Archived - Backgrounder - The Repeal of Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

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When passed in 1977, Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act stated:

"Nothing in this Act affects any provision of the Indian Act or any provision made under or pursuant to that Act."

This exemption shielded the provisions of the Indian Act and any decisions made or actions taken by band councils and the federal government, made under or pursuant to the Indian Act, from the application of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

As a result, First Nations persons who are registered Indians and members of bands, or individuals living or working on a reserve were unable to file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging discrimination on a prohibited ground arising from actions taken or decisions made under or pursuant to the Indian Act. For example, it is against the law for any service provider that falls within federal jurisdiction to discriminate on the basis of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sex (includes pregnancy), marital status, family status, age, religion, sexual orientation, pardoned conviction, and disability (physical or mental, including drug or alcohol dependence).

Section 67 remained in effect until the passage on June 18, 2008 of An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act which repealed it. The repeal applied immediately to the federal government, but there was a three year grace period prior to its application to First Nation governments. As of June 18. 2011, the Canadian Human Rights Act now fully applies to both the federal government and First Nations governments. Amending the legislation to include the Indian Act ensures that registered Indians and members of bands, as well as people living or working on reserves are empowered and protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

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