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

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

If a subamendment specified the legislative authority respecting child welfare, first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, would that create the barriers around maintaining it within scope?

10:55 a.m.

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

Marcus Léonard

Thank you for this suggestion.

The officials' position would be that what we heard throughout our engagement was that, yes, there is a need for regulations and these regulations need to be co-developed. What was decided to respond to this request was to incorporate a general regulation-making power. We would see that amendment as unnecessary as there is already clause 32, which provides for a general regulation-making power and which already would allow those kinds of regulations.

11 a.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Thank you.

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP May.

11 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Just for clarity, if you look at section 32, we are talking only about regulations in the context of any matter that may be provided for in regulations made under section 32, so I don't see how that expands the scope. I'm sorry. I just wanted to bring it back to that section, because the way we've drafted it is to say “in the regulations made under section 32”.

Anyway, I think we don't have support for it, but this wasn't an attempt to expand the scope but to make sure we have the regulation powers when we need them.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We are on PV-19, MP May.

11 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

This again goes back to an effort I have been consistently making to ensure that the legislation includes the concept of the right of a child to live free of maltreatment. I have already cited the various witnesses who made this point: Carrier Sekani Family Services, Dr. Cindy Blackstock.

The amendment inserts the language around:

safety, security and well-being of Indigenous children at risk of, or experiencing, maltreatment;

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP Amos.

May 28th, 2019 / 11 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Madam Chair, my comment goes in the vein of previous ones. I think that any trigger for apprehension—for example, maltreatment—ought to be contemplated in the context of bilateral discussions between the indigenous group or community and the federal government. I don't think this should be defined in the legislation. I think it should be left to those who are looking to define their own regime.

I would also reiterate that the co-development process has led us to the point of seeking this breadth of framework. I appreciate that the members opposite are receiving input from certain specific groups and individuals, and that's great and appropriate. However, the government has also gone through a rigorous process, engaging with many different partners, and the breadth that has been arrived at in that co-development process is deemed to be the optimal outcome.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We are on LIB-4.

11 a.m.

Liberal

William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

I would like to move this motion. We've heard ample witness testimony flagging the importance of fiscal arrangement. I think this issue was one topic that was most important and most regularly raised.

In the context of coordination agreements in relation to the provision of child and family services by indigenous groups, the sustainability issue has been front and centre.

I think the core we need to incorporate here is that it be “sustainable, needs-based and consistent with the principle of substantive equality”. I think that gets to the core of the advice witnesses across the spectrum have provided us, so I would submit this to the committee as an amendment.

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP Blaney.

11 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

I appreciate this. I asked a lot of questions on this issue, because we heard repeatedly that this was the core issue.

I want to ask the legislative clerk something. I have an amendment coming up later that talks to this, specifically. If this goes through, will that take away the ability for me to talk about the amendment? I don't have the number for it. I'll have to look.

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Is it 21? We will get to it.

11 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Thank you.

(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

We are now on NDP amendment 21.

MP Blaney.

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

This amendment is a significant and important one. It provides clarity for indigenous groups or communities that have existing arrangements regarding child and family services. This is something that came up from a couple of different witnesses. We want to ensure that what is working continues to be supported, while making room for those who need to make changes to have the capacity and the ability to do it.

It's so moved.

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Those in favour of amendment NDP-21? Those opposed?

We need you to vote.

It was a vote.

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

We never voted.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

There were two members who didn't vote.

Now we go to Green Party amendment number 20.

11:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Thank you.

This comes from evidence, and the brief from the Chiefs of Ontario:

It is helpful that s. 20(5) anticipates the need for “dispute resolution mechanism”[s], to be developed in the regulations.

It is odd, though that it requires, as a precondition for accessing ADR, that all three parties to the negotiations have already made “reasonable efforts”. This seems counterintuitive, since the failure of one or more parties to make reasonable efforts is exactly what may drive the need for dispute resolution.

If you look at the existing text of the legislation 20(5), the section in the brief the Chiefs of Ontario were referencing starts with:

If the Indigenous governing body, the Minister and the government of each of those provinces make reasonable efforts to enter into a coordination agreement but do not enter into a coordination agreement, a dispute resolution mechanism provided for by the regulations made under section 32 may be used to promote entering into a coordination agreement.

The effect of my motion is to have a very straightforward section that simply says:

a dispute resolution mechanism provided for by the regulations made under section 32 may be used to promote entering into a coordination agreement.

It removes the precondition of failure after best efforts, as recommended by the Chiefs of Ontario. I know the way this was drafted had good intentions, but you really have an unintended consequence that an alternative dispute resolution is outside the reach of people who need it most, if any one of the three bodies hasn't yet made good, reasonable efforts, and hasn't yet reached a point of failure. You need an alternative dispute resolution at exactly that moment, to get things to work. It may be outside of your reach.

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

MP Blaney.

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

I have a quick question on this.

I have an amendment that's very similar, with one addition.

If this one goes through, does that mean the next one—

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal MaryAnn Mihychuk

Does not....

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mine gets cancelled out.

I'm going to hear what Mike has to say, and then I might ask Elizabeth if she doesn't mind a friendly amendment.