Introduction to Matrimonial Real Property and Case Study NALMA


In 1986, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Derrickson v. Derrickson, and Paul v. Paul, that courts cannot apply provincial or territorial family laws on reserves governed by the Indian Act if doing so would alter individual interests in matrimonial real property on reserves. This presentation will explore the historical context and the measures taken to fill the legislative gap.  The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interest or Rights Act (FHRMIRA) came into force December 16, 2013 to provide rights and protections to spouses and common-law partners residing on a First Nation reserve.  These protections can apply on the breakdown of a relationship or on the death of a spouse or common-law partner. We will examine the law-making provisions of FHRMIRA and the provisional federal rules (PFRs) that apply until such time as the First Nation’s own MRP law comes into force.  While the PFRs apply on most First Nations effective December 16, 2014, there were some exceptions.  The presentation will clarify those exceptions and the applicability of the PFRs to First Nations managing their lands outside of the Indian Act. The session will wrap up with a case study to demonstrate the application of the PFRs to an estate related court application.


  • Kathy McCue, NALMA