Press Release

Canada Jeopardizes Credible Footing For National Inquiry By Delaying On Eliminating Sex Discrimination From The Indian Act

June 23, 2016 – Sharon McIvor, the plaintiff in McIvor v. Canada, a constitutional challenge to the sex discrimination in Canada’s Indian Act, and a petitioner to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, announced today that the Government of Canada has asked the United Nations Human Rights Committee to suspend consideration of her petition. Ms. McIvor’s petition claims that the continuing sex discrimination in the status registration provisions of the Indian Act violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Thousands of Aboriginal women and their descendants are still not able to hold and transmit Indian status on an equal footing with their male counterparts. McIvor seeks full elimination of all remaining sex discrimination.

Canada has asked the UN Committee to suspend its consideration of Ms. McIvor’s petition on the grounds that it plans to consult further on the elimination of the sex discrimination from the Indian Act as a part of a “larger ongoing process” regarding a new nation‑to‑nation relationship. Canada also indicates that the equality rights of Indigenous women are a priority concern, demonstrated by Canada’s commitment to a national inquiry on murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls.

In a statement released today, Sharon McIvor calls on Canada to drop its request for a suspension, withdraw its opposition to her petition, acknowledge that the sex discrimination in the Indian Act violates the equality rights of women, and undertake publicly to remove all the sex discrimination from the Indian Act as soon as possible.

In her statement, Sharon McIvor says: “The national inquiry and any consultations on a new nation-to-nation relationship can only start on a credible footing if the Government of Canada begins by publicly undertaking to eliminate the sex discrimination in the Indian Act immediately. Without this, Indigenous women do not begin these processes as equals.”

The Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action announced that they stand with Sharon McIvor in calling for an immediate end to the sex discrimination in the Indian Act.

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