Legislation Announced to Address Indigenous Child and Family Services in Canada

    The legislation will follow principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Photo courtesy of United Nations)

    The announcement came from multiple Indigenous leaders and representatives today.

    The Government of Canada and  Indigenous leaders across Canada  have announced co-developed legislation to tackle over-representation of Indigenous children in foster care homes.

    The announcement came today from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott,  Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde and Metis National Council President Clement Chartier. 

    According to the press release, Indigenous children represent over 52% of foster care in private homes in Canada, and the legislation reforms will focus more on Indigenous culture and identity currently absent from Canadian law.

    The legislation would also affirm Aboriginal and Treaty  Rights as set out in the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and  would let Indigenous peoples' more freely determine their own laws, policies and practices.

    During the crafting of the legislation, more than 65 engagement sessions were conducted with around 2000 participants. 

    The federal legislation will be introduced in early 2019 and Minister Philpott says "the status quo is not acceptable... this proposed legislation will reaffirm the rights of Indigenous children".

    The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in 2016  that Canada's First Nations Child and Family Services Program was discriminatory, and ordered the Canadian Government to address the issue.

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