First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families
Co-developed with Indigenous partners, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the Act) is a key step towards keeping Indigenous children and youth connected to their families, communities and culture and enabling them to thrive.
Signing of the Coordination Agreement – A Historic Day
After engagement and co-development with Indigenous partners, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families came into force on January 1, 2020. It:
- affirms the rights of Indigenous groups, communities and Peoples to exercise jurisdiction in relation to child and family services
- puts the best interests of the child first
- provides an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to choose their own solutions for their children and families
As of July 2022, 2 Indigenous Governing Bodies have signed coordination agreements to implement their Indigenous child and family services laws.
On July 6, 2021, Cowessess First Nation signed and celebrated the first coordination agreement under the Act with the Government of Canada and the province of Saskatchewan. This agreement supports the implementation of the Miyo Pimatisowin Act and jurisdiction over their children and families, which focuses on preventative care.
Cowessess First Nation celebrated the signing of the coordination agreement with a ceremony in their community that was attended by Chief Delorme, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe.
Wabaseemoong Coordination Agreement Signing
On March 10, 2022 Wabaseemoong Independent Nations signed a tripartite coordination agreement with the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario to support the implementation of their law, The Wabaseemoong Independent Nations Customary Care Code.
The Customary Care Code provides for the protection and healing of the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations' children and families, reinforces Anishinaabe ways of life by enabling children to connect with extended family and their totems or clans and preserves the children's connection to their culture.
Wabaseemoong Independent Nations celebrated the signing of the coordination agreement with singing, dance and inspiring speeches at an event in their community.
Indigenous children represent 53.8% of children in care, yet Indigenous children represent only 7.7% of the child population under the age of 15 within Canada. Too many First Nations, Inuit and Métis children are being removed from their families and communities and separated from their cultures and languages. This is impacting not only the lives of Indigenous children and youth, but the lives of future generations. Changing how child and family services are provided to First Nations, Inuit and Métis children is essential.
Supporting Indigenous-led solutions helps Indigenous children stay with their families, grow up in their communities and stay immersed in their cultures.
The Government of Canada has co-developed, with Indigenous Peoples, provinces and territories, new legislation to reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care and improve child and family services.
As Indigenous governing bodies begin exercising jurisdiction over child and family services, more comprehensive, culturally-specific child and family services will be established across Canada.
The Government of Canada will continue to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups, communities and Peoples who enact their own child and family services laws and gain the force of federal law with the goal of reducing the number of Indigenous children in care.