Indigenous Peoples & The Justice System: The Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta & The University of Alberta Joint Seminar; Tuesday, January 28; 2:00pm - 5:00pm; McLennan Ross Hall; 5:00pm - 6:30pm, Reception hosted by the Canadian Bar Association
2020 Women In Law Speaker Series; Jan 16 - Feb 11; REGISTER NOW; UAlberta Law

On January 1, Bill C-92 came into force as a historic piece of Canadian legislation by the federal government. It is the result of decades of advocacy and court cases by Indigenous Peoples. An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families is the first government affirmation of Indigenous Peoples’ inherent jurisdiction over child and family services as a s.35 Aboriginal right and sets national standards for child and family services as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

To help explain the Act’s contents and draw attention to its major omissions, including how First Nations will fund laws under their jurisdiction, the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge at the Faculty of Law and Native Studies, along with FNCARES (the First Nations Children's Action Research and Education Service), recently hosted University of McGill social work professor Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. She spoke at the Faculty of Law in November. Blackstock has led a 13-year challenge that resulted in the landmark legal finding by Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in September 2019 that stated, “Canada is wilfully and recklessly discriminating against First Nations children,” said Blackstock. Canada is currently seeking judicial review of the Tribunal’s compensation order.

Additionally, Hadley Friedland, an assistant professor in the UAlberta Law faculty and co-lead of its Wahkohtowin Indigenous Law and Governance Lodge, provided an overview of Bill C-92’s purposes, provisions and limits. While minimal national standards are a positive step, she said, those limits include a lack of accountability provisions, an unclear definition of what the Act deems “the best interest of a child,” and a lack of funding. READ MORE

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