Call to Action # 14

We call upon the federal government to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act that incorporates the following principles:

  1. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
  2. Aboriginal language rights are reinforced by the Treaties.
  3. The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation.
  4. The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
  5. Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.

Why “Stalled”?

The official government website “Delivering on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action” makes no reference to Indigenous language rights being reinforced by treaties (2 above). The Act directly addresses the principles identified above in 1, 3, 4 and 5, although Budget 2019 investments to support implementation of Bill C-91 allocates almost 35% of the funding to after the next election in 2023 ($116M out of $333.7M)

Bill C-91, “An Act respecting Indigenous Languages” received Royal assent on June 21, 2019. The AFN and Métis National Council support the bill but the Inuit Tapariit Kanatami, the national advocacy voice of Canada’s Inuit did not see many of their recommendations incorporated into the Languages Act, thereby leaving Inuktuk, their “national” language with less protection than English or French in their own territory.

April 19, 2021 – Budget 2021 proposes $275M over 5 years and $2M ongoing to support the reclamation, revitalization and strengthening of Indigenous languages as well as $108.8M over two years for the preservation of Indigenous heritage and $108.8M over two years for Indigenous cultural spaces.

Sept. 5, 2019: The Governments of Canada and Nunavut, and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. are collaborating toward an agreement that will support, revitalize and strengthen Inuktut in Nunavut with up to $42M over 3-year period to support this work.

Current Status

July 5, 2022

Stalled

Previous Status

May 14, 2022

Stalled

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Federal Actions to Implement Indigenous Languages Act

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Background Content


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National Research Council of Canada Indigenous Programs

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The Glendon Declaration

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