Matrimonial Real Property is a term for the house or land a married or common law couple lives on or benefits from. MRP laws ensure this property is dealt with equitably in the event of separation, divorce or death. About 30 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that provincial or territorial laws relating to Matrimonial Real Property do not apply on reserve land.
To deal with this gap, the federal government enacted a law in 2013 that allows First Nations to create their own MRP laws or puts temporary federal rules in place in communities that have not created their own laws.
The Centre of Excellence for Matrimonial Real Property supports First Nations with the implementation of this act. The centre provides guidance to First Nations that are developing their own matrimonial real property laws, information on the protections and rights available to individuals and families living on reserve and research on dispute resolution mechanisms.
One of the many important resources on the centre’s website is the MRP toolkit. This toolkit contains worksheets, flowcharts, checklists and training modules about matrimonial real property. It was developed to help First Nation leadership, technicians, members and residents understand the government’s MRP law and to guide law-making activities.
The centre offers toolkit training sessions in cities and towns across the country and provides sponsorships to First Nations who have not had the opportunity to attend a previous session. If you or anyone you know might be interested in attending a training session, click here.
The powerpoint slides used in training sessions can be found here.
The centre’s website has many other resources for anyone looking for information on the government’s law, how to create MRP laws on a reserve and what rights and protections individuals and families living on reserve have in communities where the provisional federal rules apply. Check out the resources here.
The site also has a handy and very in-depth, which you can visit here.
For a list of reserves that have created their own MRP laws, visit the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website.