Myths and Misrepresentations Factsheet
The federal government has committed to introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration or Declaration). Our organizations strongly support such a measure, provided that the legislation contains, at minimum:
1. A clear requirement for the federal government to work in collaboration with Indigenous peoples in the implementation of the Declaration.
2. A commitment to collaboratively review federal laws and policies and bring them into line with the minimum global standards set out in the UN Declaration.
3. A commitment to collaboratively develop a national action plan setting priorities and timelines for implementation.
These were the key features of Bill C-262, a private Member’s bill that was passed by the House of Commons in 2018 but then blocked by a filibuster in the Senate. Similar legislation was adopted in British Columbia in 2019.
With these important developments, the Declaration has become the subject of a welcome focus of public discussion and policy debate. Unfortunately, this debate is taking place in the context of widespread confusion and misinformation about the Declaration and what it means to adopt implementation legislation.
The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples is made up of Indigenous Nations, Indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights groups and individual experts that have been deeply involved with the development of the Declaration or the subsequent ongoing work of its interpretation and application both in Canada and internationally. The Coalition has prepared this document to address some of the myths and misrepresentations that have clouded the debate.