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Ottawa spent $110K in legal fees fighting First Nations girl over $6K dental procedure

October 3, 2017
by CBC News

‘As a taxpayer, I’m absolutely floored,’ First Nations advocate Cindy Blackstock says

The federal Liberal government has spent more than $110,000 fighting a First Nations girl in court to block payment for orthodontic treatment that cost just $6,000, according to documents released under the Access to Information Act and shared with CBC News.

Josey Willier, a Cree teen living in Calgary, had ongoing problems with her teeth that resulted in chronic aching pain in her lower gums.

She took over-the-counter pain medication daily for two years because of extreme discomfort associated with impacted teeth and a severe overbite, among other ailments. A Calgary-based orthodontist, Mark Antosz, recommended braces to avoid invasive jaw surgery in the future.

Stacey Shiner, the child’s mother, sought payment for the braces under the First Nations and Inuit health benefit program, but was denied by Health Canada, the department that administers the insurance plan. She appealed three times to no avail, and ultimately took the case to Federal Court.

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