Ottawa – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, today issued the following statement:
“We are very pleased that the Senate has passed Bill C-15, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. We now eagerly await Royal Assent.
“Today represents a critical step in recognizing, promoting, protecting and upholding the human rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. It marks another important move forward in the evolving history of the Crown-Indigenous relationship, one that will help forge stronger relationships and support the path to self-determination for First Nations, Inuit and Métis while taking action to advance reconciliation, together.
“The implementation of the Declaration through Bill C-15 is part of the government’s commitment to addressing injustices, combating prejudice and eliminating all forms of violence, racism and discrimination, including systemic racism and discrimination, against Indigenous Peoples.
“This legislation will require the Government of Canada to examine federal laws, policies, and practices and to take all measures, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples, to ensure consistency with the Declaration. It provides the foundation for transformational change in Canada’s relationships with Indigenous Peoples.
“The legislation will complement other initiatives underway across Canada with Indigenous partners to close socio-economic gaps, advance reconciliation and renew relationships based on the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.
“The work to undo centuries of colonial policies could not be more urgent. The horrific finding of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, as well as other possible graves, are yet another reminder of that truth. The harms experienced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis families and communities are real and ongoing and must be confronted.
“Through Calls to Action 43 and 44, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on all levels of government to implement the Declaration as the framework for reconciliation, and develop an action plan, strategies and other concrete measures to achieve its goals.
“Together, we must continue to walk the path of reconciliation to ensure that the rights, languages, cultures, and identities of all Indigenous Peoples are recognized, honoured, and respected. Bill C-15 provides a framework for the federal government to move forward in partnership with Indigenous Peoples for the benefit of all Canadians.”