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United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (S.C. 2021, c. 14)

Act current to 2022-06-20

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

S.C. 2021, c. 14

Assented to 2021-06-21

An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Preamble

Whereas the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a framework for reconciliation, healing and peace, as well as harmonious and cooperative relations based on the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith;

Whereas the rights and principles affirmed in the Declaration constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples of the world, and must be implemented in Canada;

Whereas, in the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, Canada and other States reaffirm their solemn commitment to respect, promote and advance the rights of Indigenous peoples of the world and to uphold the principles of the Declaration;

Whereas, in its document entitled Calls to Action, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls upon federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the Declaration as the framework for reconciliation, and the Government of Canada is committed to responding to those Calls to Action;

Whereas, in its document entitled Calls for Justice, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls upon federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous governments to implement the Declaration, and the Government of Canada is committed to responding to those Calls for Justice;

Whereas First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation have, throughout history and to this day, lived in the lands that are now in Canada with their distinct identities, cultures and ways of life;

Whereas Indigenous peoples have suffered historic injustices as a result of, among other things, colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources;

Whereas the implementation of the Declaration must include concrete measures to address injustices, combat prejudice and eliminate all forms of violence, racism and discrimination, including systemic racism and discrimination, against Indigenous peoples and Indigenous elders, youth, children, women, men, persons with disabilities and gender-diverse persons and two-spirit persons;

Whereas all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating the superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences, including the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius, are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust;

Whereas the Government of Canada rejects all forms of colonialism and is committed to advancing relations with Indigenous peoples that are based on good faith and on the principles of justice, democracy, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and respect for human rights;

Whereas the Declaration emphasizes the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples of the world which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories, philosophies and legal systems, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources;

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that all relations with Indigenous peoples must be based on the recognition and implementation of the inherent right to self-determination, including the right of self-government;

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to taking effective measures — including legislative, policy and administrative measures — at the national and international level, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, to achieve the objectives of the Declaration;

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to exploring, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, measures related to monitoring, oversight, recourse or remedy or other accountability measures that will contribute to the achievement of those objectives;

Whereas the implementation of the Declaration can contribute to supporting sustainable development and responding to growing concerns relating to climate change and its impacts on Indigenous peoples;

Whereas the Government of Canada acknowledges that provincial, territorial and municipal governments each have the ability to establish their own approaches to contributing to the implementation of the Declaration by taking various measures that fall within their authority;

Whereas the Government of Canada welcomes opportunities to work cooperatively with those governments, Indigenous peoples and other sectors of society towards achieving the objectives of the Declaration;

Whereas the Declaration is affirmed as a source for the interpretation of Canadian law;

Whereas the protection of Aboriginal and treaty rights — recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 — is an underlying principle and value of the Constitution of Canada, and Canadian courts have stated that such rights are not frozen and are capable of evolution and growth;

Whereas there is an urgent need to respect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, and those treaties, agreements and arrangements can contribute to the implementation of the Declaration;

Whereas respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy are underlying principles of the Constitution of Canada which are interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing and are also recognized in international law;

And whereas measures to implement the Declaration in Canada must take into account the diversity of Indigenous peoples and, in particular, the diversity of the identities, cultures, languages, customs, practices, rights and legal traditions of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis and of their institutions and governance structures, their relationships to the land and Indigenous knowledge;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) The following definitions apply in this Act.

    Declaration

    Declaration means the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations as General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on September 13, 2007 and that is set out in the schedule. (Déclaration)

    Indigenous peoples

    Indigenous peoples has the meaning assigned by the definition aboriginal peoples of Canada in subsection 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982. (peuples autochtones)

    Minister

    Minister, for the purposes of any provision of this Act, means the federal minister designated as the Minister for the purposes of that provision under section 3. (ministre)

  • Marginal note:Rights of Indigenous peoples

    (2) This Act is to be construed as upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and not as abrogating or derogating from them.

  • Marginal note:Clarification

    (3) Nothing in this Act is to be construed as delaying the application of the Declaration in Canadian law.

Designation of Minister

Marginal note:Order designating Minister

 The Governor in Council may, by order, designate any federal minister to be the Minister for the purposes of any provision of this Act.

Purposes of Act

Marginal note:Purposes

 The purposes of this Act are to

  • (a) affirm the Declaration as a universal international human rights instrument with application in Canadian law; and

  • (b) provide a framework for the Government of Canada’s implementation of the Declaration.

Measures for Consistency of Laws and Achieving the Objectives of the Declaration

Marginal note:Consistency

 The Government of Canada must, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration.

Marginal note:Action plan

  •  (1) The Minister must, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples and with other federal ministers, prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the Declaration.

  • Marginal note:Content

    (2) The action plan must include

    • (a) measures to

      • (i) address injustices, combat prejudice and eliminate all forms of violence, racism and discrimination, including systemic racism and discrimination, against Indigenous peoples and Indigenous elders, youth, children, women, men, persons with disabilities and gender-diverse persons and two-spirit persons, and

      • (ii) promote mutual respect and understanding as well as good relations, including through human rights education; and

    • (b) measures related to monitoring, oversight, recourse or remedy or other accountability measures with respect to the implementation of the Declaration.

  • Marginal note:Other elements

    (3) The action plan must also include measures related to monitoring the implementation of the plan and reviewing and amending the plan.

  • Marginal note:Time limit

    (4) The preparation of the action plan must be completed as soon as practicable, but no later than two years after the day on which this section comes into force.

  • Marginal note:Tabling in Parliament

    (5) The Minister must cause the action plan to be tabled in each House of Parliament as soon as practicable after it has been prepared.

  • Marginal note:Action plan made public

    (6) After the action plan is tabled, the Minister must make it public.

Report to Parliament

Marginal note:Annual report

  •  (1) Within 90 days after the end of each fiscal year, the Minister must, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, prepare a report for the previous fiscal year on the measures taken under section 5 and the preparation and implementation of the action plan referred to in section 6.

  • Marginal note:Tabling in Parliament

    (2) The Minister must cause the report to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the report is completed.

  • Marginal note:Referral to committee

    (3) The report stands permanently referred to the committee of each House of Parliament that is designated or established to review matters relating to Indigenous peoples.

  • Marginal note:Report made public

    (4) After the report is tabled, the Minister must make it public.

 
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