Evidence of meeting #152 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was agreed.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Philippe Méla  Legislative Clerk
Isa Gros-Louis  Director General, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada
Marcus Léonard  Social Policy Researcher, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

10:35 a.m.

Marcus Léonard Social Policy Researcher, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

I am Marcus Léonard. I work for Indigenous Services Canada with Ms. Gros-Louis.

10:35 a.m.

Director General, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

Isa Gros-Louis

You are right that the concept of customary adoption would be a new term if adopted in this amendment. However, the concept of it is captured in the definition of family and “care provider”, so it is within the intent of the bill.

10:35 a.m.

Social Policy Researcher, Child and Family Services Reform, Department of Indigenous Services Canada

Marcus Léonard

If I may, during our engagement last summer and fall, this was a request we heard throughout, that there should be at least some sort of reference to customary adoption. As a result of this, we added the notion of care provider, which talks about a “person who has primary responsibility for providing day-to-day care of an Indigenous child”. That captured the idea of customary adoption and customary adoptive parents.

Going further in the definition of care provider, it says that it's “including in accordance with the customs or traditions”. To us, it was clearly in the intent and the scope of the bill to have a reference to customary adoption.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

It looks like that satisfies. Thank you very much for your expert advice.

All in favour of the friendly amendment?

10:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

(Amendment as amended agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

Now we go to Green Party amendment 15.

10:40 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

This is again in the context of children who have been taken into care already. The legislation as currently drafted in subclause 16(3) says that there will be a decision to have a reassessment on an ongoing basis of whether it's appropriate to place the child in different circumstances. My amendment seeks to place the standard of regular reassessments in the context of what's in the best interests of the child as opposed to the threshold of what is appropriate. The language here is that there must be “regular reassessment of whether it would be in the best interests of the child” and also that the reassessment “may be conducted at the request of a child's family member”.

This comes come from a lot of the testimony that was heard before this committee—the Yellowhead Institute, the director general of child and family services reform, Isa Gros-Louis—that we want to incorporate the fundamental concept here that when there is a child in care, away from his or her family, there be a regular reassessment, with the structure and framework being around the best interests of the child, and the family members having an opportunity to request that reassessment.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Mr. Bossio.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

We feel that this amendment should not be recommended. We believe it imposes a lower standard than the one currently imposed by the bill. The bill currently provides for an ongoing reassessment, which is an obligation to continually reassess the possibility of returning the child to his parents and family. The proposed amendment would instead provide for regular reassessment to take place, which could potentially take place following longer intervals.

We will not be supporting the amendment.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Now we have NDP amendment number 15.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

I move this again with the hope that we update the word “apprehension” and make the clause gender neutral.

I'm going to keep doing it so that we have to say no, no and no, again and again.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP Bossio might want to say no, no, no.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Yes, he's good at that.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 16 as amended agreed to on division)

(On clause 17)

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We now have amendment NDP-16.

MP Blaney.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

I say it again. I've moved it.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

The issue is apprehension.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 17 agreed to on division)

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We have a new clause 17.1. It's from the Green Party amendment number 16.

10:40 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

In amendment number 16, we propose clause 17.1. It says:

17.1 For greater certainty, nothing in subsection 16(1) or 20(1) restricts the ability of an Indigenous group, community or people to exercise its legislative authority in relation to child and family services by placing an Indigenous child with a family that is comprised, in whole or in part, of persons who are not members of the Indigenous group, community or people, as long as the family agrees to promote the child's culture, language and family origins, to the extent that doing so is consistent with the child's best interests.

This comes from a very clear recommendation that is again from Dr. Blackstock. It's important that we know how attachments and emotional ties take place. If the child is placed in accordance with 16(1)(a) or (b), but the parent or family with whom the child is placed is non-indigenous, how does that then work in the best interests of the child? This amendment attempts to deal with that particular question of cultural continuity obligations, even where a child is in a non-indigenous home.

(Amendment negatived)

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

If PV-16 is moved, NDP-17 cannot be moved, as they are identical.

We have Conservative motion number 5.

May 28th, 2019 / 10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Chair, this new clause is very consistent with what is often federal legislation as it relates to Quebec or other provinces. I have already talked about my concerns in terms of some of the constitutional jurisdiction issues and the fact that the government has not done an adequate job, in my mind.

We heard from the minister from Ontario that she has concerns that this is creating a lesser standard, so we thought it appropriate to put in this particular clause—again, respecting provincial jurisdiction and the ability, goodwill and the desire of provinces. In British Columbia, I'm very proud of a lot of the important work they're doing. I think that to some extent we've been very dismissive of what is the important work they're doing and the jurisdictional issues.

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP Bossio.

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Based on what we've heard during the co-development of this bill, the proposed legislation was meant to be binding on provinces and territories. It doesn't stop any of the provinces to the tripartite negotiation to establish higher standards. We don't agree with this.

To proceed with such an amendment would reduce the impact of the bill, as its principles and provisions would not have to be applied by provincial or territorial service providers. We will not be supporting this amendment.

We heard from a number of constitutional experts that it's perfectly within jurisdiction. It is best to have indigenous communities define what is in the best interests of their families and children.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(On clause 18)

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We'll go on to clause 18 and amendment NDP-18.

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

I move this amendment. This is to add the word “exclusive”. I think that's important to add to this bill. It's the exclusive jurisdiction.

I wait to hear what the answer is, probably from my friend Mike Bossio.

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP Bossio.