An Update on Bill C-3 – January 19 2011 – What’s Next?

Dear Readers; after checking my blog stats, I can see that traffic has been heavy on my previous Bill C-3 blogs, especially the one that reads as an update. I will try to oblige, but please forgive any annoying repetition.

March 11, 2010 – First Reading (that’s where the Minister or someone like that introduces the bill into the House).

March 26, 2010 – Second Reading

March 29, 2010 – Debates

April 1, 2010 – Studied by Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAON)

April 13,15,20,22,27, 2010 – Meetings of AAON re Bill C-3 where they heard from witnesses sharing their concerns about the bill.

April 29, 2010 – AAON submitted and debated their report which included a variety of amendments they had adopted to ensure that the bill remedied all gender inequity instead of just a minor part of it.

May 25, 2010 – AAON continued debate of report.

Parliament then recessed for the summer.

October 26, 2010 – Report Stage – Report was debated again. Three motions were voted on and passed:

(1) Motion #1 dealt with minor amendments to the wording related to how INAC would report on the effects of the bill once it has been implemented;

(2) Motion #2 would restore the previous section 9 which had been deleted at AAON. This section provided Canada with an insulation from financial liability for claims which would come from women and children who had been wrongly excluded from the Act.

(3) Motion #3 essentially was to approve the bill as amended by the previous two motions.

All three motions were approved which meant that Bill C-3 (as amended)would go forward for Third reading and debates.

Nov.22, 2010 – Third Reading and debates

The bill was therefore passed as amended. Once it passed in the House, it literally sped through the process in the Senate being introduced on Nov.23, 2010 and passed Dec.9, 2010.

Dec.15, 2010 – Bill C-3 receives Royal Assent.

Jan.21. 2011 – The law officially comes into force and applications will be available at that time.

All this legislative information can be found at the following link:

http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&Chamber=N&StartList=A&EndList=Z&Session=23&Type=0&Scope=I&query=6949&List=stat
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has now posted new information about those who think they might qualify for status and the new process it will use to handle applications for status. Their link can be found here:

http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/br/is/bll/index-eng.asp

INAC provides three basic criteria that gives potential applicants a sense of whether or not they will be entitled under the new amendment:

(1) Did you grandmother lose Indian status because she married a non-Indian?

(2) Is one of your parents registered or entitled to be registered under section 6(2) of the Indian Act? and

(3) Were you (the applicant) or one of your siblings born after Sept.4, 1951?

If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then it is very likely (although INAC does not guarantee) that you will qualify for status. So, some of you might be thinking that you meet this criteria and want to know what to do next? INAC has provided contact information so you can ask them questions directly:

INAC Public Enquiries Contact Centre
Email: InfoPubs@ainc-inac.gc.ca
Phone: (toll-free) 1-800-567-9604
Fax: 1-866-817-3977
TTY: (toll-free) 1-866-553-0554

I have called them several times and they answer the phone quickly and the people who are working the telephone lines had up to date information and were very helpful. They did explain to me that although I have already applied for status, there will be NEW application forms with NEW requirements. Canada will make the forms available at the following locations:

Online: January 31, 2011
By mail: Call 1-800-567-9604 to request an application package.
In person: At any INAC Regional office or call 1-800-567-9604.

The kind of status card that Bill C-3 registrants will receive (if eligible) is a Secure Certificate of Indian Status (SCIS) card. It does not change the type of benefits, but does require additional documentation from applicants not requested of non-Bill C-3 applicants. The following list is what INAC has indicated will be required:

– Original birth certificate (listing parents names) (often referred to as “long-form”)

– Two passport style photographs

– Original piece of valid identification (i.e. – driver’s licence, passport, government issued ID)

– Guarantor Declaration for SCIS

And if applicable:

– Legal change of name document or marriage certificate

– Custody Court Order

– Statutory Declaration Form(s).

Please also keep in mind that INAC is changing the application for Bill C-3 applicants to a “mail-in” process only. That means the original documents they require MUST be mailed in to INAC and you will HOPEFULLY receive them back within a month or so.

I don’t know about any of you, but I don’t feel comfortable mailing INAC my Driver’s License (as a local police officer told me it is against the law to drive without it on your person). Similarly, the thought of my passport (at March break time) being held up at INAC for weeks maybe months is not overly user friendly or considerate.

INAC has also provided some time lines for processing applications. They are as follows:

Act comes into force and applications posted online = January 31, 2011

Letter confirming entitlement (assuming all docs provided with applic) = no time specified

Issuance of SCIS card number = 10-12 weeks after receipt of Letter of entitlement

Entire Process from start (application) to finish (receipt of status card) = 4-6 months

The ability to access benefits will start before you receive your card as your Letter of entitlement will provide a number you can use to access health and other benefits.

Also of interest:

(1) Sharon McIvor has filed a claim with the United Nations to have her gender discrimination case heard by the Human Rights Tribunal; and

(2) Merchant Law has filed a class action here in Canada in an attempt to get compensation for all those who will now be registered as per Bill C-3 for lost education benefits, lost taxes, health benefits etc. You will recall that the Bill prohibits any compensation.

Let me know if this is the kind of update you were looking for from my blog.

Pam

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