“Assembly Wins In Court, Stops Federal Government From Making Cuts to First Nations’ Social Assistance Rates”
See page 2 of “AFNCNB Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 1 Feb. 1, 2014” for further information as posted to EGFN’s website at:
Questions and Answers
Chief Simon et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, 2013 FC 1117
For Maritime First Nations Chiefs & Social Development Administrators (SDAs)
1. What is the effect of the Federal Court’s decisions?
The decision erases AANDC’s decision to implement the social Changes announced in the spring of 2011- it’s like it never happened. The Federal Court said AANDC cannot implement new changes to social assistance on reserve without studying the impacts and consulting with the First Nations.
Despite offers from the Maritime First Nations to negotiate a new way forward, Canada has decided to appeal the decision.
2. How long will the appeal take?
We estimate that the appeal will be heard sometime in the summer or early fall of 2014, and that it will likely take the Federal Court of Appeal a few more months after that to issue a decision. It could be the end of 2014 or early 2015 by the time we know the outcome of the appeal. After that there is still the possibility of a further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
3. What are Canada’s chances on appeal?
There are never any guarantees and there’s always a possibility the decision could be overturned. But the Maritime First Nations should take comfort in the fact that the Federal Court’s decision is well reasoned and the Federal Court of Appeal will overturn it only if the judge made a clear error.
4. So what rules apply to Social Assistance on reserve right now?
The status quo that was in place before the announcement of the Social Changes in Spring 2011 continues to apply. That would be the 1991 AANDC NB and NS Social Manuals. The fact that Canada is appealing doesn’t change this.
5. What rules apply to the Assisted Living Program?
The Assisted Living program forms part of social Assistance and we take the view that the Federal Court decision applies to Assisted Living too. This means AANDC cannot require First Nations to follow current provincial rates and standards for Assisted Living.
6. Can AANDC do compliance reviews on Social Assistance and Assisted Living, including coming to the First Nation and looking at files?
Yes, AANDC has the right to do compliance reviews of Social Assistance and Assisted Living. However, those compliance reviews have to be on the basis of the First Nation’s adherence to the rates and standards in the 1991 Manual and NOT to the current provincial social assistance or assisted living rates or standards.
7. Do I have to use the latest AANDC Social Assistance and Assisted Living forms?
Yes. AANDC is allowed to do compliance on Social Assistance and Assisted Living and use updated forms to gather data for this purpose.
8. What do I do if I have concerns about something AANDC regarding Social Assistance or Assisted Living?
Contact Naiomi Metallic at Burchells LLP at firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone (902) 428-8344 or contact the Chief and Council of EGFN.
Burchells LLP website containing further information regarding this case can be accessed at:
*AANDC- Aboriginal Affairs and Nothern Development Canada.
Original information sheet provided in pdf form below.
Please be advised that post-dated Social Assistance Cheques will be released today. They are dated for next weeks regular social assistance date. The food Bank for Social Assistance clients will be open on Tuesday December 17th from 4pm until 6pm as well.
Also a reminder that the Band Administration Offices will be closing at 4:00pm on Thursday Dec 19th, 2013 and will reopen on Monday January 6th, 2013 for the Holidays.