OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 15, 2020 /CNW/ - The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, today made the following joint statement:
"With thanks to Indigenous women, including Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, Sharon McIvor, Yvonne Bédard, Lynn Gehl, and Senators Sandra Lovelace Nicholas and Lillian Dyck, who have worked for decades to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act, sex-based inequities in Indian Act registration were eliminated one year ago today.
An Act to amend the Indian Act in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in Descheneaux c. Canada (Procureur général) (Bill S-3) received Royal Assent on December 12, 2017, with many provisions put in force on December 22, 2017. On August 15, 2019, all provisions under Bill S-3 were brought fully into force, advancing our work on gender equality and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. These changes removed the 1951 cut-off from the Indian Act registration provisions, ensuring that women and entitled descendants could register for status. Eligible individuals include descendants born prior to April 17, 1985 (or of a marriage before that date), of women who lost status or were removed from band lists because of their marriage to non-status men going back to 1869.
This step corrects an historical wrong, one whose effects are still being felt today. This wrong affected the descendants of women who lost their status because they married a non-status man. Descendants who were previously unable to register under the Indian Act due to this marriage are now eligible, in line with descendants of those who never lost their status.
The work on Bill S-3 began in 2016 and changed registration rights for Indigenous women and their descendants. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has worked to end discrimination and violence against Indigenous women and girls. This is only part of the work the Government is doing in response to issues identified in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Today, we commemorate this important shift from a dark time in this country's history toward restoring rights to Indigenous women and their descendants. We know that the actions of past governments were driven by racism, fear and flawed values. We also recognize that many colonial aspects still exist within the Indian Act and there is still much work to be done on gender equity in Canada. Therefore, the Government of Canada continues its work and its firm commitment to renew and rebuild our relationship with Indigenous Peoples based upon the affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership towards the ultimate goal of self-determination for Indigenous Peoples in Canada."
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SOURCE Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)
For further information: media may contact: Emily Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, 819-997-0002; Adrienne Vaupshas, Communications Assistant, Office of the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, [email protected]; Media Relations, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-934-2302, [email protected]; Media Relations, Indigenous Services Canada, 819-953-1160, [email protected]