Bill C-92 affirms the jurisdiction of all Indigenous Peoples with regards to child and family services
- EFN Staff | January 07, 2020
A piece of legislation that many Indigenous leaders across the country wanted addressed with action has recently came into effect. Bill C-92 is an Act concerning First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and families that went into effect on January 1, 2020.
The Indigenous Child Welfare Act was created under the guidance from Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chiefs-in-Assembly and feedback from the AFN legislative working group from across the country.
“Thousands of First Nations children are suffering in Canada’s discriminatory child welfare system and our energy and efforts should be directed towards the best interests of the child,” stated AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde in a release. “Bill C-92 affirms First Nations jurisdiction over child welfare and that’s what we need to move forward in a good way. We are on the threshold of a new era of hope and opportunity for our children and we do not want to be held back by legal and political maneuvering.”
In another release by the Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller stated that this new law, co-developed with partners, affirms the rights of Indigenous peoples to determine their laws, policies and practices in relation to Indigenous child and family services and sets out basic principles that must be followed by every person providing services to Indigenous children.
“The Act demonstrates meaningful implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action, and the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” stated Minister Miller in a prepared statement. “This marks a new chapter in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples. It is designed to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous children and youth now, and for generations to come. The new law emphasizes the need for the system to shift from apprehension to prevention, with priority given to services that promote preventive care to support families…Change will not come overnight — the only way to achieve this is to continue to work with our partners through this transition period to make sure the law works for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, and most importantly, for their children.”
The Indigenous Child Welfare Act was introduced on February 28, 2019. The implementation of Bill C-92 responds to the first five Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada related to child welfare.