Are you applying as a grandchild of a woman who lost her Indian status through marriage?

Find out how to apply for Indian status as a Bill C-3 (Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act) applicant.

Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Indian Act in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in Descheneaux c. Canada (Procureur général), which extends entitlement to Indian status, received royal assent on December 12, 2017, and came into force on December 22, 2017. To apply for Indian status under Bill S-3 visit Are you applying based on the 2017 changes to the Indian Act?

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Can you apply?

You are eligible if:

  1. your grandmother lost her Indian status as a result of marrying a non-Indian man
  2. one of your parents is registered or entitled to be registered, under subsection 6(2) of the Indian Act
  3. you or one of your siblings was born on or after September 4, 1951

To find out more, contact Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Public Enquiries.

If you are the registered Indian parent of an eligible child (15 or younger) or a dependent adult, you may apply on their behalf.

If you applied before the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act was passed and were refused, you need to re-apply.

How to apply?

You can apply to register as an Indian under the Indian Act and get a Secure Certificate of Indian Status (secure status card) at the same time.

Before submitting your application, make sure to collect all the necessary documents.

For registration, you need:

  1. original long-form birth certificate listing the names of both parents (INAC does not accept photocopies of birth certificates; originals will be returned to you.)
  2. if the name on the application form is different from the name on the birth certificate, include an original official change-of-name document or a photocopy of a marriage or divorce certificate
  3. if the application is for a child or a dependent adult, also include:
    • official change-of-name document or a photocopy of the marriage or divorce certificate of the applying parent, only if the parent's name on the child or dependent adult's long-form birth certificate is different from the name of the parent applying on behalf of the child or dependent adult
    • for a child 15 or younger, the signatures of the parents listed on the child’s long- form birth certificate or a court order granting sole custody, guardianship or trusteeship to the applying guardian
    • for a dependent adult, an order of guardianship

If you are also applying for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status as an adult (16 or older), you will also need:

  1. a guarantor declaration
  2. acceptable valid identification or photocopies of both sides of each document, each photocopy signed by the guarantor
  3. two Canadian passport-style photos

If you are also applying for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status for a child (15 or younger) or dependent adult, you will also need:

  1. a guarantor declaration for the applying parent or legal guardian
  2. acceptable valid identification or photocopies of both sides of the applying parent or legal guardian's acceptable valid identification, each photocopy signed by the guarantor
  3. two Canadian passport-style photos

To avoid unnecessary delays in both registration and obtaining the Secure Certificate of Indian Status, make sure you provide all required information and documents when applying. If you only submit the documents required for registration with the application, the applicant's name will be added to the Indian Register, but a status card will not be issued.

Complex situations, such as adoptions, may take longer to process.

INAC makes every possible effort to return original documents within one month after receiving an application.

Step 1: Fill out the application form

Get the 2011 Indian Act Amendments – Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act Application for Registration and Secure Certificate of Indian Status form:

Fill out the form in black or blue ink.

The form can be used for adult applicants and for children 15 or younger. A parent or legal guardian must apply on behalf of a child or dependent adult.

Step 2: Find a guarantor

To determine who can be a guarantor, visit About guarantors.

The guarantor must:

If you can’t find a guarantor, you or a parent or legal guardian must complete and submit the Registration and Secure Certificate of Indian Status (in-Canada SCIS) Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor.

Step 3: Fill out applicant information

Indicate if the application is for an adult or for a child or dependent adult.

In Part 1 of the form, provide the requested personal information and indicate the applicant's band affiliation.

In Part 2, provide information about the applicant's parent who is or was entitled to be registered under subsection 6(2) of the Indian Act.

In Part 3, provide the requested information about the applicant's grandmother who lost her entitlement to registration as a result of marrying a non-Indian man.

After you have completed Parts 1 to 3, complete Part 4 to receive the Secure Certificate of Indian Status (secure status card). Make sure to list the documents you are providing as proof of identity. If the applicant is an adult, make sure to provide their signature in the specimen signature box.

Only complete Part 5 if the application is for an adult (16 or older).

Only complete Part 6 if applying as a parent or legal guardian on behalf of a child (15 or younger) or dependent adult.

Step 4: Print and mail the application

INAC accepts applications by mail only.

Mail to:

Application Processing Unit
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
GD Stn Main
Winnipeg MB R3C 0M2

How long does the process take?

If your application is complete and you are eligible, you will receive a letter with a registration number and a Temporary Confirmation of Registration Document within six months. This confirms that you are eligible to benefits and services under the Indian Act.

If you have provided all the required documents with the application, you should receive the in-Canada format of the secure status card within 16 weeks of receiving the letter.

About the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act

The Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act (Bill C-3) came into force on January 31, 2011. The act addresses gender equity in the Indian Act and amends provisions of the Indian Act that the Court of Appeal for British Columbia found to be unconstitutional in the case of McIvor v. Canada (2009).

The act created paragraph 6(1)(c.1) in the Indian Act to enable the grandchildren of women who lost their status through marriage to register.

Any child of a person whose entitlement to registration was amended or was entitled to be amended from subsection 6(2) to paragraph 6(1)(c.1), whether born on or after September 4, 1951, is now entitled to registration under subsection 6(2) of the Indian Act.

The band membership of children newly entitled to register under subsection 6(2) is determined according to current band membership rules (codes) and if their band of affiliation has control of its membership. Otherwise, they are entitled to membership in their parents' band.

In coming to these changes, INAC held 15 engagement sessions in 2009 with interested Indigenous parties throughout Canada to seek opinions and develop a preferred approach to the legislated amendments.

Figure 1 presents the impact of the 1985 amendments to the Indian Act on a woman who lost her status as a result of marriage to a non-Indian man before April 17, 1985 compared to her brother. Figure 2 presents the changes to the same family as a result of the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act.

Figure 1
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 2
Text description of Figure 1 and Figure 2:

Figure 1 shows the impact of the 1985 amendments to the Indian Act on a woman who lost her status as a result of marriage to a non-Indian man before April 17, 1985 compared to her brother. Her brother did not lose status no matter whom he married. Both the sister's and brother's children had status.

The brother's children had subsection 6(1) status and the sister's had subsection 6(2) status. This meant that the sister's grandchild was not entitled to status, while the brother's had subsection 6(2) status.

Figure 2 shows the changes that the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act made to Indian status. Both the brother's and sister's children have subsection 6(1) status and both the brother's and sister's grandchildren have subsection 6(2) status.

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