Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation: Background Content

Council of the Federation

The Council of the Federation, established in 2003, enables Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial leaders to work collaboratively and strengthen the Canadian federation by fostering a constructive relationship among provinces and territories and with the federal government.


July 17, 2017


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Indigenous leaders boycott Council of Federation meetings

National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President Natan Obed and President Clément Chartier of the Métis Nation of Canada (MNC) held a press conference today in a show of unity over their concerns regarding the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples in intergovernmental forums, including the Council of the Federation meeting taking place July 18 – 19 in Edmonton, AB. The leaders of the three national Indigenous organizations chose not to attend the meeting because of the regressive moves by some members of the Council of the Federation to minimize and marginalize participation of Indigenous leaders.

“We are not just another special interest group. An effective process for intergovernmental participation must reflect our status under the Constitution and international law as peoples and nations with inherent rights, title and jurisdiction. First Nations will not accept an exclusionary and disrespectful approach.”
Chief Perry Bellegarde, Assembly of First Nations, July 17, 2017

“Provinces and territories must embrace participation of national Indigenous representational organizations in national intergovernmental processes, rather than wishing to limit or exclude us. Excluding Inuit from meaningful intergovernmental discussions runs counter to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Canadian constitution, and practically will result in continued growth of the gap in health and social and economic outcomes between Inuit and other Canadians.”
Natan Obed, National Inuit Leader, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, July 17, 2017

“Unless we start taking a stand, they’re not going to really listen to us. Hopefully this message will be heard loud and clear by them otherwise the Métis Nation will concentrate most of our efforts in dealing with the federal government.”
Clement Chartier, President Métis National Council, July 17, 2017


February 16, 2018


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Native Women’s Association of Canada

Collectively, NWAC represents a multitude of Nations of Indigenous women who are First Nations, Métis, Inuit. These women represent non-status women and girls and rights holders with Treaty rights, inherent rights, Métis rights, human rights and gender-based rights. As a representative of Indigenous women, NWAC will provide the required gender-based perspective.

In order to achieve success in this new Indigenous rights framework, the Government of Canada must include equal gender-based representation. “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People” (UNDRIP) requires particular attention to the rights and special needs of Indigenous Elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities. Canada must recognize that Indigenous women have long recognized NWAC as their representative body at the regional, provincial, territorial, national and international levels.


July 20, 2017


AB, BC, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NL, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

NWAC excluded from Council of the Federation discussions

Native Woman’s Association of Canada requested the Council of Federation to include NWAC in all Nation-to-Nation discussions, the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (National Inquiry) in the scope of improving the socio-economic status of Indigenous women, and the need for a community-based prevention model to drive the child welfare system in all regions.

“The creation of permanent bilateral mechanisms between the Office of the Prime Minister and 3 of the NIOs recognizes racial discrimination as distinct but does not include a gendered lens,” said Joe. “The marginalization of Indigenous women from the national discourse can be remedied on a provincial and territorial level through mindful action such as supporting our Provincial and Territorial Membership Associations (PMTAs); we’ve now offered to facilitate the forging of these alliances.”
Francyne D. Joe, President, Native Woman’s Association of Canada, July 19, 2017