Human rights complaints filed on behalf of First Nations adults living with disabilities

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Three human rights complaints have been filed against the Government of Canada on behalf of First Nations adults living with disabilities.

The complaints, filed by the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC), challenge the federal government’s “ongoing systemic discrimination and failure to provide necessary supports and services to First Nations adults with disabilities in Manitoba.”

Two of the complaints are on behalf of individuals and the third is on behalf of a coalition of First Nation adults with disabilities.

The PILC said these citizens are denied social inclusion and the ability to meaningfully participate in daily life.

“They’re not even getting the baseline assessments to determine their needs that other Canadians would expect,” PILC attorney Joëlle Pastora Sala told CTV News.

Sala cited access to therapy, equipment and communication devices as examples.

“They’re not getting any supports as soon as they transition to adulthood.”

In 2017, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal implemented Jordan’s Principle, a child-first principle which ensures First Nations children get the service they need. However, there’s currently no legal principle to address inadequate services for First Nations adults.

Sala said they’re hoping a principle similar to Jordan’s Principle is created.

“No matter where you are, if you’re a First Nation adult with disabilities, you [should] have access to the supports and services you require based on your needs.”

She elaborated that access to services should be available in locations like First Nations communities, and supports should include cultural needs.

The human rights complaint is against the federal government’s Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), which is mandated to ensure Indigenous people have access to education, health, social development, and other services.

CTV News has reached out to the ISC for comment.