In April 2010, LEAF provided a submission to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development on Bill C-3: Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act.

In its submission, LEAF urged the federal government to withdraw its challenge to the amended Bill C-3 and to end sex discrimination in the Indian Act once and for all.

Although entitled “Gender Equity” in the Indian Act, Bill C-3 as originally drafted failed to achieve full equality between Aboriginal women and men in eligibility for and transmission of Indian status.  Amendments to Bill C-3 are necessary. 

The Amended Bill adopted by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development received the unanimous support of the opposition parties and followed the demands by individual Indigenous women, Indigenous women’s organizations, Indigenous governments and Chiefs, including the Assembly of First Nations and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, and legal experts, that sex discrimination under the Indian Act be eradicated.

Despite this overwhelming tide of support, the Conservative government opposed the Bill as adopted by the Committee on the basis that the amendments were outside of the scope of the Bill. 

LEAF’s submission argued that the government’s s. 15 Charter and international law obligations required a more comprehensive and meaningful amendment to the Indian Act than that proposed under Bill C-3. It also confirmed the organization’s support for an amendment to Bill C-3 that would achieve the goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination against Indigenous women and their descendants.

Download the submission below.