Jordan’s Principle: Indigenous Children Deserve Care, Not Funding Disputes

Practice Point


November 2019

JORDAN COULD NOT TALK AND YET PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WOULD HEAR 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. He is an honoured ancestor of First Nations peoples in Canada and an inspiration to all the peoples of the world on how one toddler can change the world….

He is a child who really did change the world by ensuring the rights of children come before the conveniences of governments–all this and he was only five years old.

(Jean Crowder, MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, edited Hansard, Number 031, Wednesday, December 5, 2007, resuming consideration of her motion, seconded by Judy Wasylycia-Leis, MP for Winnipeg North — That, in the opinion of the House [of Commons], the government should immediately adopt a child first principle, based on Jordan’s Principle, to resolve jurisdictional disputes involving the care of First Nations children.)

It has been at least three years, maybe more, since Jordan died. It has been three or four years since we all recognized the fact that Jordan should have received the care he needed instead of becoming a football between different levels of government….

Jordan was a young lad who was born with a very serious disability. He was born in Norway House, Manitoba, which is part of the Cree nation. Because his family could not care for him on reserve, he was sent off reserve for care, and there began this horrifying chapter in Canadian history, a chapter of disgrace and shame on all of us, on all political parties and on all levels of government.

(Judy Wasylycia-Leis, MP for Winnipeg North, edited Hansard, Number 031, Wednesday, December 5, 2007)

What is Jordan’s Principle?

Jordan’s Principle is about ensuring First Nations children receive the services they need when they need them.

Jordan’s Principle:

— Jordan’s Principle is available to all First Nations children in Canada.

— Applies to all public services, including services that are beyond the normative standard of care to ensure substantive equal​ity.​

— Provides payment for needed services by the government or department that first receives the request.

​​The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is responsible for administering Jordan’s Principle resources in British Columbia. This approach however does not limit or relieve the federal government of its fiduciary responsibilities to First Nations in BC. ​Jordan’s Principle applies in BC. This arrangement does not hinder its definition or implementation.

(First Nations Health Authority, “Jordan’s Principle”)

More info:



child-friendly information sheet

FN Caring Society Press Release

See “Remembering Maurina Beadle, the Mi’kmaw woman who fought Canada on Jordan’s Principle and won”, at APTN News.

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We acknowledge that the land on which we work is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.