Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

July 06, 2010 19:41 ET

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act Passes Important Milestone

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 6, 2010) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, issued the following statement today following the passage of the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act in the Senate:

"I am extremely pleased that the Senate passed this legislation. This bill will ensure that women, children and families living on reserve will have the same property rights as other Canadians following the end of a marriage or in the event of domestic violence. I hope the House of Commons will ensure speedy passage of this bill.

The bill would provide immediate protection to individuals living on reserve though such means as temporary exclusive occupation and emergency protection orders. The bill also contains provisions for First Nations communities to enact their own culturally relevant laws. More than 75,000 individuals, who are currently without legal matrimonial real property rights on reserves, will benefit from this legislation.

The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights adopted a series of amendments to further strengthen the bill. These changes respond to the testimony of witnesses appearing before the Committee and reinforce that a judge should consider a 'person's ties to the community' as they would the 'best interests of a child' when making an order for either emergency protection or exclusive occupation of the family home. The amendments underline the importance of recognizing the collective nature of reserve lands and acknowledging traditional dispute resolution as a means of resolution.

I would like to end by thanking the Senators and witnesses who have contributed to this landmark piece of legislation and I look forward to resuming our important work on this bill in the fall."

Contact Information

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