B.C. 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:
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, including the Government of Canada.
B.C.’s Implementation of the UN Declaration
The provincial government passed legislation in November 2019 to implement the UN Declaration, which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission confirms as the framework for reconciliation.
The B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 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 Province worked with the First Nations Leadership Council (BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs), who have been directed by First Nations chiefs of B.C., to develop the legislation.
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. And it requires regular reporting to the Legislature to monitor progress. 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.