Call to Action # 14: Actions and Commitments

Fed. Govt.

June 21, 2019

Federal Actions to Implement Indigenous Languages Act

“Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act passes

“Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen and maintain Indigenous languages in Canada” is passed in the House of Commons

June 15, 2017

Federal Actions to Implement Indigenous Languages Act

Announcement on co-development of an Indigenous Languages Act

Joint announcement with the Federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, on the co-development of an Indigenous Languages Act – legislation to ‘revitalize, recover, preserve, protect, maintain and promote’ First Nations languages

February 5, 2019

Distinctions-Based Approach

Collaborative approach to developing Indigenous Languages Act

A collaborative approach was adopted with Indigenous Peoples to develop the legislation, which included:

  • 12 fundamental principles, co-developed to inform the basis of the legislation;
  • more than 50 intensive and collaborative engagement sessions held across the country to collect elements of importance to be included in the legislation. These sessions were attended by over 1,200 individuals. Canadian Heritage also received approximately 200 electronic submissions from the online questionnaire.

August 27, 2017

Distinctions-Based Approach

Distinction-Based Language consultation

Minister Joly and the three National Indigenous leaders met and agreed to move forward on a distinction-based process with Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapariit Kanatami (ITK) and Métis National Council (MNC) leading up to the adoption of the Indigenous Languages Act by Parliament next year.

April 19, 2021

Federal Budgets for Language 2016-2021

Federal Budgets 2016-2021

Budget 2016 – 17

  • Language and Culture: $55M per year for 5 years
  • Aboriginal Languages Initiative: $5M for 2016 – 2017

Budget 2017 – 18

  • Aboriginal Languages Initiative: $23M per year for 3 years
  • Library and Archives Canada: $14.9M over 3 years to digitize
  • National Research Council: $6M to preserve oral histories

Budget 2019 – 20

Support Implementation of Bill C-91: $333.7 over 5 years

Federal Budget 2019 to support implementation of Bill C-91


Budget to support implementation is heavily back-ended to after the next election

Budget 2021

Budget 2021 proposes investments in three areas:

  • $275 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $2 million ongoing to Canadian Heritage, to support the efforts of Indigenous peoples in the reclamation, revitalization, and strengthening of Indigenous languages as a foundation for culture, identity, and belonging. This funding will support various initiatives such as languages and culture camps, mentor-apprentice programs and the development of Indigenous languages resources and documentation
  • $14.9 million over four years, beginning in 2021-22, to support the preservation of Indigenous heritage through Library and Archives Canada. This will ensure that Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and all people in Canada have meaningful access to their cultures and languages.
  • $108.8 million over two years, beginning in 2021-22, to reestablish and revitalize Indigenous cultural spaces. Having a dedicated, permanent space to share culture is a key component of building strong Indigenous identities. Establishing cultural spaces that are inclusive of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people will help ensure they have a seat at the decision-making table. This proposal responds to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which calls for all Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people to be provided with safe, no barrier, permanent, and meaningful access to their cultures and language.

July 18, 2022

Government of Canada invests $17.7M over 3 years through Canada–Northwest Territories Agreement on Indigenous Languages

Today, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, announced the Government of Canada’s investment of $17,700,000 over three years (2021–22 to 2023–24) through the Canada–Northwest Territories Agreement on Indigenous Languages.

The Government of Canada and the Northwest Territories recognize the importance of Canada’s sustained support for the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages. The Canada–Northwest Territories Agreement on Indigenous Languages is an important agreement that maintains a collaborative framework between Canada and the Northwest Territories to support the revitalization of Indigenous languages in the Northwest Territories.

The funds will allow for an increase in the number of Indigenous-language resources available in the Northwest Territories. Courses in Indigenous languages will increase, as will the number of participants enrolled in learning these languages.

Indigenous languages are at the heart of First Nations, Inuit and Métis culture, identity and self-determination. They are used to share history through storytelling, to connect with the natural environment and to create familial bonds. With the help of initiatives like these, Indigenous people are reclaiming their languages and cultural knowledge, and continuing to use them as an authentic and powerful tool to share their own stories, in their own words.


“Language describes who we are, our identity, our feelings, culture, and histories. The investment announced today will help maintain the vitality of Indigenous languages in Northern regions including here in Yellowknife. Language not only reflects our identity as individuals and communities, but also holds our shared history and cultural heritage, and reveals our dreams for the future. For these reasons, the revitalization of Indigenous languages in the North, and throughout Canada, is and will remain a priority for me and for our government.”

—Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“The Government of the Northwest Territories acknowledges that language and culture contribute to a strong sense of identity, place, and pride for Northerners. Through our commitment to language revitalization, we will realize our shared vision of a territory where Indigenous languages and cultures are thriving in all NWT communities. This funding will support the development of a new generation of speakers through the availability of language services and instruction throughout the territory.”

—The Honourable R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Minister of Justice and Government House Leader for the Northwest Territories

“Coming from the Northwest Territories, I know how much of a difference this funding will make to Indigenous communities. Having access to resources to help revitalize and strengthen Indigenous languages is essential to supporting participants in learning Indigenous languages and maintaining their proficiency in them. I am pleased to see that this funding will benefit communities across the Northwest Territories, which will make a concrete difference to our region.”

—Michael V. McLeod, Member of Parliament (Northwest Territories)

Quick facts

  • With Budget 2019, and Budget 2021 Canada has provided historic investments of $608.7 million and $117.7 million in ongoing funding to support the community‑based efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages.
  • The Indigenous Languages Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. Canadian Heritage is working with Indigenous partners and organizations to implement the Act and develop a new approach to investing in Indigenous languages.
  • The Northwest Territories has nine official Indigenous languages: Chipewyan (Dëne Sųłıné), Cree (nēhiyawēwin), Gwich’in (Dinjii Zhu’ Ginjik), Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey (Dene Kedǝ), South Slavey (Dene Zhatıé) and Tłı̨chǫ.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

Press Secretary
Government of the Northwest Territories

March 26, 2018

Initiative to speak Indigenous languages in House of Commons

Toronto Star – Romeo Saganash, a New Democrat who represents a northern Quebec riding, addressed the Commons Procedure and Affairs Committee last week in his native Cree, and urged the House to make it possible for him and others to speak Indigenous languages and have them translated into English and French.
This would be an important recognition of the historical role of Indigenous peoples in Canada and a gesture of respect for their culture and heritage and would allow First Nations MPs to speak out in their own voices and be fully understood.

July 6, 2018

Inuktut as official language in Inuit Nunangat

Federal legislation should recognize Inuktut as official language in Inuit Nunangat: Inuit Tapariit Kanatami. As Indigenous leadership move into their final consultations over the summer, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is pushing for Ottawa to ensure Inuktut is treated as culturally and politically distinct. The main points the working group has asked to see in the federal legislation:

  1. recognition of Inuktut as an official language within Inuit Nunangat
  2. the right for Inuktut speakers to access federal services in their own language
  3. streamlined access and eliminated gaps to language funding for different Inuit regions, particularly to give Nunavik and Nunatsiavut better access to those funds

One of the goals is to see Inuktut funded in the North at the same level as Canada’s other official languages, English and French.

June 1, 2018

Distinctions-Based Approach, Federal Actions to Implement Indigenous Languages Act

Launch of community-based engagement sessions

Launch of the intensive community-based engagement sessions that will be held across Canada this summer to support the co-development of First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages legislation.

November 22, 2021

New Official Language Commissioner

New Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor – says protecting Indigenous languages to make sure they are taught to future generations is a priority for the Liberal government, alongside promoting French throughout Canada. She said although Indigenous languages are not recognized as “official” like English and French, she will work with other ministers to make sure they receive support and resources so they “don’t become extinct.” Petitpas Taylor said she supports Indigenous MPs who want to speak in the House of Commons in their mother tongues. Her remarks follow the decision of Nunavut MP Lori Idlout to take her parliamentary oath in Inuktitut.

September 28, 2020

Federal Actions to Implement Indigenous Languages Act

Steps to advance implementation of Indigenous Languages Act

Announcement of essential steps to advance the implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act. The government is working with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapariit Kanatami (ITK) and the Métis National Council (MNC) on the development of the consultations. Key steps include:

  • host close to 40 virtual consultations with Indigenous Peoples across Canada
  • An online questionnaire is also available to ensure the minister hears from all interested parties, including Indigenous elders, youth, persons with disabilities, women, men, two-spirit, and LGBTQ persons.
  • a selection committee from AFN, ITK and MNC will be created to support the appointment process for the positions of Commissioner and Directors of Indigenous Languages.
  • host a virtual Indigenous Languages Symposium in early 2021, which will bring together a wide range of national and international experts to share their knowledge and best practices on the revitalization of Indigenous languages. 

November 29, 2018

The Use of Indigenous Languages in House of Commons and Committees

Official release of the 66th Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, entitled “The Use of Indigenous Languages in Proceedings of the House of Commons and Committees.” The report recommends that the use of Indigenous languages be recognized in the House of Commons and specifies a process for facilitating such interventions.