Bill C-92 and the Battle of Provincial and Federal Jurisdiction over First Nations Child Welfare

Young child holding an adult's hand

December 20, 2019

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) are not surprised provincial governments are challenging the implication of the federal government’s Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, Métis children, youth and families. As the battle begins with the provinces against the federal government about who has jurisdiction over Child Welfare, First Nations should still continue to pursue their own jurisdiction without the approval of governments.

While various First Nations are in the midst of developing their own laws surrounding Child Welfare, Provincial governments are challenging Bill C-92, An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children, youth and families, claiming that constitutionally, the Federal government does not have jurisdiction in matter of social services within each province.

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas stated, “Governments are fighting and challenging who has jurisdiction over First Nations children. They seem to forget that First Nations jurisdiction does not come from any government officials. We as First Nations, have an inherent right to care for our children. Long before settlers came to this land, we had our own structures and our ways for caring for our children, but this right was taken from us because of the government’s perceived understanding that they knew what was best for us.”

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