“For far too long, Indigenous children have been taken away from their families and communities and placed into foster care or private homes. These children often grow up without strong ties to their family and as a result, have faced great adversity throughout their life.
“The current rules do not accurately reflect Indigenous cultures and family structures. The new legislation, which is being co-developed with Indigenous leaders, will address this disconnect, and will fall in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, among others.
“This new legislation will ensure that Indigenous families remain together whenever possible. I applaud this consultative approach as it will focus on the best interests of the child. This is long overdue and a good step forward on the path towards reconciliation.”
- Indigenous children represent 52.2% of children in foster care in private homes in Canada but account for only 7.7% of the overall child population.
- The first five Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission relate to child welfare.
- Call to Action #4 calls “upon the federal government to enact Aboriginal child-welfare legislation that establishes national standards for Aboriginal child apprehension and custody cases and includes principles that:
- Affirm the right of Aboriginal governments to establish and maintain their own child-welfare agencies.
- Require all child-welfare agencies and courts to take the residential school legacy into account in their decision making. iii. Establish, as an important priority, a requirement that placements of Aboriginal children into temporary and permanent care be culturally appropriate.”
- In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Canada’s First Nations Child and Family Services Program was discriminatory and ordered Canada to immediately address the issue. The ruling prompted further discussion on the creation of federal legislation as a way to ensure better care for Indigenous children.
- New federal legislation was also called for in an Interim Report by the National Advisory Committee on First Nations Child and Family Services, and in a resolution passed in May of 2018 by the Assembly of First Nations in support of the establishment of federal-enabling legislation for First Nations.
- In January 2018, the federal government held a National Emergency Meeting on First Nation, Inuit, and Métis child and family services with representatives of the Indigenous peoples and nations, the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council, Indigenous service organizations, experts and practitioners, elders, grandmothers and youth with lived experience. At this meeting, the Government of Canada announced its commitment to Six Points of Action that included the potential for federal legislation, as called for in TRC Call to Action #4.
- Reducing the number of Indigenous Children in foster care
- A report on children and families together: An Emergency Meeting on Indigenous child and family services
- Engagement on potential legislation co-created with Indigenous communities on child and family services
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action – PDF format (299 Kb, 20 pages)
To arrange an interview with the Hon. Bob Nault, please contact:
|Ottawa office:||Kenora office:|
|Julian Morelli(613) 996-1161||Abbie Siroishka(807) 407-4362|
|bnault.liberal.caTwitter: @BobNaultMP||Facebook: /BobNaultMP|