About NCN’s Child Welfare Law-Making Process and Bill C-92.

Q. What is Bill C-92?

A. The feds introduced Bill C-92 on February 28, 2019, and on January 1, 2020 it came into force.

It is An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. It was developed with the goal of keeping Indigenous children and youth connected to their families, communities, and culture.

Q. Why is it important?

A. Having control over our own child welfare will ensure:

  • The best interest of the child
  • Our cultural knowledge is included
  • Equality and fairness
  • The presence of a child’s family will be considered as part of a child’s best interests.

Q. Why is it important for our children?

A. Bill C-92 establishes national standards for Indigenous children in child welfare; and is a legal pathway for First Nations’ governing bodies to enact their own laws with respect to child and family welfare.

Q. What does this mean for First Nations to have control over our own child welfare?

A. Indigenous communities have the freedom to develop laws and policies tailored to their unique circumstances and traditions. NCN already has the ability to create our own laws and can now set a pathway for our children in child welfare.

Q. What is NCN doing to ensure the welfare of our Children?

A. Chief and Council have started working on Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation’s child welfare laws. One of the first steps has been to secure federal funding for the project. Another step is to notify the Provincial and Federal Government that we intend to exercise our inherent right to self-determination around child welfare.

Q. How can I have input into NCN’s Child Welfare Laws?

A. Once the funding is secured, NCN Chief and Council will need the input of the Nation to ensure that this legislation is unique to NCN. Input will likely involve community consultation. Leadership will establish a committee comprised of elders, former children in care, social workers, staff at the Wellness Centre, justice and health officials.

Q. Will our child welfare laws be respected outside of our own territory?

A. Bill C-92 is making courts apply new principles of what “the best interests of the child” means to new
child welfare matters. However, it is complicated, and more clarification is needed in situations where federal, provincial, and Indigenous laws could all apply to the same matter, at the same time. The focus will be to decide whose laws will apply, and how the situation be reconciled.

Q. How will our Child Welfare process be funded?

A. It is not yet clearly defined in Bill C-92 for all funding situations, financial, governance and other cultural supports, this means more is still to be done. Further work between First Nations organizations and governments is being done to put into force a set of new national standards.

Q. Why is it not the same laws for all First Nations?

A. Bill C-92 recognizes that one size does not fit all when it comes to Indigenous child and family service models across Canada. Communities have the freedom to develop laws and policies tailored to their unique circumstances and traditions.

Q. Why is Bill C-92 only the beginning
step in the right direction?

A. The bill represents a step forward and Indigenous communities must develop their own laws in relation to their inherent jurisdiction, especially in the area of child welfare. While Bill-C92 represents a step in the right direction, and it can be a helpful tool, Canadian legislation can only take us so far. Indigenous Nations must begin developing our own laws in all areas of our Inherent-Jurisdiction.

If you have further questions about Bill C-92 and NCN’s child welfare law-making process, please be sure to attend community meetings and visit ncncree.com for more about the topic.

For details about Bill C-92 go here:

This information sheet is provided by Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation Chief and Council. If there are any discrepancies between this and the actual Bill C-92, the bill shall prevail.