Bill C-92

An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children, Youth and Families

On January 1, 2020, Bill C-92 became law, recognizing for the first time in Canadian History, that First Nations peoples have the inherent right to control their own child and family services.

This means that Lac Seul can create their own custom child welfare laws that reflect our practices of caring for children, and supporting families and youth.

This page contains resource and background information on Bill C-92.

Ongoing progress updates will continue to be shared here.

Be sure to check back often!

 

A Vision for Shared Caring:

Our people honoured our Creator through our sacred ceremonies. Our way of life and the way we were was in the language. Our Elders were the carriers of medicine, and always had medicine to share. We were oral people. We learned, and cared by listening, and watching. We shared our stories, or legends, and this is where the heart of who we are originates. This is who we are.

Our people were nomadic. We moved with the seasons and lived along the lakes and the rivers. Our families travelled together and everyone had a respected role and knew what it was. Kokums were the matriarchs of the family, and Shomis was respected, as all Elders were. Grandparents taught their own children how to be good mothers and fathers. Kokum set the way for child-rearing, often showing the parents how to take good care of the children. Children loved and respected their Elders. This is who we are. 

Families worked together to provide for all the necessities of life, and families helped families. Needs were always taken care of because everyone took care of each other and shared. The land provided everything and the People hunted, fished, and grew and gathered food. We took only what we needed. We were the caretakers of the earth, water, air and creatures. This is who we are. 

Women made clothing and learned the skills of our ancestors like beading and making moccasins, and the children learned by watching. Children had important roles too, and helped with gathering wood, and even helped with preparing the meat provided by men after a successful moose hunt, fanning flies away with branches. Children were included in all of our activities. And in this way, children were always cared for and supervised by all the adults in the community. We regarded the children as very special beings. This is who we are. 

It is the goal of Chief and Council to support a child and family law that is community driven, and rooted in our language and culture. We believe that the band members have the potential to fulfill the mandate of the new law and we will be looking to our people to take on the necessary roles to ensure that our children and families are cared for in the best way, and according to who we are.

There is work to be done and we must work together to create the spaces, strategies and processes to reclaim our children, and roles and responsibilities as family and community because this is who we are.

We will bring together all of our services to create culturally healthy ways to care for our people. We will support the creation of new Councils: Elders; Women; and Youth. We will revive the ways of our restorative justice with Elders guiding us along the way. We will revive our practice of forming a circle to speak and listen about important matters affecting our children and families. We will keep our children with their families, because this is who we are.

~ LSFN Chief and Council

“We will create a plan of care that is shared care”

~ Chief Clifford Bull

 

November 20th is World Children’s Day!

Did you know that November 20 marks World Children’s Day?

World Children’s Day is observed annually on November 20 to commemorate the day of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly on the same day in 1959. The day is celebrated globally to promote the rights of children besides improving their standard of living.

THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD – THE CHILDREN’S VERSION

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an important agreement by countries who have promised to protect children’s rights. (Click thumbnail below to view PDF document).

The full version is available here: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Community Video Messages:

Learn more about our vision for shared caring of children, youth, parents, grandparents, Elders and community members.

Coming Soon in the New Year!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Bill C-92?

The ‘Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families’ , also known as Bill C-92, came into force on January 1, 2020.

This act affirms the rights and jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples in relation to child and family services and sets out principles applicable, on a national level, to the provision of child and family services in relation to Indigenous children, such as the best interests of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality.

Bill C-92 recognizes Lac Seul First Nation’s right to govern our own child and family services – creating our own systems, supports, laws and standards for children in need of protection, prevention, and families that may be at risk of having a child taken into care.

The act provides Lac Seul First Nation with two options to exercise its jurisdiction (authority):

  • Option one means Indigenous groups can exercise their jurisdiction, but their laws on child and family services do not override federal, provincial and territorial laws.
  • Option two allows Indigenous communities to exercise their jurisdiction, but their laws on child and family services prevail over federal, provincial and territorial ones.

We are currently moving forward with Option two.

What is the purpose of Bill C-92?

Bill C-92 sets forward a set of national standards to guide the delivery of child welfare services across Canada, which is aimed to reduce the number of Indigenous children in provincial care.

Under the current Canadian Constitution Section 35-1, Bill C-92 acknowledges the inherent rights of Indigenous people, the inherent right of Lac Seul First Nation to govern over the area of child and family services, and sets out a process that give responsibility to develop custom child welfare law for our community.

What does this mean in practice?

Bill C-92 recognizes and affirms the inherent right of Lac Seul First Nation to develop and administer customary Child Welfare Laws based on Lac Seul traditional knowledge, values and ways of caring for children and supporting families as Anishinaabe people.

These include standards related to the best interest of the child, cultural continuity, and substantive equality to access needed resources and services for Indigenous children across Canada.

Lac Seul First Nation will exercise jurisdiction in child and family services.

Lac Seul Child Welfare Legislation will prevail over provincial, territorial and federal laws according to the best interest of the child.

