Hearings into allegations the federal government discriminates against First Nations children living on reserves begin Monday.
The weeks’ worth of hearings, which will take place at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in Ottawa, will centre on allegations brought forward by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. The groups allege the federal government has failed to provide adequate child services to reserve children.
Discussions are expected to last about 14 weeks and Monday’s hearing will include a testimony from AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.
In April, a Federal Court decision nixed a government attempt to prevent the First Nations groups from pushing for improved funding for services on reserves.
The AFN has been engaged in a lengthy battle with the government to demand the feds close the educational funding gap for First Nations children.
The federal government said it has been working to improve conditions for First Nations children and families, and it is in the midst of the consultation process on a First Nations Education Act, expected to be in place by 2014.
Last week, Conservative MP Bernard Valcourt was appointed the new aboriginal affairs minister.
Former aboriginal affairs minister John Duncan announced his resignation earlier this month after he acknowledged an ethical breach in a letter he wrote to the Tax Court of Canada.