Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). It includes 46 articles covering all facets of human rights of Indigenous peoples such as:

  • culture
  • identity
  • religion
  • language
  • health
  • education
  • community

As described by the United Nations, the UN Declaration is a “universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of Indigenous peoples .” The provincial government is committed to implementing these human rights in its institutions, laws, policies and practices to advance reconciliation and address the legacy and harms of colonialism on Indigenous peoples.

The UN Declaration emphasizes the Indigenous peoples' 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 has been adopted by 148 nations.

B.C.’s Implementation of the UN Declaration

The provincial government passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) into law in November 2019. The Declaration Act establishes the UN Declaration as the Province’s framework for reconciliation, as called for by the TRC’s Calls to Action. This historic legislation was developed in collaboration and consultation with Indigenous partners.

The Declaration Act aims to create a path forward that respects the human rights of Indigenous peoples while introducing better transparency and predictability in the work we do together.

The legislation sets out a process to align B.C.’s laws with the UN Declaration. It mandates government to bring provincial laws into harmony with the UN Declaration. It requires development of an action plan to achieve this alignment over time – providing transparency and accountability. In addition, the legislation allows for flexibility for the Province to enter into agreements with a broader range of Indigenous governments. And it provides a framework for decision-making between Indigenous governments and the Province on matters that impact their citizens.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Declaration Act