03/13/2015 03:04 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT

Appeal deadline in controversial aboriginal medicine case extended to April 2

TORONTO - The Ontario government now has until April 2 to appeal a controversial court ruling that said the family of an 11-year-old First Nations girl with cancer has a constitutional right to choose traditional aboriginal medicine over chemotherapy.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General says the original March 13 deadline to file an appeal was extended because the government is still working with the family to find "the most respectful and effective" ways to provide health care for the girl.

The girl, whose name cannot be revealed due to a publication ban, was receiving chemo last September before her mother removed her and took her to Florida for alternative therapy.

That decision prompted the McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton to take the Brant Family and Children's Services to court, seeking to have the child apprehended and placed back into chemotherapy.

A judge dismissed the hospital's application in November, saying traditional aboriginal treatments were in existence before First Nations communities were in contact with Europeans, and were consequently entitled to special protection in Canada.

The girl's mother said at a recent conference on aboriginal medicine that she has met with provincial government officials and they been "respectful and compassionate."