Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

April 17, 2013 11:11 ET

Harper Government Taking Action to Improve the Rights of Families Living On Reserve

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 17, 2013) - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister of State for the Status of Women, announced today that the Harper Government is taking further action to ensure that families living on reserve have the same rights and protections as people living off reserve when it comes to matrimonial property.

To ensure that Bill S-2, the Government's Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, passes second reading in the House of Commons, the Government will force a vote, bringing it one step closer to being passed into law.

"Our Government is taking action to ensure that families living on reserve have similar rights and protections as other Canadians," said Minister Valcourt. "Families on reserve have been waiting for far too long for legislation like this and I trust the opposition will show their commitment to them by supporting Bill S-2 so that it can be swiftly passed into law."

"It is unacceptable that women living on reserve have for decades been deprived of the same rights and protections afforded Canadians living off reserve simply because of where they live," said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister of State for the Status of Women. "This legislation is key to addressing violence against women and children living on reserve. It will allow courts emergency protection orders to remove a violent partner from the home."

Currently, provincial and territorial family law does not apply on reserves with respect to the family home and other matrimonial real property interests or rights. The proposed legislation is key to addressing violence against individuals living on reserve, especially Aboriginal women and their children. Bill S-2 will allow courts to apply First Nations' own matrimonial real property laws that respect their culture and traditions once those First Nation laws are enacted. If First Nations choose not to enact their own laws, the provisional federal rules, once in force, will allow courts to make orders for emergency protection and exclusive occupation of the family home.

The Bill will next be referred to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, moving it one step closer to being passed into law. The proposed Act provides spouses, their children and families living on reserve with the same protections people living off reserve are afforded in the event of a relationship breaking down, or the death of a spouse or common-law partner. Once the Standing Committee on the Status of Women's review is complete, Bill S-2 will then be debated at report stage and third reading in the House of Commons.

The Harper Government remains focused on four priorities, outlined by the Prime Minister, that Canadians care most about: their families, the safety of our streets and communities, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and their personal financial security.

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Andrea Richer
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
    819-997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
    Development Canada
    819-953-1160

    Amber Irwin
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    819-953-1081
    M: 613-219-9352