An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families
Bill C-92 was officially passed in June 2019 and came into force in January 2020. It is intended to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth within the child welfare system and to maintain their identity and family connections. The Act recognizes jurisdiction over child and family services as an integral element of Indigenous self-governance and contributes to the implementation of UNDRIP in Canada. Once an agreement is reached between Indigenous Governing Bodies, their respective provincial governments and the federal government, the Indigenous child and family services laws will come into force.
The province of Quebec has argued that the Act is outside the jurisdiction of the federal government because the new indigenous laws may interfere with how the province delivers child and family services. The argument put forward by Quebec is that recognition of self-government for Indigenous peoples is an unlawful attempt to alter and violate the Constitution. The Quebec Court of Appeal (QCA) determined that except for sections 21 and 22(3) which give Indigenous laws the force of federal laws, the Act is constitutional. The Court found that the national principals and standards do not interfere with the provincial power over public service and are incidental to provincial child welfare laws, but not unconstitutional.
Quebec has subsequently appealed all parts of the QCA decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Canada and several Indigenous organizations have expressed they will be appealing QCA’s decision as well. As the case proceeds to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Métis National Council and Governing Members have been granted full intervenor status. The case will be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on December 7th and 8th 2022 and the proceedings will be available for live stream beginning at 9:30AM both dates on the Supreme Court of Canada website.