Canadian governments and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Learn how the Government of Canada is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action 43 to 44.

43. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.

What's happening?

The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed nation-to-nation, government-to-government and Inuit-Crown relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

In 2016, the Government of Canada announced its full support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN declaration) without qualification and committed to its full and effective implementation. To implement the UN declaration, a transformative shift in relations with Indigenous peoples is required. Relations must be based on the recognition of Indigenous rights.

Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, the Government of Canada will ensure that federal legislation and policies relevant to Indigenous peoples are based on the recognition and implementation of Indigenous peoples' rights, including the right of self-determination and the inherent right of self-government. For example, it will continue to engage with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to replace the outdated Comprehensive Land Claims and Inherent Right policies and is committed to take the time needed to get this right.

Engagement is setting the stage for co-development with Indigenous partners of a new rights-based policy. The new policy will concretely advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights and will align with the UNdeclaration.

The following measures have been undertaken since 2015:

  • endorsed the UN declaration and committed to its full implementation
  • established the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies Related to Indigenous Peoples whose work is now being built upon by the new Cabinet Committee on Reconciliation
  • adopted and released the Principles Respecting the Government of Canada's Relationship with Indigenous Peoples
  • adopted new strategies to pursue negotiation rather than litigation as the preferred path to resolve disputes, including the release of the Directive on Civil Litigation Involving Indigenous Peoples
  • worked with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to co-develop and advance shared priorities

44. We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

What's happening?

The Government of Canada continues to work in partnership with Indigenous peoples across the country to advance a recognition of rights approach and Indigenous self-determination. For example, there are currently over 80 Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussions through which Canada and Indigenous groups explore new ideas and ways to reach agreements that will recognize the rights of Indigenous groups and advance their vision of self-determination for the benefit of their communities and all Canadians.

On February 14, 2018, the Prime Minister announced that the Government of Canada will fundamentally transform the relationships with Indigenous peoples by basing the relationship on the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights. This includes continued engagement with Indigenous peoples to co-develop a rights-based policy that will replace the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy and the Inherent Right Policy. The new policy will align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and root the commitment to co-development of any section 35, Constitution Act, 1982 policy work going forward.

The over 80 Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussions tables have often been highlighted as a positive example of reconciliation that is accelerating progress towards self-determination and the implementation of inherent and treaty rights.

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