Inuvialuit Regional Corporation passes child and family services law

Inuvialuit is the first Inuit region to enact child and family services law: IRC

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation passes child and family services law
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Board of Directors | Image credit: Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Following public consultation, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) Board has passed the first Inuvialuit law that will acknowledge the inherent rights of Inuvialuit to govern Inuvialuit children, youth, and families.

The IRC is the government body representing the collective interests of Inuvialuit in the Northwest Territories.

The new law, called Inuvialuit Qitunrariit Inuuniarnikkun Maligaksat or the Inuvialuit Family Way of Living Law, was created in response to Bill C-92, in which the federal government affirms the inherent rights of Indigenous communities in relation to child and family services.

The new law will ensure that all Inuvialuit children in contact with child and families services in Canada are supported to remain connected with their family, community, and culture, said a news announcment from the IRC. 

Pursuant to the new law, the following will come into effect:

  • The IRC will take over all family welfare services and functions involving Inuvialuit children;
  • Additional support will be given to Inuvialuit families to reduce the need for child welfare intervention;
  • The federal, territorial and provincial government will be required to meet certain standards when providing child and family services to Inuvialuit children and their families;
  • The IRC will be involved in child welfare cases to ensure family support;
  • Through the Inuvialuit Social Development Program, the IRC will establish a new organization which will be responsible for the implementation of the new law.

The new law also provides that existing services will remain available to Inuvialuit children, youth and families and will not be diminished, unless a replacement of existing services by Inuvialuit services is specifically set out.

“With this new law, Inuvialuit becomes the first Inuit region to enact its own child wellbeing legislation, an important step in self-determination and a proud achievement for all Inuvialuit,” IRC said.

 “This law is an important part of the IRC’s continuing work to lift up the Inuvialuit and be a model of proud and impactful self-government,” IRC CEO and Chair Duane Ningaqsiq Smith said in the announcement.

In her statement, Premier of the Northwest Territories Caroline Cochrane congratulated the IRC for being the first Indigenous government in the NWT to ratify a child and family services law that will apply across Canada.

“This law is a big step forward in ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of Inuvialuit children, youth, and families. We are committed to continuing to work with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation moving forward.”

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