Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families takes effect Jan. 1.

  • November 04, 2019

The Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, which affirms Indigenous peoples' inherent right to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services, will come into force on January 1, 2020. In its analysis of what was then Bill C-92, the CBA commended the intent of the proposed legislation, but urged that the bill include a more explicit commitment of federal funding to ensure it achieves its objectives.

The Act puts in place national principles—such as the best interests of the child, cultural continuity, and substantive equality to help guide the provision of Indigenous child and family services—across all jurisdictions. It provides an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to choose their own solutions for their children and families and emphasizes the need for the system to shift from apprehension to prevention.

According to the 2016 Census, Indigenous children represent 52.2% of children in foster care in private homes in Canada, but account for only 7.7% of the overall population of children under 15.

The first five Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada relate to child welfare. Call to Action #4 calls "upon the federal government to enact Aboriginal child-welfare legislation".

The Act is the result of extensive engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations, as well as Treaty Nations, self-governing First Nations, provinces and territories, experts and those with lived experience, including Elders, youth and women. The heads of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Métis National Council have each endorsed the Act.