McIvor – Indian Status Court Case & Exploratory Process

On December 15, 2010 Bill C-3: Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act received Royal Assent. The Governor in Council has announced that effective January 31, 2011, the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act came into force.

This bill amends provisions of the Indian Act that the Court of Appeal for British Columbia found to be unconstitutional in the case of McIvor v. Canada. The bringing into force of Bill C-3 will ensure that eligible grand-children of women who lost status as a result of marrying non-Indian men will become entitled to registration (Indian status). As a result of this legislation approximately 45,000 persons will become newly entitled to registration.

Canada recognizes that there are a number of broader issues associated with Indian registration, Band membership and citizenship that go beyond the scope of Bill C-3 Gender Equity in the Indian Registration Act. Officials have been working in collaboration with various national Aboriginal organizations on the launch of an exploratory process that will more closely examine these broader issues and involve the participation of First Nations and other Aboriginal organizations, groups and individuals across the country. With the passage of Bill C-3, the exploratory process will now be launched.

The exploratory process is designed to be inclusive by encouraging the participation of First Nations, Métis and other Aboriginal groups, organizations and individuals at the national, regional and local community levels. This includes the participation of national, provincial/territorial, regional First Nations organizations, Métis and other Aboriginal organizations, Treaty First Nations and Nation groups, Tribal Councils, First Nations governments and communities, Métis communities, First Nations individuals living on and off reserve, Métis individuals and other interested parties. The AFCS participated in an 'NAFC Exploratory Process Initiative' that began in April 2011.

Information collected from the Friendship Centre dialogue sessions and website questionnaire were compiled into a national report. It is hoped that the national report will be used as consideration in the development and implementation of future government policies to create stronger government relations with Aboriginal Canadians. The national report will also be used to guide policy and advocacy for the Friendship Centre Movement in the areas of self-determination, nationhood, identity, citizenship, registration and membership.