United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Romeo Saganash  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


In committee (House), as of Feb. 7, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-262.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment requires the Government of Canada to take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Feb. 7, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Impact Assessment ActGovernment Orders

March 2nd, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
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Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the northern and aboriginal affairs committee, we had natural resources officials there. We are currently studying Bill C-262, on the implementation of UNDRIP and how all Canadian law is going to have to live within the framework of UNDRIP. We asked the natural resources officials if they had considered whether Bill C-69 lived within that framework, and they had not. That was their answer.

I am just wondering if free, prior, and informed consent is to be held at all levels, particularly legislative, but also if the member thinks that Bill C-69 meets that threshold of free, prior, and informed consent.

March 1st, 2018 / 5:25 p.m.
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Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I want to get right to it because with my past experience in the committees I sit on and caucuses, I'm very happy about this whole process. Not only with UNDRIP and setting the culture and setting the principles as the PM has done in the past year or so, if not longer, but also with Mr. Saganash with the direction he's taken with his private member's bill C-262. I want to congratulate him for that because it does accelerate the process, as was mentioned earlier.

Having said that, now it's time to accelerate the process, to look at education, which I think is first and foremost. When I say education, I don't mean education of the indigenous community, I mean educating us, government and the general public: understanding, establishing, pursuing, and then of course recognizing the outcomes.

The second part of that is putting strategies, the blueprint, in place. How we're going to operate, move forward nation-to-nation, and with that, establishing that strategy, the objectives, the action plans attached to those objectives and then of course most importantly, executing those action plans. Third, as you mentioned earlier, is the alignment based on that culture.

We have the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Transport, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Justice. Who is going to facilitate the strategy and therefore establish the outcomes, attach the action plans, and then execute them? We know at the upper levels of government—federal, provincial and territorial—that sometimes things go awry because there's no intergovernmental facilitation.

This is the most important part, establishing that success, and of course the ultimate outcomes. Who is going to facilitate it? The next step is the blueprint, the strategy. Who is going to be the steward? Therefore having this become a reality versus just a culture.

That question is to all of you. Good luck.

March 1st, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
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Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

I asked the question, because the government now accepts the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. One of the calls to action is to make sure that indigenous people get the legal opinions that governments ask for when it comes to their rights and interests. That's the reason I asked that.

I want to go a bit to free, prior, and informed consent. I think this is an important discussion with respect to Bill C-262, but also to UNDRIP.

Genevieve, I think you mentioned how you're trying to work together with indigenous people in order to get, as you said, the better outcome for different projects. Engaging with them early is also a principle that you expressed.

Is your department or the other departments aware of the human rights committee? Under the human rights committee, there's an expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous people. It did a study in 2011 or 2012 on exactly that question of free, prior, and informed consent.

Have you taken the time to read the study?

March 1st, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Did you get it for Bill C-262?

March 1st, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

I'm asking all three of them, because this bill has an impact on natural resources, on fisheries and oceans, and on the environment. I imagine that all three departments have asked for a legal opinion on the impacts of Bill C-262.

March 1st, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thanks to the witnesses.

I think a lot of the purposes and objectives of Bill C-262 have a potential of impacting all of your departments, and I'm glad to have you here today.

One of the simple questions I would start with is that I wonder if any of your departments have sought or obtained a legal opinion on Bill C-262 and how it would impact your work.

March 1st, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
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Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Bill C-262 has not passed into law yet. We are on that way. It looks like the government's going to support it, I assume without amendment.

When it does pass, say a year from now, what changes for your department? Are you planning that difference? How is your department going to function differently after this particular bill passes into law?

March 1st, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
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Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Bill C-262 has a focus on ensuring that there's an alignment between UNDRIP and Canadian laws, but comments had been made that we should also be looking at policies and operational practices being a part of that.

The previous panel had said that they already do embed that into their forward-looking policies and operational practices. It sounds like in your presentation you had emphasized that specifically.

Is that really now the basis of everything that you do, that that's how we ensure that a whole-of-government approach is actually taken to ensuring that we're aligning with UNDRIP?

March 1st, 2018 / 5 p.m.
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Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Thank you all so much for being here today. They were great presentations.

The panel members talked a lot about how UNDRIP would serve as an interpretation tool that the courts would use to interpret Canadian law and how the different departments were also using it as a tool to interpret how Canadian laws would be developed moving forward. In looking at that, and now looking at it through the lens of FPIC in the same fashion, it's such a complex issue. You can't interpret it, as has been indicated by the other side, in a black-and-white, simplistic, yes-or-no interpretation. As our colleague who formed this legislation, Bill C-262, had said, the rights of one group do not abrogate the rights of another, so we must take a different approach in looking at FPIC.

