Collection of Documents on Gender Discrimination and the Indian Act

The following is a collection of documents relating to the history and evolution of gender discrimination and Indian Status in Canada. It includes the legislative histories of Bill C-31 (debates and background material) and its predecessors and successors, committee reports, United Nations periodic reports and background information from a number of civil society organizations. It also includes links to domestic and international challenges to the Indian Act through the Canadian courts and  United Nations Human Rights Committee.  

The documents were compiled by Lara Koerner Yeo and Sarah Bittman for the Law office of Mary Eberts in 2017 and were updated by Liam Thompson and Molly Hughes in 2019. 

Contents

Indian Self-Government in Canada: Report of the Special Committee on Indian Self-government (Penner Report)

    • House of Commons Debates
    • Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development
    • Subcommittee on Indian Women and the Indian Act

Bill C-47, An Act to amend the Indian Act, 32nd Parliament, 2nd Session, 1984

    • First Reading Bill
    • House of Commons: Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
    • House of Commons, Debates
    • Senate, Debates

Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Indian Act, 33rd Parliament, 1st Session, 1985

    • History and Background of the Bill
    • Versions of the Bill
    • House of Commons: Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
    • House of Commons and Senate, Debates
    • Impact of Bill C-31
    • Other

Bill C-3, An Act to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs), 40th Parliament, 3rd  Session, 2010

    • Versions of the Bill
    • House of Commons, Debates
    • House of Commons, Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Evidence
    • Senate, Debates
    • Senate: Standing Committee on Human Rights, Proceedings
    • Other Discussion of the Bill

BILL S-3, An act to amend the Indian Act (elimination of sex-based inequities in registration), 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, 2016

    • Versions of the Bill
    • Senate, Debates
    • Senate: Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, Proceedings
    • House of Commons, Debates
    • House of Commons, Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Evidence
    • Other

Court Decisions

    • Lavell; Bedard
    • McIvor v Canada
    • Matson et al. v. Canada
    • Descheneaux v Canada
    • Gehl v Canada

International human rights bodies

    • United Nations: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
    • United Nations: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
    • United Nations: Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
    • United Nations: Human Rights Committee
    • United Nations: Human Rights Council
    • United Nations: Human Rights Committee, Individual Complaint: McIvor v Canada, Communication No. 2020/2010)
    • United Nations: Human Rights Committee, Individual Complaint: Lovelace v Canada, Communication No. R.6/24
    • Inquiry Reports

Native Women’s Association of Canada

    • Reports
    • Submissions to Parliamentary Committees
    • Newsletters, Press Releases and Letters
    • Treaty body submissions

Exploratory Process on Indian Registration, Band Membership and Citizenship (2011-2012)

Collaborative Process on Indian Registration, Band Membership and Citizenship: Consultation Plan (2018-         )
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Documents

These cases led to 1974 Supreme Court of Canada decision that found that s 12(1)(b) of the Indian Act did not violate Section 1 (b) of the Canadian Bill of Rights, the “right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law” even though it deprived Indigenous women, but not Indigenous men, of Indian status for marrying a non-status person.