WHAT IS BILL C-92?
An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and families, commonly referred to as “Bill C-92”, is federal legislation that came into force January 1, 2020. This legislation has two key functions:
1. Establishes national standards for Indigenous children in child welfare; and
2. Establishes a legal pathway by which First Nations and Indigenous governing bodies can enact their own laws with respect to child and family welfare.
Bill C-92 brings into force a set of new national standards including principles related to the best interest of an Indigenous child with priority given to supporting families with preventative care. Bill C-92 also recognizes that one size does not fit all when it comes to Indigenous child and family service models across Canada. Indigenous communities have the freedom to develop laws and policies tailored to their unique circumstances and traditions.
“Particularly in this time when more and more Indigenous communities are beginning to exercise their sense of self-government, their sense of taking control of their lives, their sense of doing things for themselves and getting out from under the control of government – as they’re doing it, they’re asking ‘How can we develop a law about education? How can we develop a child-welfare law that truly respects our traditions and our customs and our beliefs?’ I’m here to help our communities and Indigenous lawyers understand that.”
~THE HON. MURRAY SINCLAIR, GENERAL COUNSEL
Who We Are
Cochrane Saxberg is Manitoba’s largest Indigenous law firm making us uniquely positioned to take on a variety of matters related to Indigenous issues. We have two office locations, one in Winnipeg and one at Swan Lake First Nation (on reserve) in Headingley, Manitoba. Our legal team is led by Harold Cochrane, a Cree lawyer from Fisher River Cree Nation. Mr. Cochrane is a managing partner at Cochrane Saxberg LLP.
We are closely connected to the Indigenous community. We bring a unique perspective to the practice of law, and our lawyers have genuine, extensive, and first-hand experience in Indigenous law and legal issues that are unique to Indigenous communities.
We are privileged to have The Honourable Murray Sinclair, retired Senator, past Associate Chief Judge for Manitoba’s Provincial Court, past Justice in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench and Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, join the firm as General Counsel. Mr. Sinclair brings with him decades of invaluable experience, expertise, and visioning to our Bill C-92 work.
How We Can Help
If your community or Nation is interested in starting the Bill C-92 law making process, our team of dedicated lawyers is available to support you every step of the way. With years of invaluable experience and expertise working with First Nations child welfare, we understand the ways in which laws should be drafted to improve the system with better outcomes for children, families and community.
We ask important questions to establish the foundation of your Child Welfare laws, such as:
- What are the belief systems, traditions, laws and ceremonies that apply to families and children in your Nation?
- How does your Nation define family?
- What role does your community play in caring for children?
- What does your Nation need to prevent children from entering the child welfare system?
We assist by creating a blueprint for your Nation’s child welfare system, giving consideration to factors such as, but not limited to:
- Scope and provision of services including prevention, advocacy and protection;
- Funding needs and Coordination Agreements with the Province/Canada;
- Operations, staffing and human capital needs;
- Oversight, dispute resolution, and governance; and
- Information sharing and data collection/storage.
In addition, we will support the necessary community consultation and ceremonial protocols that your Nation requires at all stages of development and finalization of your child welfare laws.
“There are currently 11,000 children in care in Manitoba alone. 80 percent of those children are Indigenous children. The current provincial child welfare system does not work for our people and our communities. Rather than supporting and working with our children and families, provincial laws focus on removing children. Bill C-92 provides a pathway to deconstruct provincial child welfare systems and to develop our own laws to better support our children and families.”
~ HAROLD “SONNY” COCHRANE, Q.C., MANAGING PARTNER