BC is the first province in Canada to introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, mandating the government to bring its laws and policies into harmony with the principles of the declaration.

The Minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation said the bill “is about ending discrimination and conflict in our province, and instead ensuring more economic justice and fairness.”

The declaration requires governments to obtain “free and informed consent” from Indigenous groups before approving any project affecting their lands or resources, but Fraser said neither the legislation nor the declaration includes wording that grants a veto over resource development projects.

The province also said it does not create any new rights for Indigenous Peoples but rather upholds those established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by Canada in 1948.

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, of which CCEC is a member, says, “The BC government introduced a law to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This legislation makes sure Indigenous people in BC enjoy the same rights and protections as everyone else in the province! B.C. will be the first province to put implement the Declaration into a legislative framework.”

National Chief Perry Bellegarde said in a statement, “Implementing the UN Declaration through legislation is a positive step for peace, progress and prosperity. This will create greater economic stability and prosperity, because it’s clear that ignoring First Nations rights is the cause of instability and uncertainty.”

Click here to learn more about the UN Declaration.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples delineates and defines the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, including their ownership rights to cultural and ceremonial expression, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues.

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