The term “matrimonial real property” (MRP) refers to the house or land that a couple lives on or benefits from while they are married or in a common law relationship. In 1986, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that provincial and territorial laws on MRP do not apply to reserve land.
Previously, the Indian Act did not contain any laws that apply to MRP on reserve land. This gap in the law had serious consequences, especially for women who live on reserve after their marriage. When a marriage or relationship ended, couples who lived on reserve could not use any laws to help them carry out their plans if they agreed on how to deal with their matrimonial real property.
As of June 19, 2013, the federal government’s Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act received Royal Assent.  To help First Nations with implementation, a Centre of Excellence (COE) for MRP was created. For more information visit, www.coemrp.ca
On December 16, 2013, the First Nations law-making mechanism in the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (the Act) came into force. The provisional federal rules now apply until a First Nation enacts their own community-specific matrimonial real property law. The exceptions to this can be found on the Application of the Legislation web page.
The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs is required by the Act to maintain and publish a list of First Nations with matrimonial real property laws enacted under this legislation. Subsection 11(6) of the Act states:
The Minister must maintain a list of First Nations whose laws are in force and must publish in any manner that the Minister considers appropriate the list and any amendments to the list.
To comply with this requirement in the Act, the following is the list of First Nations with matrimonial real property laws in force that have been enacted under the legislation, as well as links to their community’s profile.
Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Ontario:  April 8, 2014Pictou Landing First Nation, Nova Scotia: December 16, 2014Millbrook First Nation, Nova Scotia: December 1, 2014Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia: December 16, 2014Paqtnkek Mi’Kmaw Nation, Nova Scotia: December 18, 2014Whitefish River First Nation, Ontario: March 6, 2015Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc, British Columbia: July 30, 2015Sipekne’katik First Nation, Nova Scotia: September 25, 2015Mohawks of Akwesasne, Ontario and Quebec: November 26, 2015Salt River First Nation #195, Northwest Territories and Alberta: December 6, 2015Membertou First Nation, Nova Scotia: April 30, 2016
The Minister is also required by the Act to maintain a list of self-governing First Nations that retain reserve land who ask that the Minister declare that the provisional federal rules apply to them via a ministerial order. Subsection 12(5) of the Act states:
The Minister must maintain a list of First Nations in respect of which the Minister has made a declaration and must publish in any manner that the Minister considers appropriate the list and any amendments to the list.
Currently, no self-governing First Nations that retain reserve land have asked the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to declare that the provisional federal rules apply to them.

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