ITK Welcomes Introduction Of Federal Legislation To Protect Inuit Children
Thursday, February 28, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed will take part in an announcement welcoming the introduction of an Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children, Youth and Families this morning, alongside Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services; Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN); and Clement Chartier, President of the Metis National Council (MNC).
Over the past several months, ITK has worked with the Government of Canada, as well as AFN and MNC, to co-develop options for federal legislation to address the protection of Inuit children. Through engagement sessions and research, Inuit developed and submitted a series of priorities for child protection. They include:
- Doing whatever is possible to keep children with their immediate or extended families, which requires enhancing the support provided by departments and agencies;
- Ensuring that all care provided to Inuit children and families is culturally appropriate;
- Ensuring that Inuit children and youth living outside of Inuit Nunangat are identified as Inuit and provided with culturally appropriate care; and,
- Ensuring that Inuit children and youth sent outside of Inuit Nunangat for specialized care remain in contact with their culture and their home community.
Inuit also called for the legislation to respect four principles:
- An outcomes-focused approach
The legislation should be focused achieving tangible change in the lives of children and families, not solely on process, funding levels or the development of policies and standards.
- A distinctions-based approach
Federal legislation should recognize that the situations of Inuit, First Nations and Metis children are sufficiently different that they require different policy approaches. The legislation should contain equitable tools that are flexible enough to address child and family services issues for all children.
- An evidence-based approach
The legislation should contemplate the collection and use of data to inform meaningful changes to current Indigenous child welfare policies, programs and levers. Consistent with a distinctions-based approach, data should be disaggregated when collected and applied.
- Inuit self-determination
Federal legislation should ensure that Inuit rights holders are able to exercise agency. In some cases, this may mean providing the opportunity for Inuit to engage directly in service delivery. In other cases, it may mean providing support for Inuit and public governments or other service delivery agents to cooperate and collaborate on Inuit child welfare.
Over the coming days, ITK will provide input through the committee process on recommended changes to ensure that this input is reflected meaningfully and faithfully.
“I am encouraged by ITK’s relationship with Minister O’Regan and the Department of Indigenous Services and anticipate further discussions between Inuit leadership and government as this legislation moves forward,” said Natan Obed, President of ITK. “With today’s announcement, the level of ambition of both Inuit and government have aligned to do more to protect Inuit children.”
For more information:
office: 613-238-8181 ext 276