Grand Chief Ed John appointment welcome, but systemic change urgently needed in Aboriginal child welfare

New Senior Advisor must have the authority and independence to push for changes to the Aboriginal child welfare services, says BCGEU/NUPGE.

Vancouver (16 Sept. 2015) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) welcomes the temporary appointment of Grand Chief Ed John as Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), but cautions that broader systemic issues must urgently be addressed in B.C.’s Aboriginal child welfare system.

Senior Advisor to the Ministry for Children and Families must have the authority and independence to push for changes to the Aboriginal child welfare services 

“Grand Chief Ed John is highly respected. His past knowledge and experience may help reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care and find them a permanent home,” says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.

While BCGEU/NUPGE welcomes Grand Chief Ed John’s leadership and insight, the union is concerned that the appointment may not have the authority or independence needed to push for urgent, systemic change that is desperately needed in Aboriginal child welfare services.

“Now is the time for the B.C. government to prioritize responsive, culturally appropriate and properly funded Aboriginal child welfare services, including child protection, fostering and adoptions, and for support services such as mental health and special needs,” says Smith.

New BCGEU/NUPGE report will reveal systemic failures in the Aboriginal child welfare system

Over the past year, the BCGEU/NUPGE has surveyed and consulted with front-line Aboriginal child, youth and family workers. A report outlining some of the systemic failures in the province’s Aboriginal child welfare system, along with recommendations, will be released in early October as part of the union's Choose Children campaign.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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