In Canada, matrimonial real property (MRP) generally refers to the immoveable assets owned by one or both spouses, such as a house and the land on which it sits.
In 1986, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed in Derrickson v. Derrickson that when a conjugal relationship breaks down, courts cannot apply provincial or territorial family law to deal with the family home or other real property on reserves held by one or both spouses or partners. This is because reserve lands fall under federal jurisdiction.
Until on-reserve matrimonial real property laws are in place, spouses or common-law partners living on reserves will face the reality that, in the event of separation, divorce or death, the law does not protect all of their matrimonial real property interests and rights.
In collaboration with First Nation people, communities and groups, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) has developed legislation to address this long-standing and unacceptable legislative gap. The proposed legislation is called the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Gender Issues 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