I would say that, based on your presentations, it seems like you are taking this type of an approach, and I would like to expand. When you're looking at the development of a project, do you approach it in this similar fashion? If there are disputes that arise, you use dispute resolution mechanisms or finally, ultimately, the courts. Would you care to comment further on that?

March 1st, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
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Genevieve Carr Acting Director General, Indigenous Policy and Coordination, Department of Natural Resources

Good afternoon, and thank you for your attention.

I, like my colleagues, wish to acknowledge that we are meeting today on unceded Algonquin territory.

Thank you for the invitation to speak today to support your study of Bill C-262.

My name is Genevieve Carr. I am the acting director general of indigenous policy and coordination, a new unit in the Department of Natural Resources, which reports directly to the deputy minister and which was formed to support efforts to foster reconciliation with Canada's indigenous peoples.

I wish to acknowledge my colleague, who has joined me today, Mr. Terry Hubbard, who is the director general of the petroleum resources branch in the energy sector of Natural Resources Canada.

My remarks today will focus on some the areas where Natural Resources Canada is working to proactively ensure that our policies, programs and legislation align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

My department is transforming its internal operations and culture, reviewing its policies and practices, and working across government to align with the principles, norms and standards of the United Nations Declaration.

We support Minister Carr—I should note there is no relation, despite our shared last name—in his role as a member of the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies Related to Indigenous Peoples. We work closely with our colleagues across government to support horizontal engagement and policy initiatives, such as the permanent bilateral mechanisms established with national Inuit, first nations, and Métis organizations, federal responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, and the recently launched engagement of a recognition and implementation of rights framework.

We are also advancing corporate change within our organization to increase cultural competencies of all staff within the department, and we are helping to transform the department so that it can become an employer of choice for indigenous Canadians.

Natural Resources Canada is changing how we work and partner with indigenous peoples, placing emphasis on creating lasting relationships that respect and recognize the rights of indigenous peoples. Examples include the department's Generation Energy dialogue on the shift to a low-carbon future, which was heavily shaped by its engagement with and perspective of indigenous peoples from across Canada.

This engagement is ongoing as the vision that grew from Generation Energy moves to being implemented. NRCan is driving inclusion of indigenous leadership in federal, provincial, and territorial fora, such as the Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, as well as international trade delegations to facilitate with jurisdictions that control many of the levers for resource development. The geo-mapping for energy and minerals program is another example that has allocated close to $1 million to northern indigenous organizations to develop tools and capacity to integrate science knowledge into decision-making by northerners, for northerners.

Natural Resources Canada is also taking measures to support self-determination through full and fair opportunities to indigenous peoples to participate in the natural resources economy. Some examples include the establishment of an economic pathways partnership to make it easier for indigenous groups potentially impacted by major pipeline projects to access existing federal programs, and help support job training and business opportunities. The indigenous forestry initiative supports forest-based indigenous economic development across Canada. This year it will provide over $2.5 million to indigenous communities and organizations for capacity and business development. The IFI is exploring options to move toward a shared governance model with indigenous peoples.

The green jobs science and technology internship program is starting to take action to target career-stream jobs for indigenous youth, recognizing the importance of opportunities for indigenous youth employment in the natural resources sector.

The interim approach for major project reviews allowed my department to enhance public and indigenous participation in projects undergoing reviews by the National Energy Board. As part of the interim approach, Minister Carr appointed a three-person panel, one member of which was indigenous, specifically to create opportunities to share views not already heard by government on the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project. Enhanced indigenous engagement through the review process led to an $86-million federal investment to establish and co-develop two indigenous advisory and monitoring committees for National Energy Board-regulated pipelines. These committees are now actively working with the National Energy Board as projects move to construction. They're an important example of how co-development can advance shared goals of safety and protection of environmental and indigenous interests for federally regulated projects.

Lastly, my department is changing laws and policies to entrench a new way of doing business, both for government and for the private sector that has an interest in developing Canada's resources. The active participation of first nations, Inuit, and Métis organizations and communities from across Canada was key to our efforts to modernize the National Energy Board, given concerns around the nature and process of indigenous peoples' participation in the regulation of pipelines under federal jurisdiction.

To note, two of the five members of the NEB modernization expert panel were indigenous. Appointed by Minister Carr, the Minister of Natural Resources, the panel was tasked with conducting a targeted review of the board's structure, role, and mandate. Natural Resources Canada provided a total of $4 million in participant funding to 157 indigenous groups over a two-year period, to provide capacity for those groups to participate in the NEB modernization review.

Our experiences through the interim period, and the lessons learned through the NEB modernization process, were critical to shaping the proposal for a new Canadian energy regulator that was tabled as part of Bill C-69 last month in Parliament. The Canadian energy regulator, CER, will help oversee a strong, safe, and sustainable Canadian energy sector as we transition to a low-carbon economy. The regulator will conduct reviews that are more open, accessible, inclusive, and transparent. This will give communities and indigenous peoples a greater voice in their future.

