OTTAWA, ON, March 14, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations issued the following statement today:
“The Government of Canada welcomes the Quebec Court of Appeal’s February 10, 2022 ground-breaking decision, which found that the inherent right of self-government of First Nations, Inuit and Métis is recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and includes jurisdiction of child and family services. This is the first time a court has recognized that Indigenous Peoples have a constitutionally-protected right of self-government, and the Government would welcome a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada to extend this across the country.
The Government of Canada also supports the Quebec Court of Appeal’s opinion that largely confirmed the constitutional validity of the Act, including the national standards for delivering child and family services to Indigenous children and families established by sections 10 to 17 of the Act.
The Government of Canada has, however, decided to appeal the Quebec Court of Appeal’s conclusion that sections 21 and 22(3) of the Act are invalid. Section 21 gives force of federal law to Indigenous laws that meet the conditions established by the Act, and subsection 22(3) confirms the paramountcy of those Indigenous laws over conflicting provincial laws. The Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision raises important questions regarding how communities can implement their jurisdiction over child and family services without being unduly impeded by provincial laws.
We look forward to the Supreme Court of Canada’s direction on the best approach to ensuring that Indigenous communities can effectively exercise their jurisdiction, unencumbered by conflicting laws.
The Government of Canada will continue to work alongside Indigenous groups, communities and leadership, and with all provincial and territorial governments, to ensure the continued safety and well-being of Indigenous children and families, and to establish a path forward that supports the full recognition of the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in relation to child and family services.”
SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada