Questions and Answers Regarding the Conclusion of the Qalipu Enrolment Process
The Enrolment Committee has completed its review of all 101,000 applications. A letter regarding the Enrolment Committee’s decision on your file and next steps will be mailed on January 31, 2017. You should expect to receive this letter in the mail within the first ten days of February.
If your address has changed since you submitted your original application, you must update your contact information in order to receive this letter. Please call the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation line at 1-800-561-2266 or send a signed letter by fax to (204) 984-3032. Make sure to include:
- your full name
- your date of birth
- your file number from INAC, if available (found at the upper-right corner of a letter from the Enrolment Committee)
- your previous and new mailing addresses
- the effective date of your address change
Everyone who submitted an application to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation enrollment process is an applicant, including members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. Unless your application has been rejected, your application has been reviewed for Founding Membership in the Band and you will receive a letter with the decision of the Enrolment Committee dated January 31, 2017.
Yes. All applications were reviewed with the same criteria. They were reviewed equally by the Enrolment Committee. It was the responsibility of the applicant to determine what additional documentation relating to self-identification and group acceptance, if any, he or she wished to provide in support of his or her application. This was explained in the bulletin November 2013 Updated Information for Applicants for Membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation-Requirements for Additional Documentation.
Your application was reviewed only with the documents that were on file.
Your letter will indicate that you are either eligible or ineligible for Founding Membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. It will also provide information on next steps as outlined in the timeline below:
No. The process for registration is expected to commence in the spring of 2018.
Before you can become entitled for registration under the Indian Act, the Founding Members list needs to be finalized. This requires decisions to be rendered on all appeals and the updated Founding Members list to be tabled in Cabinet and approved. Once this happens, the Indian Registrar will begin to implement updates to the Indian Registry. You will be entitled to access programs and services after you are registered under the Indian Act.
You will be contacted by the Indian Registrar when your name is added to the Indian Registry. At that time, you will be able to apply for a Status Card, referred to as the “Secured Certificate of Indian Status.”
No. You will not lose your status/benefits until after the Indian Registry is amended based on the updated Founding Member list subject to a new Order in Council to be presented by the Minister in Parliament. This amendment process will commence in early spring of 2018 at which point you will be contacted by the Indian Registrar with more information.
No. The Government of Canada will not seek the reimbursement of benefits received by registered Indians who were at the time entitled to these benefits.
No. Since you are currently registered as an Indian under the Indian Act, you will retain your access to programs and services until the Indian Registry is amended based on the updated Founding Members list. This amendment process will commence in early spring of 2018 at which point you will be provided with more information.
Following your removal from the Indian Registry, if you have a status card, it will be canceled. You will no longer be able to access services or programs using this card or registration number.
The Government of Canada will not seek the reimbursement of benefits received by registered Indians who were at the time entitled to these benefits.
Please note that there are two types of education contracts administered by the Qalipu First Nation, the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) and the Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy (ASETS). Students who self-identify as aboriginal may be eligible for ASETS funding. It is not dependent on a status card.
No. However, while only registered Indians are eligible for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), any self-identifying Aboriginal person may be eligible for education support through the Aboriginal Skills, Employment and Training Strategy (ASETS).
Your application to become a Founding Member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation has been reviewed by the Enrolment Committee pursuant to the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation (the “Agreement”), the Guidelines contained in the Agreement, the Supplemental Agreement, and Directives to the Enrolment Committee. These documents can be found at www.aandc.gc.ca/qalipu or www.qalipu.ca/enrolment
If you are entitled to an appeal and your file is found ineligible for Founding Membership, an appeal notice will be included in your decision letter dated January 31, 2017. To initiate an appeal, you will need to complete the Appeal Notice. Please note that no additional documents will be accepted. All appeals will be concluded by fall 2017.
All appeals will be handled by the Appeal Master who is a neutral and independent party. The Appeal Master will review your entire record and Appeal Notice. They will render a decision that you will receive in the mail.
