nations children's access to equitable services through Jordan's Principle
(June 2016). Sinha, V. Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition


Realizing Jordan's Principle: What's next for First Nations health managers?                                                                                                                 (November 2016) Sinha V. First Nation's Health Manager's Association Meeting

Information SHEETS


Without denial, delay or disruption: Ensuring First Nations children’s access to equivalent services through Jordan’s Principle. 
Sinha, V. (2015). Canadian Child Welfare Research Information Sheet #143E. Montreal, QC: Centre for Research on Children and Families.