In January 2018, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Board of Directors (the Board) reviewed and discussed discrimination under the registration provision of the Indian Act and the government’s next phase of consultation. Through open and frank discussions, and surveys provided by NWAC, the Board was able to provide valuable information on consultation requirements. NWAC determined that consultations must be undertaken in good faith by providing safe, accessible and culturally appropriate opportunities, places and methods. The objects of consultation must eliminate discrimination of sex, age and marital status. The consultations serve the purpose of recognizing a nation-to-nation relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples while representing the voices of the individuals and groups most directly affected by the legislation, particularly women. They will provide Indigenous women with the opportunity to be heard in their communities, in urban areas, on campuses and in institutions.
Through these changes to legislation, the government can attain their commitment of fully implementing UNDRIP and to pass legislation which will conform all of Canada’s laws with the declaration. This presents significant challenges for the continued existence of the Indian Act as it is unlikely the act will survive the reform process required to implement UNDRIP domestically. Despite the colonial and bigoted nature of the Indian Act, there are also rights and interests of Indigenous Canadians set out under that legislation that must continue to be respected post-Indian Act.