I have provided a brief overview of some of the work my department is undertaking to align with the United Nations Declaration and have focused my remarks on: internal corporate changes and support to whole-of-government priorities; changes in how we partner externally to build meaningful relationships and create space for full and fair access to economic opportunities; the application of lessons and experiences from the last two years to propose new legislation for energy regulation in Canada.

This government set a new path for its relationship with its indigenous peoples in Canada, and our work is not done. We will continue to work closely with other departments on programs, policies, and initiatives that are aligned with the key principles of the declaration. We will also continue to support self-determination and engagement through programming that develops the capacity of indigenous peoples to participate in the natural resources sector and leverage that wealth creation to support their own priorities. We will continue to work closely with indigenous peoples to advance policies, programs, and regulations, including approaches to consider and protect indigenous knowledge in federally regulated energy project reviews; outline expectations for early engagement, planning, and roles for monitoring and oversight; enter into collaboration agreements on project reviews; and ensure we have appropriate indigenous representation on boards and panels.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

March 1st, 2018 / 4:40 p.m.
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Robert Lamirande Director General, Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

I would also like to acknowledge our presence on the unceded territory of the Algonquin peoples.

I would like to thank the chair, vice-chairs, and committee members for the invitation to speak to you today to support your study of Bill C-262 and for the opportunity to elaborate on the suite of programs, policies, and legislative initiatives under the purview of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard that have made and will continue to make advances toward reconciliation with the indigenous peoples of Canada.

I am Robert Lamirande, the director of indigenous affairs and reconciliation directorate at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. I would like to introduce my colleague, Marc Sanderson, acting director general, national strategies of the Canadian Coast Guard.

My directorate is responsible for providing policy advice on indigenous fishing and other matters toward advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples; negotiating and implementing program, treaty, and other constructive agreements on Fisheries and Oceans management; promoting fisheries related economic opportunities through programming to support indigenous capacity to fish safely and effectively; and building relationships and partnerships with indigenous communities through effective engagements, which we do hand in hand with the national strategies directorate of the Canadian Coast Guard.

We do this work because the sustainable use of the fishery resource, the protection of fish and fish habitat, the conservation and management of our oceans, and the safety of those on the water are a priority for the department—a priority held in common with indigenous communities.

And because Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard have presence in many coastal and rural communities across Canada, we have worked hard with indigenous communities and groups to collaborate and partner on all aspects of our operations. These relationships are comprehensive, complex and dynamic. They are adaptive to the capacity of each indigenous community or group to participate in economic opportunities and in co-management.

We are now on a clearer path to a renewed, nation-to-nation, crown-Inuit, and government-to-government relationship, one that builds on the relationships and partnerships developed over the past decades. These relationships with indigenous communities are the touchpoints through which we will collaborate to articulate what reconciliation means in the context of Minister LeBlanc's portfolio.

This includes those changes to programs, policies, and laws necessary to demonstrate that we are moving to reconciliation with indigenous peoples. This commitment to reconciliation is guided by the principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples. These principles, as you know, are themselves guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.

I want to highlight for you how Fisheries and Oceans Canada has worked in collaboration and in partnership with many indigenous communities. Through the innovative and successful Atlantic and Pacific integrated commercial fisheries initiatives, Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides commercial fisheries access, business management capacity, and training needed to build self-sustaining, indigenous-owned and operated commercial fishing enterprises.

Through the aboriginal fisheries strategy and the aboriginal aquatic resource and oceans management programs, Fisheries and Oceans Canada helps indigenous groups acquire the scientific and technical capacity, means, and training to meaningfully participate in fisheries, oceans, and habitat collaborative management, including employing aboriginal fisheries guardians.

Budget 2017, a year ago, has taken these programs a major step forward, investing over $250 million over five years and $62 million ongoing annually. This includes ongoing funding for the Atlantic and Pacific integrated fisheries initiatives and northern expansion through a new northern integrated commercial fisheries initiative.

As we embark on the renewal of these programs, we are also undertaking a review to see where and how these programs can be strengthened in collaboration with the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute, a technical organization established in May 2017 whose board is made up of experts from national and regional indigenous organizations. The institute is enabling the co-development, co-design, and co-delivery of our indigenous programs.

However, working collaboratively and in partnership with indigenous communities is not focused solely on fisheries.

The Oceans Protection Plan, for example, is enabling indigenous communities and groups to meaningfully participate and partner in Canada's marine safety system, from waterways management to emergency preparedness and response.

We are working with indigenous communities and partners to create a new indigenous chapter of the Coast Guard Auxiliary in British Columbia. And discussions with other indigenous communities are exploring opportunities to establish additional auxiliary units in the Arctic and in British Columbia to bolster responses to emergencies and pollution incidents.

