FAQ: B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

What is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration).

The UN Declaration includes 46 articles covering all facets of the rights of Indigenous peoples such as culture, identity, religion, language, health, education and community.

The UN Declaration emphasizes the Indigenous rights to live in dignity, to maintain and strengthen Indigenous institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue self- determined development, in keeping with Indigenous needs and aspirations.

The UN Declaration does not create new rights. It upholds the same human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

The UN Declaration has been adopted by 148 countries, including Canada.

How are the UN Declaration and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action linked?

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Calls to Action are specific to Canada and are focused on addressing the historical and ongoing damage caused by the residential school system.

The TRC called on all governments in Canada to fully adopt and implement the UN Declaration as a framework for reconciliation.

Both the UN Declaration and the Calls to Action focus on improving the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples, covering areas such as child welfare, education, language and culture, health, social and economic outcomes and justice.

What has the B.C. government done so far to implement the principles of the UN Declaration?

Our commitment to advance reconciliation together through legislation builds on the other work we are doing across government with Indigenous partners, including:

  • Modernizing the environmental assessment process.
  • Implementing Grand Chief Ed John’s recommendations to help keep Indigenous children out of care, and with their families and communities.
  • Committing $550 million over 10 years to support the construction of 1,750 affordable housing units for on- and off-reserve.
  • Dedicating $50 million toward the work of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and First Nations communities to revitalize Indigenous languages.
  • Implementing a new K-12 curriculum that makes sure all children in B.C. are taught about Indigenous culture and history.
  • Sharing a stable, long-term source of revenue of almost $100 million per year so First Nations can invest in self-government, cultural revitalization and services that make life better for families.

Why did the B.C. government pass legislation to implement the UN Declaration?

Implementing the UN Declaration will help us continue to build a stronger B.C. that includes everyone.

It is about ending discrimination, upholding basic human rights and ensuring more economic justice and fairness.

This new law is an important step towards true and lasting reconciliation — which will uphold Indigenous rights and create stronger communities, good jobs and economic growth.

What will the new legislation accomplish?

B.C is the first provincial government to introduce legislation to implement the UN Declaration – which will form the foundation for the Province’s work towards reconciliation in B.C.

The development of an action plan and regular reporting to monitor progress will provide a transparent and accountable path forward on reconciliation in B.C.

The Constitution is clear: Indigenous peoples have rights in their territories, and successive court cases have upheld these rights.

Instead of uncertainty and lawsuits, we can build a robust and sustainable economy by working together, creating economic and social opportunities for Indigenous peoples, all families in B.C., business and industry.

Implementing the UN Declaration in B.C. is about ending discrimination, upholding basic human rights and ensuring more economic justice and fairness.

Where can I find more information about the B.C. government’s work with Indigenous people?

More information on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act can be found here.

Further information on the ministry’s work with Indigenous peoples can be found in other parts of our website. The website also has specific guidelines for proponents who are planning to engage with First Nations communities.

Further specific information on B.C.’s work with Indigenous peoples can be found on individual ministry and agency websites.