OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has tabled its promised child welfare legislation aimed at stopping the over-representation of Indigenous children in foster care.
The bill emphasizes the need for the child welfare system to promote more preventative care and support for families instead of apprehending Indigenous children from their mothers.
Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan calls the legislation “historic” and says the main goal is to provide more opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Metis to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services in their communities.
Indigenous leaders are applauding the bill, which was one of the first five calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations says the number of First Nations children in care — over 40,000 — is a human rights crisis and that more attention must be paid to the needs of First Nations children in Canada.
Bellegarde says the legislation is an important first step, but stresses the need to have it passed before Parliament dissolves for the October election.