Department of Justice: The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today issued the following statement:
“The coming into force of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act marked a historic milestone in Canada’s collective journey to move forward on reconciliation—one rooted in the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
“The UN Declaration Act requires that the Government of Canada, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, prepare an annual report on measures taken to align the laws of Canada with the UN Declaration, and to develop an action plan to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration.
“Today I was honoured to table the inaugural annual report regarding progress made on implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
“Since June 2021, the Government of Canada has worked to put the building blocks in place to enable effective implementation of the Act. Progress to date has included:
- the creation and staffing of a new Secretariat within the Department of Justice to fully support the implementation work happening with Indigenous partners and across all Government departments.
- Early work has concentrated on supporting the participation of Indigenous partners in the UN Declaration Act implementation process, including support for Indigenous-led consultations.
- Focus has also been on working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to identify their initial priorities to help shape the initial draft of an action plan and to begin to identify potential measures for aligning federal laws with the UN Declaration.
- Efforts have also been made to educate, inform and advise federal departments on roles and responsibilities as we make progress together.
“This first report is a review of the action taken since the Act became law. It is about accountability. It is about building trust and advancing work on all fronts to implement the Act. We know there is much more to be done and we look forward to continuing this important work in partnership with Indigenous peoples. Working together to advance reconciliation and to implement the UN Declaration will help us all build a brighter, more inclusive future and a better Canada for current and future generations.”
Early progress June 2021 – March 2022
Informed by what we learned during the development of the UN Declaration Act, the Department of Justice Canada has developed a process of consultation, cooperation and engagement with Indigenous peoples which aims to be broad and inclusive, focussed on First Nations, Inuit and Métis rights holders, including modern treaty signatories and self-governing nations and historic treaty partners, as well as with national and regional Indigenous representative organizations. This process will also include engagement with Indigenous women, youth, Elders, persons with disabilities, 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons, as well as other Indigenous organizations and groups.
As outlined on the Department of Justice Canada’s UN Declaration website, which continues to be updated and enriched in its content, there will be a variety of ways to participate in this process, including opportunities for Indigenous peoples to participate in Indigenous-led consultation sessions and share views and input through virtual consultation and engagement sessions by email, mail-in or online submission tool. In addition, the Government of Canada will be holding multiple virtual sessions to learn more about Indigenous priorities for the action plan and measures to ensure the consistency of federal laws with the UN Declaration.
Early work in implementation has concentrated on how to support Indigenous-led capacity to participate in the co-development of the action plan, including the identification of measures to ensure the consistency of federal laws with the UN Declaration. As part of this collaborative work, approximately $23.6 million in funding was made available to support Indigenous participation in the engagement process, including support for Indigenous-led consultations. A call for proposals was undertaken from December 2021 to April 2022, with a goal to support a broad range of Indigenous rights holders, representative organizations and groups. Funding will help support Indigenous partners in conducting research and analysis and consulting their members and citizens to identify priorities. Two hundred and eight (208) proposals were received, and of these, 147 have been approved. Indigenous-led engagement sessions will take place over the summer and early fall of 2022.
To ensure the voices of diverse Indigenous people are considered in the co-development of the action plan, Indigenous applicants seeking funding to conduct their own consultation processes were asked to implement a GBA Plus assessment to outline how their project proposal would consider intersectional needs of the communities involved. Proposals from several successful applicants included strategies to make sure Indigenous youth, children, Elders, persons with disabilities, women, gender diverse, 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons have the opportunity to participate in dialogue sessions. The following diagram aims to reflect the overall approach: