First Nation Families Struggle for Equal Health Care


WINNIPEG — First Nation families say they are struggling to get wheelchairs, beds and other health−care services for their children.

Several parents shared their stories at a Winnipeg summit on Jordan’s Principle.

The principle, adopted by the federal government, requires kids get access to services without delays caused by jurisdictional issues.

It’s named after Jordan River Anderson, a boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba who died without ever being able to go home because of a dispute over who would pay for his health care.

Carolyn Buffalo told the summit she fought for more than a decade so her son — who has cerebral palsy — could an electric wheelchair, feeding supplements and transportation to school.

Buffalo, who is from a Cree community in Alberta, says non−Indigenous kids would have automatically been given the same support.

But the families say there has been a stark improvement since a 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.

From July 2016 to July 31, 2018, more than 111,000 requests were approved under Jordan’s Principle for things like medical equipment, respite care and mental health services.

The Canadian Press