Sign on now to eliminate Indian Act sex discrimination!

Shocking as it is, Indian women still do not enjoy the same entitlement to full Indian status and the same ability to transmit their status to their descendants as Indian men. This discrimination has existed since the Indian Act was first introduced in 1876. We believe that 143 years of sex discrimination is enough.


Since 1970, this discrimination has been condemned repeatedly by Canadian commissions and inquiries, United Nations treaty bodies, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Canadian courts have ruled in case after case that the Indian Act violates s. 15 of the Charter. Despite this, Canada’s amendments to the Indian Act have been narrow, and have never eliminated the structure of discrimination that is embedded in the Act. In 2017, because of the insistence of the Senate, and the Famous Six, the Government of Canada included provisions in Bill S-3 that can eliminate the discrimination completely, but these provisions are not in force.


Now we have a new development. On January 11, 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Committee issued its decision on the petition filed by Sharon McIvor, and ruled that Indian Act sex discrimination violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As a signatory to this treaty, Canada is directed to ensure that all First Nations women and their descendants are granted the same status as their male counterparts. We want to see this ruling implemented immediately.


We are coming up to an election. If this 143-year-old discrimination is not removed by May 2019, we will head into an election period, and the opportunity for groundbreaking change will be gone. PLEASE HELP US REMOVE THE SEX DISCRIMINATION FROM THE INDIAN ACT, COMPLETELY, NOW!!


1. Please sign on to this letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Minister of Justice asking them to remove the sex discrimination from the Indian Act now; to sign on, send us an email at by February 22 with your name, if you are signing as an individual, or the name of your organization, and/or the name of all the individuals at your organization that would like to sign on. We will keep a continuous list and post it on our website.


2. For background information on Indian Act sex discrimination, please go here.


3. To see the UN decision, please go here


Thank you for your help and support.

Sharon McIvor,Pamela Palmater, Shelagh Day