The term “matrimonial real property” (MRP) refers to the house or land that a couple lives on or benefits from while they are married or in a common law relationship. In 1986, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that provincial and territorial laws on MRP do not apply to reserve land.
Previously, the Indian Act did not contain any laws that apply to MRP on reserve land. This gap in the law had serious consequences, especially for women who live on reserve after their marriage. When a marriage or relationship ended, couples who lived on reserve could not use any laws to help them carry out their plans if they agreed on how to deal with their matrimonial real property.
As of June 19, 2013, the federal government’s Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act received Royal Assent. To help First Nations with implementation, a Centre of Excellence (COE) for MRP was created. For more information visit, www.coemrp.ca