MKO First Nations Family Law
In July 1996, the MKO Chiefs-in-Assembly called for the implementation of a community consultation process to document values and beliefs on child and family matters to serve as a foundation for developing a legislative framework for First Nations child and family services. The MKO Child and Family Jurisdiction Project was established in December 1996 to undertake this work.
Between 1997 and 2000, an extensive community consultation process was conducted in the MKO First Nations. The process included community workshops, a community survey, and an Elders Forum.
In 1998, the MKO Chiefs-in-Assembly called for the development of a legislative framework for First Nations child and family services.
In 1999, following a consultation process, the draft MKO Family Law, called Minisiwin Winiswaywin, was created to promote family unity and wellness and to serve as a basis for MKO First Nations to develop their own laws for child welfare. It was endorsed by the MKO Chiefs‑in‑Assembly in 1999.
Between 2000 and 2018, the MKO Child Welfare Secretariat continued to develop the draft MKO Family Law in collaboration with stakeholders, including the MKO leadership and community members, First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies, and the First Nations of Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority.
On June 21, 2019, Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children, youth and families became law. In November 2019, the MKO Chiefs-in-Assembly directed the MKO Child Welfare Secretariat to update the draft MKO Family Law in relation to Bill C-92.
Federal Legislation on Indigenous Child Welfare
On January 1, 2020, the federal law, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children, youth and families (the Act), came into effect. The Act enables First Nations to develop their own laws for child welfare.
MKO Family Law
Since 2020, as directed by the MKO leadership, the MKO Child Welfare Secretariat continued to develop the draft MKO Family Law in relation to the federal Act and create a template law for all MKO communities to adopt if they choose. The MKO Child Welfare Secretariat has been working with Mack Law Corp. in developing the draft MKO Family Law. In May 2021, a fourth draft of the MKO Family Law was developed.
On May 27, 2021, the MKO Executive Council adopted the motion to move forward with the MKO Family Law template, remove the “Draft”, and circulate it to the MKO communities.
The MKO Child Welfare Secretariat is available to support and assist MKO First Nations in developing child welfare laws at their request.