Government of Canada, Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Métis National Council celebrate the introduction of Bill C-92
"With the introduction of Bill C-92 today, we mark an historic turning point for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children and families. Bill C-92 will finally put in law what Indigenous peoples across this country have been asking of governments for decades: that their inherent jurisdiction over child and family services be affirmed so that they can decide what is best for their children, their families, and their communities. The overrepresentation of Indigenous children in foster care in this country is a crisis, and we cannot sit idly by. While Ottawa can be a place of partisanship – I know that Parliamentarians of all stripes would agree that this work is well beyond our divisions. An entire generation of Indigenous children and youth are counting on us get this right. We cannot let them down."
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
"Indigenous children and youth have the right to be raised as proud First Nations, Métis or Inuit citizens. Children's wellbeing, resilience and self-esteem depend upon a secure, personal and cultural identity. This proposed legislation enables Indigenous communities to support their families and keep children in their communities according to their laws, traditional practices and customs. Today, we are taking concrete steps to address the tragedy of the disproportionate numbers of indigenous children in the child welfare system and work towards a better future for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and youth."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
"This legislation is first and foremost about First Nations children and their safety, their security and their future. The tragedy of thousands of First Nations children in care tells us we need a new approach. This legislation will recognize First Nations jurisdiction so they can build their own systems based on their own governance, laws and policies. Our focus has to be on prevention over apprehension, and keeping children close to their cultures and families. We need investments to support this work, and we need everyone to support this approach. The time is long overdue for First Nations to finally regain responsibility over our children."
National Chief, Assembly of First Nations
"I am encouraged by ITK's relationship with Minister Seamus O'Regan and the Department of Indigenous Services, and anticipate further discussions between Inuit leadership and government as this legislation moves forward. With today's announcement, the level of ambition of both Inuit and government have aligned to do more to protect Inuit children."
President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
"Time is of the essence in acting on the crisis of Métis children in care and ensuring the right of Métis governments to establish and maintain their own child-welfare agencies. The proposed legislation is a necessary and long overdue first step to achieve that."
President, Métis National Council
According to Census 2016, 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, including Call to Action #4 which calls "upon the federal government to enact Aboriginal child-welfare legislation".
Budget 2016 included new funding of $634.8 million over five years, and Budget 2018 included new funding of $1.4 billion over six years in the First Nations Child and Family Services Program to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Indigenous children.
In 2018-2019, the total First Nations Child and Family Services Program funding under Indigenous Services Canada is more than $1.1 billion.
- Reducing the number of Indigenous Children in care
- Support for Child and Family Services Co-Developed Legislation
- 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
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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