Victoria – Legislation introduced on Thursday, creates a path forward to recognize and uphold the human rights of Indigenous peoples in B.C.
If passed, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act will make British Columbia the first province to bring the internationally recognized standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) into provincial law.
Developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council at the direction of First Nations, this legislation creates a framework for reconciliation in B.C., in keeping with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Over time as laws are modified or built, they will be aligned with the UN Declaration. Additional elements of the bill include:
- a requirement to develop an action plan to meet the objectives of the UN Declaration, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples;
- annual public reporting to monitor progress;
- discretion for new decision-making agreements between the Province and Indigenous governments where decisions directly affect Indigenous peoples and mechanisms exist in applicable legislation – with clear processes, administrative fairness and transparency; and
- recognition for additional forms of Indigenous governments in agreement-making, such as multiple Nations working together as a collective, or hereditary governments – as determined and recognized by the citizens of the Nation.
“Today’s legislation is a crucial step towards true and lasting reconciliation,” said Premier John Horgan. “With this new law, Indigenous peoples will be part of the decisions that affect them, their families and their territories. Together with Indigenous peoples, we’re going to build a better future with good jobs and opportunities for people, strong environmental protections and healthy communities that include everyone.”