The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, today issued the following statement:
“Five years ago, on May 10, 2016, the Government of Canada changed its position to fully support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On this day we endorsed the Declaration without qualification and committed to its full and effective implementation. We acknowledged the enormous effort and struggle from Indigenous leaders, across Canada and the world, to bring the Declaration into fruition and the Government of Canada became an active partner in the collaborative work to advance its implementation. These efforts have resulted in a significant shift in the global will to protect the rights, culture, language, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples worldwide.
“Since 2016, the Government of Canada has been working closely with Indigenous peoples to put the Declaration in action. We have co-developed legislation on First Nations, Inuit and Métis to affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples to exercise jurisdiction in relation to child and family services to their communities. Working with Indigenous partners, we developed the Indigenous Languages Act, which supports the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages.
“We’ve been engaging directly with Indigenous partners at over 150 discussion tables across the country to explore flexible, rights-based agreements that support the renewal of Crown-Indigenous relationships based upon the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. We continue to work with Indigenous institutional partners to remove barriers for First Nations that decide to opt-out of land and fiscal management sections of the Indian Act to self-govern their land and financial resources. We are also supporting initiatives to revitalize Indigenous laws and support access to justice. All of these measures contribute to the implementation of the Declaration in Canada.
“On December 3, 2020, we introduced Bill C-15, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. If passed, this Bill would create a lasting framework to advance federal implementation of the Declaration in collaboration with Indigenous peoples. This would help create a roadmap for the Government of Canada and Indigenous peoples to work together to achieve the promise of the Declaration while respecting Aboriginal and treaty rights recognized and affirmed in the Constitution.
“Working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to effectively implement the Declaration will advance reconciliation for the benefit of all Canadians. We know there is much more to be done and we look forward to continuing this important work in partnership with Indigenous peoples. Working together to advance reconciliation and to implement the Declaration will help us all build a brighter, more inclusive future and a better Canada for current and future generations.”