On April 20, 2022, Justice Canada and the Canada School of Public Service held a panel discussion with First Nations, Inuit and Métis experts as well as senior federal government officials. Over 2,000 participants attended the event.
The discussion focused on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the UN Declaration) and the Government of Canada’s obligations to implement the UN Declaration Act in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples.
What we learned
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an international human rights instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples around the world. Think of it as a roadmap to advance reconciliation. It affirms a broad range of collective and individual rights, and sets out the minimum standards to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to contribute to their prosperity, dignity and well-being.
In Canada, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act came into force in June 2021. The Act provides us with a lasting and action-orientated framework for implementation.
Under the Act, the Government of Canada will work in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples, to:
- take all measures necessary to ensure the laws of Canada are consistent with the UN Declaration
- prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the Declaration
- develop annual reports on progress and submit them to Parliament
The Act is an important step in moving Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples forward. It also responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action 43 and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice.
Public servants have a role to play
How does the UN Declaration Act affect us as public servants?
Engagement with Indigenous Peoples on implementing the UN Declaration Act is underway. The engagement process will focus on developing an action plan in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples by June 2023. In the meantime, a great place to start is the Declaration GCpedia page (internal link), which has interim guidance for federal departments.
As we create, develop, and deliver federal programs, initiatives, and policies, we need to keep in mind how they align with the Declaration.
We have a responsibility to ensure that we work with Indigenous Peoples to implement the Declaration based on lasting reconciliation, healing and cooperative relations.
Now, let’s implement the Declaration in our work as public servants. Register now for the rebroadcast: Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Declaration Act (rebroadcast) - CSPS (csps-efpc.gc.ca)
Date and time: July 7, 2022, 1:30 to 3:30 pm (ET)
Registration deadline: July 7, 2022, 10:00 am (ET)
- Reconciliation: A Starting Point
Download the mobile app Reconciliation: A Starting Point to access a wealth of information on Indigenous Peoples in Canada, key historic events, and examples of reconciliation initiatives.