Open Letter to All Candidates in the Federal Election
13 September 2021
The next federal government will have an historic opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation.
Fourteen years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the “UN Declaration”) as the “minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being” of Indigenous peoples in every region of the world. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called the UN Declaration “the framework for reconciliation” for all sectors of Canadian society.
This summer, Parliament adopted national legislation to bring the UN Declaration to life in Canadian law, policy, and programmes. All candidates elected to the House of Commons in this election will have an important role in ensuring that the vital promise of this legislation is now kept.
The Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (formerly Bill C-15) requires the federal government to work in cooperation with Indigenous peoples to fully implement the UN Declaration. This includes taking “all measures necessary” to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the UN Declaration. The Act also requires the federal government to “prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives” of the UN Declaration.
Critically the new law requires that the action plan be completed within two years and requires annual reporting to Parliament on its progress.