Dr. Cindy Blackstock

Special Presentation:

"It Takes a Community to Raise a Children's Human Rights Case:
The Story of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations Child Welfare"

Dr. Cindy Blackstock and StudentsDr. Cindy Blackstock, is a member of the Gitksan First Nation. The focus of her work is the engagement of First Nations and non-Aboriginal children in addressing systemic inequities hampering this generation of First Nations children. She is the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and a Professor at the School of Social Work at McGill University. Inspired by the great lawyers who worked for the children during the Canadian Human Rights Case on First Nations child welfare, she completed her Master's of Jurisprudence from Loyola University Chicago in 2016.

The special presentation told the important story, from the perspectives of the Canadian Human Rights Commission's legal team and Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, of the ground-breaking finding of racial discrimination against the Government of Canada by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in January 2016. The Tribunal's decision found that on going racial discrimination by the Government of Canada affected 163,000 First Nations children and their families providing inequitable child welfare services and failing to implement Jordan's Principle. The Tribunal ruled that government policies caused large numbers of First Nations children to enter child welfare care and widened the disadvantage that First Nations peoples experienced during residential schools.

The decision came nine years after the case was originally filed, as the Government of Canada vigorously tried to block the case using jurisdictional arguments.