Matrimonial Real Property on Reserves

"It's about women and men living on reserves getting the same rights and protections as every other Canadian."

-the Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of Revenue, National Revenue. Source Source: Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt, holds a news conference to make an important announcement regarding the Family Homes on Reserves or Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act

In collaboration with First Nation people, communities and groups, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) developed legislation to address a long-standing and unacceptable legislative gap regarding matrimonial real property on reserves. The legislation called the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act received Royal Assent on June 19, 2013. The first part of the Act - the First Nation law-making mechanism - came into force by Order in Council on December 16, 2013.

The Act is divided into two parts. The first part of the Act (now in force) provides for the enactment of First Nation laws respecting on-reserve matrimonial real property. The second part of the Act will come into force twelve months later, on December 16, 2014. It provides for provisional federal rules to fill the legislative gap in the absence of a First Nation's own laws.

As of December 16, 2013 – First Nation Law-Making Mechanism Came Into Force

The first part of the Act - the First Nation law-making mechanism - came into force on December 16, 2013. Under sections 7-11 of the Act, First Nation communities can choose to enact their own matrimonial real property laws.

First Nation communities choosing to create their own matrimonial real property laws can take the steps to ratify their own laws - ones that respect their communities' traditions and cultures. The provisional federal rules will not apply to a First Nation community that brings into effect their own laws before the provisional federal rules come into force.

Provisional Federal Rules

The protections and rights provided by the provisional federal rules set out in sections 12 to 52, 54 and 55 of the Act, will come into force on December 16, 2014, after the 12-month transition period.

The 12-month transition period was added to the Act to provide time for First Nations to enact their own laws before the federal provisional rules take effect. However, First Nations are not limited to the 12-month transition period and may enact their community-specific laws at any time now that the first part of the Act is in force. As soon as a First Nation enacts its matrimonial real property after the 12-month transition period, the provisional federal rules in the Act will not apply to that community.

Resources

To assist First Nation communities, a Centre of Excellence for Matrimonial Real Property, operating at arm's length from the Government of Canada, is in place. Hosted by the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association (NALMA), this resource centre assists First Nations with the understanding and application of the new Act, by helping to guide First Nations who are opting to develop their own matrimonial real property laws. The Centre provides information on the protections and rights available to individuals and families living on reserves, research on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as the provisional federal rules which will come into force on December 16, 2014.

Archived Material

Contact Us

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Lands Modernization Directorate
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
12th floor, room 1230
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau (Hull) QC K1A 0H4
Tel.: (toll-free) 1-800-567-9604
E-mail: mrp-bim@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca