June 22, 2020 – Ottawa – Department of Justice Canada
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and provides us all with a roadmap to advance reconciliation. The Government of Canada is committed to working in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples to implement the Declaration in Canada.
Yesterday, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act received Royal Assent and immediately came into force.
Developed with Indigenous Peoples, this Act creates a legislative framework to implement the Declaration in Canada. It requires the Government of Canada, in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, to develop an action plan to achieve the Declaration’s objectives and take all measures necessary to align federal laws with the Declaration.
The action plan, which must be developed in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples in two years, will include measures to:
- address injustices, combat prejudice and eliminate all forms of violence, racism and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples
- promote mutual respect and understanding, as well as good relations, including through human rights education
- ensure Canada is held accountable on progress through regular reporting and oversight
This legislation will complement and inform other initiatives underway across Canada with Indigenous partners to close socio-economic gaps, advance reconciliation and renew relationships based on the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
The next step is for the Government of Canada to continue its collaboration with Indigenous partners, on a distinctions-based approach, to understand their priorities for the action plan and to identify measures to align federal laws with the Declaration over time. Engagement will be broad and inclusive, and include national and regional Indigenous organizations, Indigenous rights holders, modern treaty and self-governing nations, women’s and youth organizations, 2SLGBTQQIA+ Indigenous persons, urban Indigenous people and other Indigenous groups.
Implementing the Declaration responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 43, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice and supports the Federal Pathway. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act will be a critical tool in our collective efforts to address the legacies of colonialism, violence, systemic racism and discrimination faced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada.