UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights Act: Co-Development Continues

Department of Justice Canada

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act marks a historic milestone in Canada’s collective journey of reconciliation – one rooted in the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

The Act requires the Government of Canada to work in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples to co-develop an action plan to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Declaration as well as take measures to ensure that federal laws are consistent with the Declaration, and to report annually on progress. The action plan must be competed by June 2023.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the next phase of consultation and cooperation on the action plan. This point in the process comes after months of listening to a broad range of Indigenous voices on how to implement the UN Declaration Act.

Phase one, which took place from December 2021 to December 2022, focused on working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, governments and representative organizations to better understand their priorities in order to shape the draft action plan and to begin to identify potential measures for aligning federal laws with the Declaration.

Now, this second phase will consist of further consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples to:

  • validate the proposed measures in the draft action plan, modifying them as necessary
  • identify any gaps and address them, wherever possible, through additional measures

To do this work, and to further advance the consultation and cooperation process, two documents are being shared publicly and with Indigenous partners: a What We Learned to Date report and a draft action plan.

The What We Learned to Date report captures many of the perspectives, themes and priorities that Indigenous peoples shared during phase one.

The draft action plan includes measures that reflect many of the priorities and proposals shared by Indigenous partners in phase one, grouped by the thematic areas of rights set out in the Act. This draft action plan is a starting point to further support the co-development of a comprehensive and final action plan, to be made public in June 2023. The draft action plan and the What We Learned to Date report will also help support ongoing dialogue with provinces, territories and industry.

The Government of Canada will be working closely with First Nations, Inuit and Métis governing bodies, representative organizations and rights holders over the coming months to complete the action plan in June 2023. The action plan will be another important stepping-stone along the path of upholding and implementing the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

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