Social Case

In 2011 the federal government informed Chiefs from the Maritime Provinces that the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC) planned to align social assistance rates in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island with provincial social assistance rates for non-Native citizens.

This would result in significant cuts to social assistance rates for First Nations People, including the removal of certain subsidies previously offered to our People, such as the very important shelter and utilities subsidies, and claw-back of the National Child Benefit.  It also backtracks on Canada’s 20+ years of recognition that First Nations should be able to adapt provincial rates and standards to reflect community needs and circumstances.

In response, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs joined Chiefs from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island mounted a legal challenge in an attempt to stop the Harper Government from implementing these cuts.

The Chiefs were successful in obtaining an injunction to stop the federal government from implementing cuts, and later won a court challenge before the Federal Court. The federal court judge found that the proposed cuts to social assistance would harm our People and the government had failed to fully study those impacts.  It also found that the Harper Government did not adequately consult First Nations leadership prior to announcing their intentions to cuts rates and supplemental benefits.

Unfortunately, the Harper Government successfully appealed the Federal Court’s decision and in January 2015, the Federal Court of Appeal decided that the federal government did have the right to implement their proposed cuts unilaterally and without studying impacts.

The Chiefs from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are currently seeking a stay of the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision as well as a leave to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Updates and Notifications:

Community Notice – Update October 14, 2016
Press Release December 1, 2015
Letter from NS, NB and PEI to Prime Minister Designate Trudeau October 28, 2015
Press Release October 22, 2015
What You Need To Know June 23, 2015
Press Release March 25, 2015
Update to Social Administrators February 6, 2015
Community Update January 28, 2015
Community Notice – Update September 9, 2014
Appeal Hearing for Social Assistance Case August 25, 2014
Questions and Answers for Chiefs and SDA’s January 21, 2014
Summary of the Simon Decision by Burchells LLP November 13, 2013
Social Assistance Case a Success November 4, 2013
Press Release June 18, 2013
Update on Social Case  June 11, 2013
Community Notice – update May 17, 2013
December 3, 2012
March 30, 2012
March 15, 2012
March 13, 2012