News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

September 16, 2020

Province Taking Steps to Hold Federal Government Accountable for Closing the Service Gap on Reserve

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Judicial Review of MHRC Decision Needed to Clarify Canada's Legal Obligation: Clarke

The Manitoba government is seeking a judicial review of a Manitoba Human Rights Commission (MHRC) decision that found a First Nations family was discriminated against because they could not access provincial health care and related services on reserve, Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today. 
“All Manitobans deserve to know what services they can access when they need them, and we believe this ruling confuses rather than clarifies which level of government is responsible for providing health care and related services to First Nations people living on reserve,” said Clarke. “A judicial review of this decision will bring much-needed attention to the legal obligations of federal and provincial governments, and bring clarity to this important issue.” 
In an Aug. 17 decision, an adjudicator for the MHRC ordered the province to pay damages to the family and continue to provide services as needed. However, no broad systemic orders dealing with the responsibility for delivering these services on reserve were made. Manitoba is bringing an application for judicial review of the decision to gain clarity about its obligation to deliver services on reserve.
The province will respect the MHRC decision to award damages to the family in question and provide provincial services during the judicial review process, the minister said. 
The minister noted the Constitution of Canada is based on a model of co-operative federalism that relies on federal and provincial governments and First Nations working together to develop and maintain various services.
“The Manitoba government is committed to working collaboratively and will continue to provide services to Manitobans in keeping with the long-standing practices of co-operative federalism,” she said. “However, Canada has assumed responsibility for providing health-care funding for reserves in recognition of its historical relationship with First Nations people, and it’s now time to also own its role to bridge the health gap between those living on reserve and other Canadians.” 
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