Bill C-92 an Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the Act) received Royal assent on June 21, 2019. Bill C-92 affirms Indigenous peoples’ inherent right to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services.
Progress on reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care can be viewed through three distinct lenses: Federal, Provincial and the Candian Human Rights Tribunal.
April 7, 2022 – Budget 2022 announced $4B over 5 years to support long-term reforms to improve implementation of Jordan’s Principle and $280M over 5 years to support implementation of Indigenous child welfare laws.
Feb. 10, 2022: The Court of Appeal of Québec ruled that Bill C-92 “is constitutional, except for ss. 21 and 22(3), which are not”. These sections deal with the right of Aboriginal self-government and the regulation of Child and Family Services. As Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, professor of law at the Peter Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia says,” “The only kind of law that would be allowed under this decision is one that’s clearly subordinate to the provincial law…It’s a bit of a slam dunk for The Indian Act.
The Quebec Government launched a legal challenge in Quebec Court of Appeal on Dec. 19, 2019 to assess the constitutionality of Bill C-92: “An Act Respecting First Nations, Métis and Inuit Children, Youth and Families”.
Since Sept. 16, 2019 six provinces have abandoned the use of Birth Alerts to apprehend Indigenous children at birth: BC (Sept. 16, 2019), Ontario (Oct. 15, 2020), Manitoba (June 30, 2020), PEI (Feb. 5, 2021), Saskatchewan (Feb 1, 2021) and New Brunswick (Oct. 29, 2021). Currently, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Quebec practice birth alerts.
Canadian Human Right Tribunal
April 4, 2022 – University of Ottawa to conduct an independent review of Indigenous Services Canada “to identify ways it discriminates against First Nations children”. The review is part of the two Agreements-in-Principle reached with the federal government.
Jan. 4, 2022: Assembly of First Nations – Two Agreements-in-Principle have been reached on a global resolution related to compensation for those harmed by discriminatory underfunding of First Nations Child and Family Services ($20B) and to achieve long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program and Jordan’s Principle ($20B) to ensure that no child faces discrimination again.