OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/11/13 -- Today, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, announced that the Harper Government's Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act passed third reading in the House of Commons. The Bill aims at ensuring women and families living on First Nation reserves have access to the same matrimonial rights as those living off reserves.
"I am proud our Government is taking action to ensure that families living on reserve have similar rights and protections as other Canadians. In particular, Aboriginal women and children will particularly benefit from this important legislation," said Minister Valcourt. "This law will encourage First Nations to create and apply their own matrimonial real property laws that respect their own culture and traditions."
Bill S-2, Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, aims to provide families living on reserve with similar protections and rights as those living off reserve in the event of a relationship breaking down, or upon the death of a spouse or common-law partner. It will also protect people living on reserves in situations of family violence.
Under Bill S-2, First Nations will have the choice of enacting their own laws related to matrimonial real property, laws that can be designed to meet their particular needs and respect their customs, or following the provisional federal rules. A 12-month transition period was added to the bill to provide some time for First Nations to enact their own laws before the federal rules take effect.
"Women living on-reserve will finally enjoy the same real property rights as every other member of our society," said Minister Ambrose. "This new law will also save lives - by giving Aboriginal women access to emergency protection orders in violent situations."
When this Act comes into force, judges will be able to issue emergency protection orders, remove violent partners from the family home and allow courts to apply First Nations' own matrimonial real property laws that respect their culture and traditions once those laws are enacted.
The Harper Government remains deeply committed to further protecting the rights of Aboriginal people, particularly women living on reserves. With Bill S-2 our Government is taking steps to ensure the equitable distribution of real property assets in the event of death, divorce or separation.
The Government of Canada remains focused on four priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister, that Canadians care most about: their families, the safety of our streets and communities, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and their personal financial security.
You may also be interested in:
Backgrounder - Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Frequently Asked Questions - Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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