(Ottawa, ON) – The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) announced today that it continues to stand with First Nations in Quebec and all First Nations’ who exercise their inherent jurisdiction over child and family law. First Nations interveners, including the AFN, will appear in a hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada to support the constitutionality of the Act and its full implementation following the Government of Quebec challenging the law’s constitutionality. In addition, the legislation requires the establishment of an oversight committee appointed in part by the Federal government.
“Advancing First Nations priorities requires recognizing First Nations law-making powers,” said AFN Quebec-Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard. “We continue to ask for this recognition and for sovereignty in our nations.”
The Court of Appeal of Quebec affirmed the constitutionality of the Act on February 10, 2022, in response to the Quebec government’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Act, which came into force January 1, 2020. The ruling affirmed that First Nations have an inherent right to self-government, including jurisdiction over child protection and family law.
“The Act is the positive result of decades of advocacy to respect First Nations systems that support the best interests of our families,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse, portfolio holder on the AFN Executive Committee. “My hope is that these hearings result in a stronger process for implementation.”
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations 1st Vice-Chief David Pratt added, “The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) would like to acknowledge our membership and all First Nations on the significance of the Supreme Court of Canada Quebec appeal hearing on C-92 respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children and families (the Act). This case is monumental as it will affect not only child welfare laws, but every aspect of First Nations’ jurisdiction and right to self-determination. FSIN is fully committed to the implementation of the Act and are working towards bringing our children home and out of the hands of the Provinces and Territories. This precedent will impact Treaty and Inherent rights and whether the court will recognize our right to raise our children surrounded by their language, culture, history and land.”
The hearings begin this week with appearances from First Nations leaders. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision is expected in 2023.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations people in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Assembly of First Nations