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UNDRIP legislation passes into law

Bill C-15 has received Royal Assent.

Legislation to ensure Canada’s laws are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been adopted in the Senate.

Bill C-15 serves as a framework for reconciliation and advances Calls to Action 43 and 44 and of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, explained Senator Patti LaBoucane-Benson, sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

  • Watch Senator LaBoucane-Benson’s third reading speech here.

“Bill C-15 is a framework to promote the self-determination of Indigenous peoples within the Canadian legal and social context. It is about creating the methodical, thoughtful and respectful spaces where Canada can work with Indigenous peoples to harmonize federal laws with the articles of UNDRIP,” said Senator LaBoucane-Benson, a Métis from Treaty 6 territory.

“It’s also about creating an action plan where we can work collectively on the deeply entrenched systemic issues that continue to cause trauma and trauma-based outcomes in Indigenous communities. Bill C-15 calls on the Government of Canada to do all of this in consultation and cooperation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.”

She noted that UNDRIP was adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007, following decades of work by dedicated Indigenous people across Canada and abroad, including Cree lawyer Chief Dr. Wilton Littlechild. She also highlighted that “Canadian courts have been able to use UNDRIP to interpret Canadian law” since it was endorsed by the federal Government in 2010.

Bill C-15 gives UNDRIP greater weight in Canada and holds the federal Government to account, she said.

“Bill C-15 is legislation that binds this and future governments to the process of revising laws to reflect the UNDRIP articles and to develop and implement an action plan. It obliges the Canadian government to work in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, broadly defined, to accomplish these tasks,” she said.

Senator LaBoucane-Benson acknowledged the work of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples on this legislation, and thanked senators, in particular Senator Dan Christmas as for his leadership as committee chair.

UNDRIP legislation passes into law