On May 17, 2017, Senator Marilou McPhedran proposed an amendment to Senate Bill S-3 which would have the effect of finally placing Indigenous women and their descendants on an equal footing with Indigenous men and their descendants, with respect to acquiring and transmitting Indian status. This amendment, which has been dubbed “6(1)(a) all the way”, would make Indian women and their descendants eligible for full 6(1)(a) status – instead of second-class 6(1)(c) status – and finally put an end to the sexist and arbitrary discrimination within the Indian Act status regime.
The Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples passed the McPhedran amendment on May 17, 2017. The amended Bill S-3 will be debated in the full Senate, possibly as soon as next week.
In October 2016, the Federal Government introduced Bill S-3, to amend the Indian Act in response to the decision of the Quebec Superior Court in Descheneaux v Canada. Instead of taking the opportunity to go beyond the minimum required by Deschenaux, as the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples urged it to do, the Government of Canada proposed only another piece-meal change. Senator McPhedran’s amendment would mean a radical shift; it would dismantle the sex-based hierarchy that is at the center of the discrimination. FAFIA unequivocally supports Senator McPhedran’s amendment and urges Senators to support “6(1)(a) all the way.”
You can support Indigenous women’s equality by contacting your provincial or territorial Senators and telling them to support Senator McPhedran’s proposed amendment. You can also use social media to raise awareness about the sex discrimination in the Indian Act.
Learn more about the history of sex discrimination and the Indian Act: see the webinar hosted by the Canadian Women’s Foundation and FAFIA here.
See more on FAFIA’s reporting on Senate Bill S-3 here.