Insights and Analysis

Canada’s Highest Court Rules in Favour of Bill C-92

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. The act was challenged by Quebec on its constitutionality,
marking a significant legal battle against the federal legislation.

The Quebec government opposed the law contending that the federal government exceeded its jurisdiction by permitting Indigenous laws to overstep established provincial legislation. Quebec’s appeal to overturn Bill C-92 was dismissed in a ruling that confirms the jurisdiction of Indigenous communities over child and family services (CFS). Bill C-92 only permits Indigenous laws to override provincial laws in matters of CFS.

What is Bill C-92?

Bill C-92 established a legislative framework governing the delivery of child and family services for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities on a national level. It is a significant piece of legislation that sets out to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare
system. Moreover, it acknowledges and upholds the self-governing authority of Indigenous peoples over child and family services, affirming these rights as inherent Aboriginal and treaty rights outlined in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The legislation sets forth a baseline criterion for the delivery of CFS encompassing both prevention and protection measures to
Indigenous children.

What’s Next?
The ruling means First Nations, Métis and Inuit have the autonomy to decide when and how they enact their own laws concerning their children and families. Six Indigenous communities have passed their own CFS laws under the Bill C-92 framework since the legislation came into effect.

Indigenous communities can access federal capacity funding aimed at assessing their preparedness to assume jurisdiction over CFS. This enables Indigenous communities to customize support networks that reflect their cultural values and priorities.

Related Links

Indigenous groups stand strong in face of landmark child welfare law before Supreme Court 

We’re Here to Help

For more information and insights about what these developments mean for the Indigenous family and social services landscape, please contact:

Richard Feehan – Senior Strategy Advisor

Bronte Prosser – Strategy Advisor

Brian Gilbertson – Senior Strategy Advisor, Ottawa

To learn more about Prairie Sky Strategy, please visit our website.





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