Sometime in January, T’it’q’et is going to host a workshop where people can come in learn about the issues surrounding matrimonial property on reserve.
Real property is property that cannot be physically moved, like land or a family home. Matrimonial real property refers to real property that is shared by two people during a marriage or common-law relationship. When a marriage or common-law relationship ends, such as in divorce or the death of a spouse or common-law partner, there are often many aspects which require sorting out including the division of real property.
Off-reserve, the division of matrimonial real property is generally governed by the laws of the province or the territory. However, the Supreme Court of Canada decision Derrickson v. Derrickson ruled that because reserve lands fall under federal jurisdiction, certain provincial and territorial laws could not be applied to matrimonial real property on-reserve. The Family Homes on-reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (the Act) was created to fill the gap. The Act provides provisional federal rules for First Nations that have not established their own specific laws about matrimonial real property. The Act was developed after a long consultation process between the Government of Canada, the provinces and territories, and National Indigenous Organizations, involving over 100 sessions were held across Canada. The act provides a mechanism for First Nations to create their own laws about matrimonial real property, and provides a set of provisional federal laws to be used until a First Nation establishes its own law.
Learning about the laws and possible situations that arise when the unthinkable happens is something we need to consider before enacting our own land code. Stay tuned for further announcements when a time and date and location are finalized.
T”it’q’et Land Code Coordinator