On June 20, 2019, Bill C-92, the federal child welfare legislation, passed in Parliament. The Chiefs of Ontario are disappointed to see that the legislation as adopted failed to include most of the significant amendments put forward from our leaders to the relevant committees within the House of Commons and Senate.
“This is a setback for Canada’s relationship with Ontario First Nations as it relates to Child Welfare,” said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “We have made it very clear that this Bill is important, and that it must be done right. We were willing to support the government on this Bill if and only if First Nations’ jurisdiction is fully respected, adequate funding is guaranteed, and at the very least that it won’t diminish the rights we have now under Ontario law. This has not been done. Ultimately this legislation impacts the sovereignty and jurisdiction of First Nations because Canadian legislation is being imposed that includes some one-size-fits-all solutions applied across the board that were written in Ottawa, not in our own Nations.”
In April, the Chiefs of Ontario voted in resolution 07/19 to reject the Bill if a number of key amendments were not made. The Government of Canada claims that this legislation was co-developed with First Nations from across the country. The fact that our key amendments were not included shows that co-development did not exist in the end.
“This legislation has passed, but we do not consider this matter closed. If Canada is willing to hear us, and understand why these amendments are essential, our leadership will look forward to continuing that dialogue in the future.” Regional Chief Archibald said. “For now, the path forward in Ontario will be a lot harder and more complex given the difficulties with this legislation.”
Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald