Published Date: July 25, 2012
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First Nations People with Registered Status under the Indian Act and Off-Reserve Nations People
To ensure the terms and conditions of the Administrative Reform Agreement are met with respect to providing Income Support (IS) benefits and services to First Nations members living off reserve.
When a First Nation person is residing on reserve or ordinarily residing on reserve the IS Program does not usually provide funding because the responsibility of funding clearly lies with the federal government.
Registered Status Under the Indian Act
The Indian Act sets out the requirements for determining who is an Indian for the purposes of the Indian Act. Registered First Nations persons, however, may not be recognized by their band if their band has its own membership code and the membership code defines and stipulates how one can become a member of the band.
Non-Registered First Nations Person
A First Nation person may not be registered as an Indian under the Indian Act because their ancestors were never registered or because they lost First Nations status under former provisions of the Indian Act. Over the years, however, the rules have changed. An individual may be eligible to register if one or both of his/her parents are eligible for registration. Under Bill C-31 an Act to Amend the Indian Act, some First Nations people who had lost their status previously may be able to restore their status as a Registered Indian person under the Indian Act.
Registered First Nations Person
A Registered Indian under the Indian Act who belongs to a First Nation that has signed a treaty agreement with the Crown (federal government).
Providing IS to First Nations People Living Off-Reserve
According to the Administrative Reform Agreement, the province has agreed to fund and deliver the IS program to First Nations people with Registered Status under the Indian Act living off-reserve in the Treaty 7 and 8 areas. The province also funds and delivers IS to First Nations people with Registered status under the Indian Act living off-reserve in the Treaty 6 area. The federal government continues to provide social assistance to persons on-reserve.
Registered First Nations people residing off-reserve and deemed to be in need, are eligible for IS under conditions established in the Income and Employment Supports Act, the Income Supports, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, and Alberta Works Income Support Policy Manual. Health benefits are not provided to Registered First Nations people regardless of where they live since this is the responsibility of the federal government, through Health Canada.
However, Registered First Nations people living off-reserve may be provided the Residential Addictions Treatment to access treatment for substance abuse and/or problem gambling.
There are agreements in place whereby bands provide IS benefits to their members living off-reserve. These Off-Reserve IS Agreement holders are:
- Siksika First Nations
- Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council
Registered First Nations People
- Asks all applicants if they have Registered Status under the Indian Act.
- Confirms with the applicant they are not ordinarily a resident on a reserve by asking if they have ever lived on a reserve and, if so, the reason for leaving.
- Determines the status of each member of the household unit.
When a client indicates they have Registered Status under the Indian Act and do not ordinarily reside on reserve, the worker enters the Certificate of Indian Status (CIS) Card (commonly referred to as 'status card') number for the HH (head of household) and/or spouse/cohabiting partner in Client File function 7.
If the card is unavailable other official documentation is acceptable.
The CIS card number is a maximum of ten digits:
- The Band Number is the first three digits.
- The Family Number is the next five digits. If the Family Number is less than five digits, add zeros to the left of the number until there are five digits.
- The Position Number is the last two digits.
Since June 3, 2003 any:
- Registered child will have their own position number as 01 and
- Child turning 18 is required to apply for their own number.
First Nations People Without Registered Status Under the Indian Act
If the client states they:
- Have some First Nations heritage and
- Are uncertain if they are eligible for status registration and
- Wish to pursue their status eligibility, they are referred to:
Head of Indian Registration and Band Lists
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
Room 162, Canada Place
9700 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton AB T5J 4G2
Persons who indicate they are eligible to be registered as a First Nations person under the Indian Act, or who have dependants who are eligible to be registered, are encouraged to make application to AANDC but are not required to do so.
When a Non-Registered First Nations person indicates they are applying for registration, the worker:
- Informs the client they must provide a copy of their CIS once it is received; or documentation if their application was denied,
- Enters a Task in Mobius to allow for appropriate follow-up,
- Enters Mobius Notes regarding the outcome of the client’s contact with AANDC.
If the client obtains a CIS, the worker records the number in LISA and records this information in Mobius Notes.
Obtaining a Band Number
If the client provides a CIS card with the band name, position number and family number, the worker obtains the band number by referring to the Lists of Bands in Alberta. The worker records this number in LISA and documents the source of the band number in Mobius Notes.
Incomplete Registration Number
When the client does not know their complete registration number, the worker:
- Asks the client to contact their band or their family to obtain the registration number or
- Refers the client to AANDC to apply for their CIS card.
If the client is still unable to obtain their complete registration number, benefits are issued providing all other Personal and Family Information requirements are met.
- Enters the information that is available into LISA,
- Sets the Cheque Release Flag for the next benefit period to 'N', and
- Records on the comments line of the CRC Processing screen that further benefits are held pending receipt of the CIS card or proof of attempts to obtain the card.
When the CIS card is received, the worker:
- Reviews the registration number entered previously, or
- Enters the new registration number.
Although a client may not know their complete registration number, it is expected they know the name of their band. Benefits are not issued until the worker obtains the band number. The band number must be entered into LISA. The other data fields are left blank until the complete registration number is obtained.
No Certification of Registered Status Under the Indian Act or the CIS Number is not Known
In situations where the client knows their registration number but does not have their CIS card, the worker:
- Enters the complete registration number into LISA,
- Leaves the Cheque Release Flag for the next period of assistance at 'N',
- Indicates on the comments line of the CRC Processing screen that no further benefits are to be issued until the certificate status card or proof of attempts to obtain the registration number,
- Records in Mobius Notes the method used to obtain the registration number.
Other Client File Codes
Registered First Nations people do not receive health benefits. When the Head of Household (HH) or cohabiting partner is a Status First Nations person and is living off-reserve, the worker records the following codes in LISA:
- The Medical Coverage (Med Cov) is ‘N’. The Med Cov is coded individually for each member of the household unit. Household members who are Non-Status First Nations person are coded ‘Y’ to receive health benefits.
- The AHCIP Status data field is coded ‘2’.
- The Med Code ‘7’ only when all members of the household unit are Registered First Nations people. If all members of the household unit are not First Nations use the appropriate Med Code.
- The Ordinarily on Reserve data field is coded ‘N’ or left blank.
Providing IS to First Nations People Living On Reserve
First Nations people living on reserve, non-First Nations people living on reserve and persons ordinarily living on a reserve are not eligible for Income Support (IS) except in emergency situations. In accordance with an agreement with the federal government, these groups receive federal assistance through the bands.
People who are not eligible include:
- People residing in the following communities (associated First Nations Bands in brackets):
- Cadotte Lake (Woodland Cree First Nation)
- Fort Chipewyan (Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation)
- Fort McKay (Fort McKay First Nation)
- Garden River (Little Red River Cree Nation)
- Little Buffalo (Lubicon Lake) and
- Any other Bands that are established under the Indian Act.
- People who are away from a reserve to obtain services in a care facility
- People who are away from a reserve to access a social service not available on the reserve
- People who are away from a reserve to access addictions treatment at an Alberta Health Services (AHS) operated or funded residential treatment facility or a facility approved by the Minister
- People who are away from a reserve to access full-time post-secondary education or a full-time training program.
The IS Emergency Allowance is only issued to Registered First Nations people, non-First Nations people and persons living on a reserve or ordinarily living on a reserve under the following conditions:
- The emergency situation poses a serious health and safety risk for the applicant and
- The circumstances warranting the person applying for provincial emergency IS were unforeseeable.
Registered First Nation People living on-reserve, non-Indians living on reserve and persons ordinarily living on a reserve are not eligible for the IS Residential Addictions Treatment benefit as they are the responsibility of the federal government.