An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the Act) came into force in January of 2020, containing many innovative provisions aimed at affirming the jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples and providing services for Indigenous families. Ground- breaking provisions within the Act create a positive obligation on the government to provide services to Indigenous children who otherwise would have been apprehended due to their socioeconomic status. However, the Act lacks a concrete funding provision. This legislative comment conducts an exercise in statutory interpretation to conclude that the current omission of a funding provision within the legislation is at odds with the nature, purposes, and context of the legislation. The Act leaves a gap in funding (through no fault of the child’s community) for children living in communities that have assumed jurisdiction over their own child and family services without having signed a coordination agreement, as well as for children in communities that have not assumed jurisdiction. This gap results in an inequitable funding distribution that helps some children out of poverty while leaving others behind, based on characteristics entirely out of the child’s control. Knowledge of this dangerous gap is crucial in compelling legal actors to urgently push for legal solutions, so that no child is denied the protections offered in sections 15 and 15.1 of the Act.
"The Children Parliament Left Behind: Examining the Inequity of Funding in An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families"
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