Canadian Employment Law
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Human Rights Protection For First Nations

July 26 2007 - The new Canadian government intends to move two amendments to Bill C-44 that calls for the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This has prevented First Nations, mainly living on reserves, from full protection under an Act that has been in force for 30 years.

The first amendment would ensure that the proposed transition period will apply to First Nations authorities thus including bodies such as band councils currently exempted by section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The second amendment would extend the transition period for First Nations authorities from six to 18 months, providing additional time to prepare for repeal of section 67. Repeal would continue to apply immediately to the federal government.

The proposed amendments result from witnesses' testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and reflect the new government's commitment to the prompt and fair extension of human rights protections to all Canadians.

Jim Prentice, minister of Indian affairs and northern development and federal interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, said:

"While parliament is on summer recess, Canada's new government remains determined to carry on the business of the country. Bill C-44 has been with the committee since February. There should be no further delay in the passage of Bill C-44 out of committee. The injustice of denying First Nations basic human rights protections cannot continue. I urge the parties to pass Bill C-44 without further delay."

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