Key highlights of the act

The Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (formerly Bill C-92) was co-developed with Indigenous partners and became law on June 21, 2019.

Choose a subject

Section by section description of the act

This provides an overview of the act and should be read in conjunction with the act.

Section 1: definitions

Defines terms used in the act, including "family" and "Indigenous governing body"

Section 2: rights of Indigenous peoples

States that the act is to be construed as upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982

Section 3: conflict with existing agreement

Provides that agreements, which are legally binding, prevail over the act in the case of conflict or inconsistency if they predate the coming into force of the act

Section 4: minimum standards

Confirms that the act creates minimum standards respecting child and family services provided in relation to Indigenous children

Section 5: Nunavut Act

Section respecting the legislative powers of the legislature for Nunavut

Section 6: designation of minister

Authorizes the Governor in Council to designate a federal minister for the purposes of the act

Section 7: Her Majesty

Provides that the act is binding on Canada and the provinces and territories

Sections 8 and 9: purpose and principles

Establishes the purposes of the act and the principles according to which the act is to be interpreted and administered

Section 10: best interests of Indigenous child

Explains how the principle of the best interests of the child should be understood and applied in the context of the act

Sections 11 to 15: provision of child and family services

Sets out certain requirements and rights related to the provision of child and family services to an Indigenous child

Sections 16 and 17: placement of Indigenous child

Sets out certain requirements respecting the placement of an Indigenous child

Section 18: jurisdiction, child and family services

Affirms the jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples in relation to child and family services

Section 19: application of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Addresses the application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Sections 20 to 24: coordination and application

Addresses the exercise of jurisdiction in relation to child and family services as well as the application and coordination of laws of Indigenous groups, communities or peoples

Sections 25 and 26: publication and accessibility

Sets out requirements respecting the publication and accessibility of certain information

Sections 27 to 30: information

Sets out certain powers respecting the gathering and use of information respecting child and family services provided to Indigenous children and information about individuals in relation to whom those services are provided

Section 31: five-year review and report

Requires that the act be reviewed periodically and that a report be tabled in Parliament

Section 32: regulations

Sets out authority for the making of regulations

Sections 33 and 34: transitional provisions

Describes how transitional matters arising from the coming into force of the act are handled

Section 35: coming into force

Specifies that the provisions of the act come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council

Section 10: best interests of an Indigenous child

The act establishes that, when determining the best interests of an Indigenous child, primary consideration is given to the child's physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being. The act puts Indigenous children first so they can stay with their families and communities and grow up immersed in their cultures.

The act outlines the factors that would have to be considered when determining the best interests of an Indigenous child:

The act was amended to clarify that the best interests of the child is to be interpreted, to the extent it is possible to do so, in a manner compatible with a provision of an Indigenous law.

Section 11: provision of child and family services

The Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families emphasizes the need for the system to shift from apprehension to prevention, with priority given to services that promote preventive care to support families. It gives priority to services like prenatal care and support to parents. The act also clearly indicates that no Indigenous child should be apprehended solely on the basis or as a result of his or her socio-economic conditions, including poverty, lack of housing or related infrastructure, or state of health of the child's parent or care provider.

Section 16 and 17: placement of an Indigenous child

The act seeks to preserve a child's connection to his or her family, community and culture. As such, it provides the following order of placement of an Indigenous child when apprehension is in the best interest of that child:

The act stresses that Indigenous siblings should be kept together provided it is in their best interest. To achieve this objective, unless immediate apprehension is consistent with the best interests of the child, before apprehending a child who resides with one of the child's parents or another adult member of the child's family, the service provider must demonstrate that reasonable efforts were made to have the child continue to reside with that person.

The act also ensures that Indigenous children in care keep strong emotional ties with their family and stay connected to their communities and culture. For example, the act establishes an ongoing obligation to re-assess the possibility for an Indigenous foster child to reside with one of the parents or an adult member of his or her family. It also provides that when an Indigenous child is not placed with a member of his or her family, his or her attachment and emotional ties to his or her family are to be promoted.

Section 20: exercising jurisdiction over child and family services as a section 35 rights-bearing Indigenous group

Section 20 of the act (PDF, 90 Kb, 1 page)

There are two options under this new act for an Indigenous governing body which has developed its own legislation to exercise their jurisdiction over child and family services.

Option 1

The Indigenous governing body sends a notice to the Minister of Indigenous Services and relevant provincial or territorial governments of their intent to exercise their jurisdiction.

The Indigenous governing body exercises their jurisdiction but their laws on child and family services do not prevail over federal, provincial and territorial laws.

Option 2

The Indigenous governing body sends a request to enter into a tripartite coordination agreement with Indigenous Services Canada and relevant provincial or territorial governments.

Then if:

  • an agreement is reached within 12 months

or

  • reasonable efforts to reach an agreement were made during the period of 12 months, including use of alternative dispute resolution mechanism

the Indigenous governing body exercises their jurisdiction over child and family services and their laws on child and family services prevail over federal, provincial and territorial laws.

To find out what is required to send a notice or a request to enter into a tripartite coordination agreement, email us at: sac.sefreforme-cfsreform.isc@canada.ca

Related links

Date modified: