January 11, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Department of Justice Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to fundamentally transforming its relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. To this end, the Government of Canada is changing how it approaches civil litigation involving Indigenous peoples.
Today, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, issued the Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples. The Directive will guide the Government of Canada’s legal approaches, positions and decisions taken in civil litigation involving Aboriginal and treaty rights, and the Crown’s obligation towards Indigenous peoples.
The Directive is part of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada’s work to review the Government of Canada’s litigation strategy. This is to ensure the Government’s legal positions are consistent with its commitments, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian values.
Consistent with the Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples, the Directive emphasizes the importance of resolving conflicts expeditiously and collaboratively, reducing the use of litigation and the courts.
“Moving forward with recognition and reconciliation means we cannot continue to rely on adversarial court proceedings to lead the way. By issuing this Directive, our Government is taking transparent and meaningful action that encourages a shift in legal strategies towards collaborative approaches which respect the important relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The Department of Justice Canada has applied the approach outlined in the Directive for nearly two years.
The Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples demonstrates how the Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples can shape the work of the Attorney General of Canada.
On February 14, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that all relations between the Government of Canada and Indigenous peoples will be based on the recognition and implementation of rights.
The Directive is a step forward in implementing Crown-Indigenous relationships that are based on the recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights and promotes the Government of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation.