Adoptees and the
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Canada)
In Canada, some adoptees may be registered as status Indians and as such, may be eligible for certain benefits.
The registration of persons as Indians is the responsibility of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa. The Registrar, appointed under the Indian Act, determines who is and who is not entitled to be registered as an Indian using the entitlement criteria provided in the Indian Act.
For more information, please see Who is entitled to receive benefits? on the DIAND website.
The Indian Act does not allow for a loss of status by reason of adoption. Therefore Indian children remain registered whether they are adopted by Indians or non-Indians. Additionally, the Indian Act allows non-Indian children adopted by Indians to gain Indian status and possibly band membership.
When the Registrar of Indians receives confirmation of the adoption, she takes the following steps:
- If the adoptive parents are members of the same band, the child is removed from registration number of the natural parent and is registered with the adoptive parents under his or her adoptive name.
- If the adoptive parents are members of another band, a transfer to the band of the adoptive parents can only be considered upon the request of the band council of the padoptive parents' band.
- If the adoptive parents are non-Indian, the child is removed from the registry number of the natural parents and is registered separately in the band. Although the child remains a band member, his or her name does not appear on a published band list.
Indian children adopted by non-Indians may or may not be entitled (depending on the Indian band to which they belong) to band per capita payments. If they are, their funds are placed in individual savings accounts and are administered in the following manner:
Release of Information
- the funds are held in trust and paid to the child on application after he or she reaches the age of 18
- the funds may be paid out prior to the adopted child reaching the age of 18 only if it can be shown that the interests of the child will suffer if an early release of any or all of the funds being held in trust is not provided.
- These funds will not be released unless the child asks for them. The amount of funds held in trust will vary according to the band.
When an adopted Indian child reaches the age of 18, the Registrar will provide him or her with a registry number, and the name of the Indian band to which he or she may be registered. This is done only upon request. After a registry number has been issued, a Certificate-of-Indian-Status card will also be provided if requested.
Indian Registration and Band Lists
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Information from Adoption and the Indian Child or L'adoption et les enfants indiens, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa, 1993. Catalogue No. R72-172/1993E ISBN 0-662-20850-1
Last updated January 28, 2001