Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

March 11, 2010 10:44 ET

Government of Canada Introduces Proposed Legislation to Bolster Gender Equity in the Registration Provisions of the Indian Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 11, 2010) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians today introduced in the House of Commons Bill C-3, Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act.

"This legislation provides an excellent opportunity to address longstanding gender discrimination related to Indian registration," said Minister Strahl. "I urge my parliamentary colleagues to work with us to move the bill forward quickly to end this inequality." 

Spurred by a civil lawsuit filed by Sharon McIvor and her son Jacob Grismer, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia ruled on April 6, 2009 that the Indian Act discriminates between men and women with respect to registration as an Indian, and therefore violates the equality provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court gave the Government until April 6, 2010 to amend those provisions.

If enacted by Parliament, 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) in accordance with the Indian Act. No one will lose their Indian status as a result of these amendments.

"I am aware that there are a number of broader issues related to the question of registration and membership, and important treaty realities and cultural perspectives that must be taken into account," said the Minister. "However, these issues are complex, and broader reform on these matters cannot be done overnight or in isolation."

The Minister announced that these broader issues would be explored through a joint process to be developed in conjunction with various national Aboriginal organizations and the participation of First Nations groups and individuals across the country. 

Information on the legislative amendments can be found on INAC's website at: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/br/is/vor-eng.asp

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    819-953-1160
    or
    Minister's Office
    Michelle Yao
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    819-997-0002