You will have 45 days (until March 17, 2017) to initiate an appeal. Retain a copy for your records and return the original to:
Office of the Appeal Master
No additional documents will be accepted. The Appeal Master will base their decision on your applicant record and your Appeal Notice.
In November 2013, all applicants were provided with an opportunity to submit additional documents to support their self-identification or group acceptance. It was the sole responsibility of the applicant to determine what additional documentation, if any, relating to self-identification and group acceptance they wished to provide in support of their application.
Yes. Children of registered Founding Members will be entitled to registration under the Indian Act. Please note, however, that you cannot become registered under the Indian Act through your bother, sister, aunt, uncle or another relative.
The application for registration as an Indian must be made under the Indian Act to the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Information on this process is available on INAC’s website.
However, you will not become eligible until after the Registrar has implemented the changes in the Registry. This process will commence after the new Founding Members List is approved in the spring of 2018.
The Supplemental Agreement, which was signed in June 2013, respects the original intent of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and resolves a number of issues which had prevented conclusion of the process for enrolment in the First Nation.
Specifically, the Supplemental Agreement:
- extended the timelines for review of the applications, and ensured all previously unprocessed applications could be reviewed;
- ensured that all applications received during all phases of the enrolment process, except those previously rejected, would be assessed or reassessed;
- provided that all those whose applications that were assessed or reassessed would be sent written notification and will have an opportunity to provide additional documentation, if necessary;
- provided clarity regarding the assessment of an applicant’s self-identification as a member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland; and
- provided guidance related to an individual’s acceptance by the Mi’kmaq communities of Newfoundland, particularly as it relates to individuals not residing in the communities of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland.
No, the enrolment criteria in section 4.1 of the 2008 Agreement did not change. Rather, the Supplemental Agreement reached between Canada and the FNI included clarification of the requirements for enrolment, additional documentation requirements for applications, and provided an extension of the 2008 Agreement timelines. In addition, under the Supplemental Agreement, all applications submitted since the enrolment process began in December 2008 were reviewed, except for those that had been previously rejected. The 2008 Agreement remains in effect.
The Supplemental Agreement clarified the process for enrolment and resolved issues that emerged in the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.
These issues included the following:
- Number of applications — It was neither reasonable nor credible to expect that more than 101,000 individuals would become members of the First Nation, particularly given that approximately two-thirds of the applicants did not reside in any of the Mi’kmaq communities targeted for recognition in this initiative, but elsewhere in Canada.
- Insufficient timelines — As a result of the surge in applications received for membership, it was not possible to review all applications submitted prior to the November 30, 2012 application deadline within the time limits contained in the original agreement.
- Lack of clarity in guidelines – The original guidelines for the assessment of applications did not provide sufficient clarity and detail to ensure that the original intent of the parties could be reflected.
The Supplemental Agreement meets the objective shared by Canada and the FNI that all applicants are treated fairly and equitably in accordance with the criteria that the parties originally negotiated to establish eligibility for membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.
In 2008, Canada and the FNI reached agreement on the creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. The intent of the 2008 Agreement was to establish a landless band for the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland which was located on the island of Newfoundland and outlined in Annex B of the 2008 Agreement. The original agreement set in motion an enrolment process that would provide eligible members of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland with status under the Indian Act.
The parties intended that founding membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation would be granted primarily to persons living in or around the Newfoundland Mi`kmaq communities named in the 2008 Agreement. While individuals living outside of these communities could also become members, the intent of the parties was that non-residents would be required to have maintained a strong cultural connection with a Newfoundland Mi’kmaq community, including a sustained and active involvement in the community despite their absence.
The Chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is the legal party representing the Federation of Newfoundland Indians in the Agreement that recognizes the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation as an Indian Act Band. As such, the Chief is the official spokesperson on all matters dealing with enrolment and represents the interests of the First Nation.
