Government Response to the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women
Matrimonial Real Property Rights on Reserves
Ms. Judy Sgro, M.P.
Standing Committee on the Status of Women
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Ms. Sgro:
I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Government of Canada to the Seventh Report of the House of Commons Standing
Committee on the Status of Women regarding on-reserve matrimonial real property rights which was presented to the
House of Commons on June 21, 2006.
I would first like to thank the Committee for reviewing this very important human rights and equality issue that impacts
all First Nations people living on reserve. The government supports the underlying goal of the Committee’s report and
has indicated that it will strive to resolve this issue with new legislation that provides clear new rules. In particular,
these rules will provide the same benefits and protections for Aboriginal women that are currently afforded to
non-Aboriginal women upon the breakdown of marriage or a common-law relationship.
This government is committed to supporting Aboriginal women and children by addressing the issue of on-reserve matrimonial
real property through legislative proposals to be introduced in 2007. On June 20, 2006, I announced a series of measures
intended to protect the rights and to ensure the well-being of women, children and families living on reserve. A key
element of these measures is a nation-wide consultation process on the issue of on-reserve matrimonial real property
anticipated to begin by fall 2006. Central to this process was the appointment of Wendy Grant-John as my Ministerial
Representative. She is tasked to work with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), the Native Women’s Association of
Canada (NWAC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in executing the consultation process, and to present recommendations
for action by spring 2007, potentially including a legislative solution for this issue. Moreover, to ensure the appropriate
involvement of NWAC and the AFN, each organization will be provided funding in 2006-2007 to support their roles.
The government recognizes that stakeholders, including the AFN, NWAC, and others can make valuable contributions towards
the development of a solution that will be respected and supported by First Nations peoples. To this end, the AFN and NWAC
have been involved in the planning of the consultation process, including the development of consultation materials which
will be provided to you as soon as they are finalized, will conduct consultation sessions with their constituents on and
off reserves, and will help to build a consensus with respect to identifying and recommending a solution to the on-reserve
matrimonial real property issue.
It is the government’s belief that this collaborative initiative reflects the recommendations and suggested time lines
of the Committee, and will result in an appropriate and lasting solution to this important human rights issue.
The Honourable Jim Prentice, PC, QC, M.P.
c.c.: Ms. Michelle Tittley