(February 9, 2024 – Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa, Ontario) – Today, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak welcomed the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, formerly Bill C-92. The Supreme Court of Canada has found that the Act, including the recognition of First Nations’ inherent right to self-government and jurisdiction over children and families, is entirely constitutional.
“This is a significant step forward,” said National Chief Woodhouse Nepinak. “First Nations have never surrendered their jurisdiction over their children and families, which has existed since time immemorial. First Nations continue to have the inherent and constitutional right to care for our children and families, along with our sacred rights from Creator to raise our children surrounded by our cultures, languages, and traditions.”
This decision followed an appeal after the Government of Quebec challenged the constitutionality of the Act. The AFN co-drafted the Act and, with the support from other First Nations organizations, intervened at the Court of Appeal of Quebec and committed to defending the Act, and First Nations inherent jurisdiction over their children and families. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that Parliament has the ability to affirm First Nation’s inherent rights, sighting that needed constitutional amendments and self-government agreements are taking too long, and often lead to uncertain outcomes and expensive litigation.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.
Senior Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
Senior Communications Advisor
AFN National Chief’s Office (NCO)