NunatuKavut Community Council to appear before Supreme Court to appeal Indigenous child welfare law
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, LABRADOR, December 6, 2022 – The NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) today announced that it will be appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada to make submissions in the Appeal regarding Bill C-92, An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children Youth and Families (the “Act”).
In September, NCC announced the filing of a motion seeking approval to intervene in the Appeal of the Act, which recognizes the inherent jurisdiction of Indigenous communities over child and family welfare law. This motion was approved and NCC was granted intervener status to make written and oral submissions before the Court. Appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada as an intervener provides an opportunity to ensure that NCC’s perspective is added to the Court’s consideration of the Act.
The Appeal is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada this week. NCC is scheduled to appear on December 8, along with 36 other interveners who will be making oral submissions that day.
NCC intends to focus its oral submissions on the unique circumstances and perspective of NCC as an Inuit governing body, and of NunatuKavut Inuit as a people. In particular, NCC will outline how the Act appropriately safeguards equality by protecting access to minimum standards for Indigenous child and family welfare groups like NCC, who experience jurisdictional uncertainty and harm associated with lack of access to funding and programming.
Upholding the Act is vital in helping to protect the health, security and well-being of NunatuKavut Inuit children, families, and communities.
- NCC is the representative governing body for approximately 6,000 Inuit who reside primarily in south and central Labrador.
- NunatuKavut means “Our Ancient Land” in Inuttitut and is the traditional territory of the Inuit who belong to this territory.
- In July 2018, NCC entered into talks with the Government of Canada on the Recognition of its Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination (RIRSD). In September 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed.
- An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families—formerly known as Bill C-92, now “the Act” for short—received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. The Act came into effect on January 1, 2020 and sets very important national standards for Indigenous child and family welfare.
- The Act affirms that Indigenous communities have an inherent right to self-government, including jurisdiction over child and family services, and, in doing so, are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- The Quebec Court of Appeal considered the constitutionality of the Act, and issued a decision on February 10, 2022, finding that the Act was constitutionally valid, except for sections 21 and 22(3).
- The Supreme Court of Canada granted permission to appeal the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision to Canada, and the Province of Quebec, on April 20, 2022.
- The case is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on December 7 and 8, 2022.
“We are pleased to have
the opportunity to bring the Supreme Court of Canada’s attention to NunatuKavut
Inuit needs and realities and ensure their voices are heard. As a governing
body, it is crucial that the NunatuKavut Community Council is involved in the
decisions that are made around the welfare of our children, youth and families.
This is an important step in our journey to self-determination and the safety
and well-being of NunatuKavut Inuit”
— NCC President Todd Russell
- To read NCC’s press release regarding its application to intervene, please visit https://nunatukavut.ca/article/nunatukavut-community-council-applies-to-intervene-in-supreme-court-case-on-indigenous-child-welfare-law/
- To read Bill C-92, Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children, Youth, and Families, please visit https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-92/royal-assent
- Further information on NCC can be found at www.nunatukavut.ca. Please also join in the conversation at Facebook.com/nunatukavut, Twitter @nunatukavut and YouTube by searching NunatuKavut.
Chief of Communications