About Métis Child and Family Services and Bill C-92
What is the purpose of the Act?
The Act has 3 primary purposes.
- Affirms the inherent right of self-government, including jurisdiction over child and family services.
- Sets national principles and standards for the provision of child and family services to Indigenous children.
- Contributes to Canada’s implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples (UNDRIP) (section 8).
When did C-92 come into force?
An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the Act; formerly Bill C-92) received royal assent on June 21, 2019 and came into force January 1, 2020.
Who does C-92 apply to?
As a federal law, the Act applies across Canada on the federal, provincial and territorial governments (section 7).
Why is C-92 Important?
C-92 is the first federal legislation passed regarding Indigenous child and family services in Canada. It reaffirms the inherent right of Indigenous peoples. Recognized and protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, includes jurisdiction over child and family services, as well as establishes core principles and standards specific to the provision of services to Indigenous children across the country. Central objectives of the Act include the importance of maintaining an Indigenous child’s connection to his or her family, community, culture, language, and traditions.
What changes now that the Act is in force?
As of January 1, 2020, all services providers in Canada that provide child and family services to First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit children and families must follow the national principles and minimum standards outlined in sections 9 to 17 of the Act. This ensures the best interest of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality are at the forefront of child and family services.
Between now and until an Indigenous Governing Body exercises their jurisdiction, services to Indigenous children will continue to be provided following provincial child and family services legislation and policies and standards, which may be delivered by the provincial government or delegated Indigenous organizations.
What is an Indigenous Governing Body (IGB)?
An Indigenous Governing Body, is defined in the federal Act, as
A council, government or other entity that is authorized to act on behalf of an Indigenous group, community, or people that hold rights recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 (section 1).
The Indigenous Governing Body (IGB) can enact Indigenous laws to deliver child and family services to their member children. An IGB must demonstrate they are authorized to act on behalf of a section 35 rights holder group, community, or people by a band council resolution, a board or AGM resolution, a referendum or assignment of the right by citizens of the Métis Nation.
What services are included in the definition of “child and family services” under the Act?
Child and family services is defined non-exhaustively under the Act as, “services to support children and families, including prevention services, early intervention services and child protection services”.
Is there a deadline to identify an Indigenous Governing Body (IGB)?
The Act defines an IGB as “a council, government or other entity that is authorized to act on behalf of an Indigenous group, community or people....”. The act does not provide a deadline for IGBs to submit notices that will establish their jurisdiction. Rather, they may choose to submit notice any time after the Act came into force in January 2020.
Is there a website identifying what IGBs have given notice of intent to draw jurisdiction under section 20(1) or to enter into coordination agreement under section 20(2)?
The information can be found at the ISC website at the following link:
Do the laws created by an IGB have to be consistent with provincial legislation?
No, the laws created by an IGB do not need to be consistent with current provincial legislation. The laws enacted by the IGBs will be given the force of equal to federal law. Due to this, they will prevail over any current federal or provincial law should there be any inconsistencies between them (pending the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which is to be heard in late 2022 or 2023). Though, any law enacted by an IGB must follow the principles and minimum standards in the Federal Act as described in sections 9 to 17.
Who will ensure the Act is being followed? What if a caseworker does not honour the new legislation? What can Indigenous people do to ensure these "new standards" are adhered to?
From January 2020 onward, every person providing services to Indigenous, Métis and Inuit children must follow the minimum standards within the Act.
To ensure an accountability process within the Act and to that the Act is being followed, it is important for all caseworkers providing service to Indigenous, Métis and Inuit children and families to document their decision-making process and rationale. This provides evidence and assurances that decisions are made following the minimum national standards and are in the best interests of the child. It is expected that as the implementation of the Act progresses and agreements are made, additional measures and processes will be developed to ensure alignment with both principles and national standards.