Background note: The Agreement to create the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation as an Indian Act Band was made between the FNI and Canada. The FNI’s only remaining members are the elected Chief and Council of Qalipu First Nation. Each member of Qalipu Chief and Council may sit on the Board of Directors for the FNI to represent Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation at the table with INAC. Not all Executive (Vice-Chief’s) and Councilors exercise their right to do so. The Chief is obligated to sit on the Board of Directors.
As with any legal agreement, both parties must act within the terms of the Agreement and maintain a level of confidentiality to protect the integrity of the agreement.
The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Act enables the Governor in Council to amend, according to the recommendations of the Enrolment Committee, the schedule to the Order in Council which lists the Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. The Act ensures that the objective shared by Canada and the FNI that all applicants are treated fairly and equitably in accordance with the criteria that the parties originally negotiated to establish eligibility for membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is met and implemented. The Act reflects the original intention of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and Canada with respect to the creation of a Founding Members list.
According to the Indian Act in its present form:
Upon being registered (or entitled to be registered), Founding Members are considered 6(1)(b)’s under the Indian Act of Canada, which means:
“6(1)(b) – Persons who are members of groups declared to be new bands by the Governor in Council”
An individual who has the 6(1)(b) classification does qualify to register their children, however the child’s classification will be 6(2) under the Indian Act of Canada, which means:
“6(2) – Persons with one Indian parent registered or entitled under a 6(1) provision”
An individual with 6(2) classification under the Indian Act of Canada will not qualify to register their children due to the Section 6(2) Cut-Off that was introduced in the 1985 Indian Act of Canada:
“Section 6(2) Cut-Off – The 1985 Indian Act introduced a cut-off in terms of who is entitled to registration. Persons born to a parent who is registered or entitled to be registered under Section 6(2) are not eligible for registration unless their other parent is also someone who is registered or entitled to be registered under the Act.”
If however, both parents are registered 6(1)(b) Indians under the Indian Act of Canada (does not necessarily mean parents are registered, or entitled to be registered, with the same Indian Act Band), would allow for their children to be registered as 6(1)(f)’s under the Indian Act of Canada, meaning:
“6(1)(f) – Persons with two registered (or entitled to be registered) parents”
Children of a 6(1)(f) parent are eligible to be registered as Status Indians under the Indian Act of Canada.
This is one of several issues that have been brought forward by Chief Mitchell in meetings with various levels of government, and the enrolment Implementation Committee. Lobbying for the care and consideration of persons with difficult circumstances regarding health care will continue to be a primary concern, and will be advocated for, by the Qalipu Chief and Council
Chief and Council have pledged to build an inclusive Nation for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq. Status cards are not required to participate in Band led teachings, ceremonies or events. For instance, all people are welcome at powwows, sweat lodges, workshops, and functions of the Band. Furthermore, Qalipu will review policy on education and employment funding whose guidelines make it possible to financially support any eligible person who self-identifies as Aboriginal. We will be exploring all possible ways to support Mi’kmaq not registered under the Indian Act.
Please call the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation line at 1-800-561-2266.
Eligibility for Founding Membership is based on more elements than ancestral lineage and each applicant must meet specific criteria (noted below). The criteria established by the Parties was guided by the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Powley where the Court recognized that belonging to an Aboriginal group requires at least three elements: Aboriginal ancestry, self-identification, and acceptance by the group. The Supreme Court stressed that self-identification and acceptance could not be of recent vintage. This formed the basis for the eligibility criteria and this is why it is possible that some individuals with the same ancestor(s) as an accepted Founding Member may not receive status.
Criteria to become a Founding Member
- is of Canadian Indian ancestry;
- is a member of a Newfoundland Pre-Confederation Mi’kmaq Community (or is a descendent of such person);
- was not registered on the Indian Register on the date of the Recognition Order (September 22, 2011);
- self-identified as a Member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland on the date of the Recognition Order; and
- was accepted by the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland as a member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland on the date of the Recognition Order.
While individuals may be immediate family members (siblings, parents, etc.), their applications may not have been documented identically as evidence of self-identification and of acceptance by the group will differ from one individual to another. As such, this may have resulted in different decisions rendered amongst family members.