It also establishes National Standards to ensure the well-being of Indigenous Children, and will apply to all provinces.

Bill C-92 will help children stay with their families and promote connections to their culture and community. The bill is focused on the importance of reuniting and / or placing Indigenous children with their families and communities.

Under the current Canadian Constitution Section 35-1, which acknowledges the Inherent rights of Indigenous people, it is the inherent right of Lac Seul First Nation to govern over the area of child and family services, and sets out a process that give responsibility to develop custom child welfare law for our community.

What are the National Standards of Care for Indigenous Children and Youth?

The National Standards section of the Bill C-92 has four sections: 1) Purpose and Principles; 2) Best interests of the Indigenous child; 3) Provision of Child and Family Services, and 4) Placement of an Indigenous child.

Does Bill C-92 apply on and off-reserve?

Yes

What does Substantive Equality mean?

Substantive equality is a legal principle that refers to the achievement of true equality in outcomes. It is achieved through equal access, equal opportunity, and most importantly, the provision of services and benefits that meet any unique needs and circumstances. Substantive equality is a process and end goal relating to outcomes that seeks to acknowledge and overcome the barriers that have led to the inequality in the first place.

What does Cultural Continuity mean?

Cultural continuity is the ability to preserve the historical traditions of a culture and carry them forward with that culture into the future, and it is closely linked to the concept of our cultural identity. Indigenous identity formation is strengthened by access to cultural and ancestral knowledge, which helps to foster resilience in young Indigenous people.

Studies have found that a positive and strong cultural identity achieved through cultural continuity is a protective factor for mental health issues and youth suicide. Further, a positive cultural identity protects against the aggression of discrimination, racism and negative stereotyping experienced by Indigenous people.

What will the impact be for our Children and Families?

Bill C-92 provides an opportunity for Lac Seul First Nation to choose our own solutions for our children and families.

It means that we can ensure that our children and youth stay with our families and communities, where they will be supported through ta continuity of care focused on prevention, intervention, culture, language and kinship.

It also means that Lac Seul First Nation will have responsibility and authority over our children in care across Canada, with a focus on keeping children with our families, whether it’s an immediate or extended family member within the community.

Developing ways to help prevent the need for child apprehension will be one of our main goals.

How will Bill C-92 be implemented in the Community?

Bill C-92 is happening in two phases, and these phases will depend on what individual First Nations communities choose to do with this legislation.

  • The first phase of implementation adds the federal laws (and /or minimum standards) contained within Bill C-92 alongside existing provincial and territorial laws. Most of the time, both laws will apply. However, if there is conflict or inconsistency between the federal and provincial rules, the Federal rules will apply.
  • The second phase of implementation is the creation of Indigenous Laws to exercise our authority in child and family services. This includes legislative authority in relation to these services, and the authority to administer and enforce such laws. *Lac Seul First Nation is currently at this phase.

To use Bill C-92, Indigenous governments must give notice to the provincial and federal governments that it intends to exercise its jurisdiction (authority), and enter into a coordination agreement with them. Once the coordination agreement is made, or after one year (whichever is soonest), it becomes law and has the same force as a federal law, and prevails over provincial CFS legislation.

What is the current progress of Lac Seul’s Bill C-92 implementation?

We began the process of community consultation with Lac Seul membership (on and off reserve) for the creation of our own Indigenous Child Welfare law in the summer of 2021.

The goal of these sessions was to inform about the process, and to engage key stakeholders to share best practice knowledge to inform the creation of this important legislation.

To date, sessions have been held in all three Lac Seul communities (Whitefish Bay, Kejick Bay and Frenchman’s Head for Elders, Youth, Mothers, Fathers, Parents, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Foster Parents, Community Programs, Child & Family Agencies, Chief, Council and Band Administration.

Sessions for Off-Reserve members have also been held in Winnipeg and Red Lake.

What are the next steps?

We are working to prepare a first draft of Lac Seul’s Child Welfare Legislation for community member review and input by (insert date). Legal and academic experts will be engaged to review and finalize our new law once approved by the community.

At the same time, Lac Seul First Nation, Ontario and Canada will begin to negotiate a Coordination Agreement to identify funding,  implementation of the new Lac Seul Child Welfare Law for the improved delivery of child and family services.

A strategic plan is set to be completed by December 31, 2021 to begin implementation.

For more information, please contact:

Marie Lands – landsrosemarie@gmail.com

Robyn Bunting – robynbunting@lacseul.org

 

 

Resources:

  • An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (S.C. 2019, c. 24)

Click image to open PDF document

  • Key Highlights of the Bill C-92 Legislation (The Act):

 

  • Bill C-92 Technical Information Package:

ISC provides the full Technical Information Package on Bill C-92, the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the Act). 

Click image to open PDF document

  • Lac Seul Draft Legislation (Coming Soon)
  • First Nations Child and Family Services Joint Review (Coming Soon)
  • Human Resource Strategy (Coming Soon)
  • Agency Governance Model (Coming Soon)
  • Community Partnerships and Protocols (Coming Soon)