Carrier Sekani Family Services and its 14 member First Nations in the B.C. Central Interior are celebrating Friday’s Supreme Court decision upholding the right for Indigenous Nations to provide their own child and family services.
Based in Prince George, Carrier Sekani Family Services, along with four Carrier Sekani nations, were granted intervener status in the case. The Carrier Sekani interveners argued that the case-by-case approach has created unreasonable barriers to self-government.
The federal government passed a new act in 2020, establishing national minimum standards for the delivery of child and family services.
The Quebec government challenged the act on constitutional grounds, arguing that Canada cannot hold Indigenous laws above provincial laws.
“We have advocated and worked very hard to change the system, we finally have our right to care for our children our way and is protected by the constitution of Canada,” CSFS Board President and Saik’uz First Nation Chief Priscilla Mueller said in a release. “Now the BC government has no choice but to ensure that it has a process to support First Nations autonomy and inherent rights in all aspect of Indigenous well-being.”
"This decision clears the way for our Nations to devote their time and resources to the work that matters: caring for our children," Warner Adam, CEO of Carrier Sekani Family Services, said.