Aboriginal self-identification question
The Aboriginal Self‑Identification Question (ASIQ) is a standardized question to be utilized at point of contact for legal aid services that allows all clients the opportunity to identify as Aboriginal, including First Nation, Métis or Inuit, regardless of legal status or where they live. This information will need to be recorded for each client on the Duty Counsel Accounts and Services Page.
Aboriginal Self-Identification Question process
Beginning June 1, 2016, all clients (with the exception of refugee claimants), regardless of legal matter, surname, or location are to be asked the following question:
“Do you wish to self‑identify as an Aboriginal person in Canada such as First Nation, Métis or Inuit?”
Any client may self‑identify as being an Aboriginal person, regardless of legal status under the Indian Act. No proof of ancestry or belonging to a band is necessary. Clients must be given an opportunity to provide information related to their Aboriginal cultural identity, but are not obligated to answer.
Why is it important to ask the Aboriginal Self‑Identification Question?
- First Nation, Inuit and Métis people in Ontario have unique legal needs
- Proper identification ensures that these clients receive appropriate legal counsel and benefit from supports and services
- Identifying as an Aboriginal person may enhance legal eligibility for a legal aid certificate in some instances
- Specific sections of the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the Child and Family Services Act provide specific considerations for First Nation, Métis and Inuit under the law
- Legal Counsel needs to be informed of a client’s identity to ensure that appropriate and complete legal representation is provided
- Proper identification allows LAO to better understand client legal needs and increases LAO’s ability to be more responsive to the needs of First Nation, Métis or Inuit clients.
Training for the Aboriginal Self‑Identification Question
An eLearning module and a job aid related to Aboriginal Identity and LAO’s Aboriginal Self̽Identification Question policy and process will be available to all counsel on the LAO LAW website.
To begin the training simply log into the LAO LAW website. You will find the training and job aid in the Video & Training Session Library under “Other Resources.” A series of supporting documents will also be posted during the next few weeks.
LAO encourages all counsel to take this training.