Letter from the BC Coalition on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls regarding Bill S-3 and the lack of information and delays in the registration process for First Nations women and their descendants who are newly entitled to status because of recent amendments to the Indian Act.
On August 15, 2019, the Government of Canada brought the outstanding provisions of Bill S-3 into force, ending 143 years of discrimination against First Nations women and their descendants in the Indian Act status registration provisions. This was an historic occasion, and a welcome step taken by the Government of Canada. According to reports, up to 450,000 First Nations women and their descendants are newly entitled to status.
The Coalition recognizes the removal of this sex discrimination as Canada’s first step in implementing the recommendations of the National Inquiry. However, to fully implement the National Inquiry’s recommendation, and to uphold the rights of the women, it is crucial to ensure that those who are newly eligible for status can complete the registration process in a timely and efficient way. The sex discrimination that is addressed by Bill S-3 did not stop when the outstanding provisions were enacted; it will only stop when status and benefits are granted to those who have wrongly been denied and are now entitled.