A first: The National Assembly recognizes the effects of First Nations customary law

WENDAKE, QC, June 16, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - After more than ten years of intensive work between First Nations, Inuit and the Government of Quebec, the National Assembly adopted Bill 113. The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) welcomes the adoption of "An Act to amend the Civil Code and other legislative provisions as regards adoption and the disclosure of information" which is particularly focused on the recognition of the legal effects of customary adoption.

The explicit recognition of the effects of customary adoption in provincial legislation has long been claimed by First Nations and Inuit, as the adoption of children according to customs is a cultural and legal reality that is already well established. With the sanction of Bill 113, this reality will now be unequivocally recognized for the purposes of the Civil Code and public administration in Quebec. Moreover, when custom does not entail the creation of a new filiation for the child, the Civil Code will henceforth recognize the effect of the transfer of parental authority and guardianship by virtue of customs.

"This is the culmination of ten years of effort by those who have used their knowledge and expertise to achieve this result. I hope that this collective process will serve as a basis for moving forward on other aspects of our relationship. I am particularly referring to other aspects that have been incompletely addressed by the Working Group on Customary Adoption, including the recognition in Quebec legislation of the effects of Aboriginal customs on families and children on both sides of international and interprovincial borders that reflect our colonial history," said Mr. Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.

"Issues affecting families and children lie at the heart of Aboriginal and treaty rights and self-government as protected in particular by section 35 of the Constitution Act and by international law," added Chief Picard.

Customary adoption, according to the laws of the Nations in Quebec, takes several forms. It is a reality of customary and de facto law that is practised according to different approaches, conditions and consequences from one Nation to another.

The effects of the arrangements made for our families and our children were not properly recognized by the Government of Quebec, which had long been governed by First Nations according to their laws and inherent powers, causing many problems in our relations with the administrative services. "Today, the effects of customary adoption are finally recognized explicitly. This is a significant step for the laws of Quebec and its relationship with the first peoples," concluded Ghislain Picard.

More concretely, the recognition of the effects of customary adoption for the purposes of the Quebec administration will henceforth be achieved through competent authorities created by the First Nations and Inuit.

About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is a political grouping of 43 First Nations Chiefs in Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.


SOURCE Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

For further information: Mélanie Vincent: vincentmelaniemv@gmail.com, Cell: 418-580-4442


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