Consultations on the Broader Issues Relating to Indian Registration, Band Membership and First Nation Citizenship

Backgrounder

In keeping with Canada's commitment to reconciliation and a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, the Government is committed to working collaboratively with First Nations, Indigenous groups, and impacted individuals on Indian registration, band membership, and First Nation citizenship reform.

The purpose of the Collaborative Process on Indian Registration, Band Membership, and First Nation Citizenship is threefold:

  •  to consult on the implementation of the delayed coming-into-force clauses in Bill S-3 to remove 1951 cut-off from the Indian Act;
  •  to seek input on how to best address any remaining inequities related to registration and membership under the Indian Act; and
  • to begin discussions on the devolution to First Nations of the exclusive responsibility for the determination of the identity of their members.

Discussions with First Nations and Indigenous groups to co-design the Collaborative Process were launched in the Fall of 2017. On May 10, 2018, the ‘Report to Parliament on the Design of a Collaborative Process on Indian Registration, Band Membership and First Nation Citizenship’ was tabled. The Collaborative Process was officially launched on June 12, 2018.

Ms. Claudette Dumont-Smith has been appointed as the Minister’s Special Representative (MSR) to lead the consultations and to ensure that the dialogues account for and reflect the diversity of viewpoints of the participating individuals and communities.

The Minister’s Special Representative will lend her expertise to the process and lead various consultation activities including regional events where First Nations and Indigenous groups will come together to discuss the issues at the heart of the Collaborative Process.

The Department has also created an Indigenous Advisory Panel consisting of one member selected by each of three national Indigenous organizations which represent individuals and communities impacted by Indian Act status, band membership and First Nation citizenship. The three national Indigenous organizations are:

  • Assembly of First Nations (AFN);
  • Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC); and
  • Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP).

The Panel will provide advice and guidance to the Department and the MSR, as well as review documents, and provide suggestions, for materials used during the Collaborative Process.

The consultation process will begin with an information sharing period and will focus on three streams: the implementation of the removal of the 1951 cut-off, other remaining inequities related to registration and membership under the Indian Act, and next steps for broader reform, including possible devolution to First Nations of the responsibility for determining registration, membership and First Nations citizenship.

The Minister’s Special Representative will prepare a final report, including recommendations to be used for the preparation of a June 2019 report to Parliament. The report will specifically address required elements of an implementation plan for the removal of the 1951 cut-off. It will also include input and recommendations on possible broader reform of Indian Act status, band membership and First Nations citizenship.


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