Saturday, June 18, 2011

Canadian Human Rights Commission Report on Extension of Human Rights Act to First Nations

The Canadian Human Rights Commission tabled its report Now a Matter of Rights in the House of Commons this week.

When it was enacted in 1977, the Canadian Human Rights Act excluded people governed by the Indian Act, primarily residents of native reserves. This exclusion was repealed in 2008. First Nations communities were given 3 years to prepare for the transition:

"On June 18, 2011, people affected by the Indian Act will have full access to Canadian human rights law for the first time in history"

"In June 2008, Parliament repealed section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. For over three decades, this section prevented people from filing discrimination complaints resulting from the application of the Indian Act. This meant that discrimination complaints about the Indian Act could not be made against the Government of Canada or First Nations governments. The Canadian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) had repeatedly called for this change."

"When this change was made in 2008, people could immediately make discrimination complaints about the Indian Act against the Government of Canada. First Nations governments were given a three-year transition period to prepare for the change. June 18, 2011, marks the end of the transition period"

"The purpose of this special report is to update Members of Parliament, First Nations governments, Aboriginal people and other Canadians on the steps the Commission has taken over the past thirty-six months to prepare for full repeal."

For more background on the issue, see the Library Boy posts:
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission Continues to Demand Aboriginals Be Allowed To Sue Under Indian Act (January 30, 2008): "The Canadian Human Rights Commission yesterday released Still a Matter of Rights, a report calling for the federal Parliament to pass legislation repealing section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Section 67 denies aboriginal people living on or off reserve from filing a complaint with the Commission relating to any action arising from or pursuant to the Indian Act (...) Although some progress has been made, the fact remains that, more than two years after the Commission’s first report, section 67 is still in place. First Nations citizens are still denied the protection from discrimination that other citizens take for granted. That is unacceptable in a free and democratic society that values fundamental human rights."
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission 2010 Annual Report (April 6, 2011): "The Commission's 2 priorities last year were: working with First Nations to develop and increase their capacity to address human rights issues within their own communities. In June 2011, full human rights protection will become available to all First Nations people living on reserves (...) "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:34 pm


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