Government Commitments

Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation

Bill 18 “Indigenous Identity” and Bill 29 “Interpretation Act Amendments”

November 17, 2021

BC Government – Tabled Bill 18, which adds Indigenous identity as a protected ground against discrimination in the B.C. Human Rights Code. He also tabled Bill 29, which amends the Interpretation Act to make it clear that all provincial laws uphold, and do not diminish, the rights of Indigenous people protected under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. This is known as a universal non-derogation clause.

The amendments to the Interpretation Act, developed in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous representative organizations, also add an interpretive direction that all provincial acts and regulations must be read so as to be consistent with the UN Declaration.

The provincial government’s obligation under the Declaration Act to align laws with the UN Declaration in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous Peoples was at the forefront as Bills 18 and 29 were developed. The purpose of the Interpretation Act is to provide guidance and assistance for the interpretation of laws where their meaning is not clear. The act applies to every piece of legislation unless the legislation notes otherwise.