Rights of Indigenous Peoples

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: December 2015 the Trudeau government began working towards a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The national inquiry's Final Report was completed and presented to the public on June 31st 2019. Calls to Justice were organized into categories and directed towards governments and child welfare staff.

OACAS Strategic Plan The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies released a strategic plan in 2018 that guides the work of all Children’s Aid Societies across the province. This strategic plan is the first to acknowledge equity and reconciliation as priorities. It recognizes that racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, and social inequity lead to overrepresentation and a disparity in outcomes, aiming to ensure services are culturally safe, support children as they develop their identity, and give them a sense of belonging.

Are you First Nations? Inuit? Metis? Know Your Rights!

There are several laws that protect your rights when you are involved with child welfare. Here is a brief summary. We have several links if you want to learn more. If you need any clarification about this information, please speak to your F&CS worker.

Know Your Rights Brochure

Indigenous Alternative Dispute Resolution

Indigenous families can take part in Circles, instead of going to court. This can help your family find a peaceful solution to problems. Ask your worker to refer you.

Child Youth and Family Services Act 2017

This is the Provincial Act that Child Welfare Agencies in Ontario must follow. The Government of Ontario is committed to the following:

The rights of children must be respected. Children’s voices must be heard.

Child welfare services should be child-centred. They should help children maintain connections to their communities.

Child welfare agencies should follow the Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Racism creates many barriers and problems for children and families.

Child welfare agencies must keep this in mind as they work with FNIM families. They should be working to remove barriers and fight racism.

FNIM peoples (see United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples), have their own laws, and their own distinct cultural, political and historical ties to the Province of Ontario.

Jordan’s Principle must be respected. That means that if an FNIM child needs a service, that service should be provided. Sorting out which agency should pay for it can happen later.

We believe:

To help FNIM children become happy, healthy and resilient, they need to be grounded in their cultures. FNIM peoples should care for their children in accordance with their distinct cultures, heritages and traditions. Honouring these things is essential to helping them thrive and nurturing their well-being.

An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children, Youth and Families (BILL C-92)

Bill C-92 is a Federal Act that speaks to the rights of FNIM children, youth and families.

With this bill, the Government, recognizes:

Residential schools and other government policies caused harm and trauma that is still affecting people over many generations today.

FNIM women and girls have been treated unfairly by child welfare and other government agencies. Because of this they deserve additional supports.

FNIM children need to be reunited with their families and communities.

FNIM peoples have the right to self-determination. This means they have the right to govern themselves, including having their own child and family services.

Child Welfare Agencies need to: Respect the laws, rights, treaties, histories, cultures, languages, customs and traditions of the FNIM people they work with.

Take into account the unique circumstances and needs of FNIM elders, youth, children, persons with disabilities, women, men and gender-diverse persons and two-spirit persons.

Ensure that there are no gaps in services for FNIM children, whether or not they live on a reserve.

Eliminate the over-representation of FNIM children involved with Child Welfare.

Encourage the government to enact legislation for the benefit of FNIM children.

What does this all mean for you?

As an Indigenous family, you have the right to have your heritage, traditions and culture treated with respect.

As an Indigenous family, you have the right to have a worker who will connect you with appropriate services to help you heal from the trauma you and your family have been through, and to help you find supports that fit your culture.

As an indigenous family, you have a right to have a worker who will work hard to keep your family together.