A national strategy on abandoned and wrecked vessels will build an inventory of the problem vessels, and a risk assessment methodology. Indigenous communities will be invited to participate in these assessments and to help prioritize interventions.

Through engagement with indigenous communities in British Columbia, the Canadian Coast Guard has launched an environmental response officer recruitment program. We are also nearing completion of a process to recruit Inuit students for a new rescue boat station in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Ongoing training programs across the country will provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience to enable them to play a greater role in marine safety in their communities in a safe and effective manner.

As you know, reconciliation also means self-determination of indigenous communities often but not exclusively through negotiation and implementation of treaties. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is participating in over 40 active rights reconciliation self-government negotiations with indigenous communities on fisheries and oceans matters.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is also making systemic changes to better enable collaborative partnerships with indigenous peoples, and we have done so through important proposed legislative changes: Bill C-55, An act to amend the Oceans Act ; Bill C-64, An act respecting wrecks, abandoned, dilapidated or hazardous vessels; and Bill C-68, An act to amend the Fisheries Act. Proposed amendments to the Oceans Act will strengthen, among other things, the ability to designate marine protected areas on an interim basis and, as with all marine protected area designations, partnering with indigenous communities is the foundation for the successful protection of these unique aquatic ecosystems.

The proposed Wrecked, abandoned or hazardous vessels act, under the Minister of Transport, with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, would enable, among other things, agreements with a government, council, or other entity authorized to act on behalf of an indigenous group to exercise the powers and perform certain duties or functions of the minister.

The proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act and the programs enabled by these changes include certain amendments specifically aimed at advancing reconciliation, including new tools to enhance opportunities for partnering with indigenous peoples in the conservation and protection of fish, fish habitats, and shorelines; and amended provisions to enable agreements with indigenous governing bodies and any body, including a co-management body, established under a land claims agreement, to further the purpose of the act. Such agreements could enable the declaration of the law of an indigenous governing body, including a bylaw, to be equivalent in effect to a regulation under the Fisheries Act.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard have advanced and will continue to advance reconciliation through concrete changes to programs, operational practices, and legislative frameworks that give voice to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As we move forward we will seize on the relationships and partnerships we have with indigenous communities to articulate renewed nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous peoples within the mandates of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Thank you.

March 1st, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
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Dominique Blanchard Assistant Deputy Minister, Public and Indigenous Affairs and Ministerial Services Branch, Department of the Environment

Thank you.

I'd like to acknowledge that we are here today on the unceded territory of the Algonquin people.

My name is Dominique Blanchard. I am the assistant deputy minister of the public and indigenous affairs and ministerial services branch at Environment and Climate Change Canada. I am joined today by my colleague Brent Parker, who is from the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency.

Thank you to the committee for inviting my department to contribute to this session on the subject of Bill C-262. In my remarks today, I will discuss the actions of Environment and Climate Change Canada in advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples and in working toward fulfilling the government's commitment to adopt and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I will address the work already under way as well as the opportunities we see to further enhance relationships between my department and indigenous peoples and governments.

Indigenous peoples are leaders in conservation. They have long been stewards of the environment and have well established rights related to the use of the land, waters, ice and wildlife. They have knowledge of the environment that spans generations.

The mandate of Environment and Climate Change Canada is to protect the environment and to conserve the country's national heritage. We undertake weather forecasting; wildlife conservation; air and water quality monitoring and protection; water quantity monitoring for informed water management decisions; and, oversee and contribute to measures that mitigate against and adapt to climate change.

Accordingly, it is critically important for Environment and Climate Change Canada to maintain and build strong and positive relationships and partnerships with indigenous peoples, and to collaborate in defining our environmental future. This is a responsibility that extends to each and every part of our department.

We have a history of establishing and supporting partnerships that enable us to reflect the perspectives of indigenous peoples in the delivery of our mandate. We are proud of recent efforts we have made to expand and deepen those relationships at local, regional, national, and international levels. For example, we have established joint distinctions-based senior bilateral tables to support nation-to-nation, Inuit-to-crown, and government-to-government relationships to assist with the implementation of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. We work with indigenous peoples on projects to support the stewardship of natural resources, including through, for example, the co-management of conservation areas, wildlife management boards, and indigenous-led projects supported by the aboriginal fund for species at risk.

At the international level, Canada has been recognized for its leadership in advancing the local communities and indigenous peoples platform under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Indigenous peoples have joined us in representing Canada on the delegations for this and other international fora, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We're also establishing countless partnerships at the local and regional levels. For instance, the Canadian ice service is partnering with Inuit communities to understand sea ice information needs in light of changing ice patterns in the north. We are collaborating with first nations on a project to develop training curricula related to environmental monitoring. We are also supporting indigenous-led efforts to address environmental challenges affecting the Great Lakes.

Finally, we and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, along with other federal partners here at the table, worked closely with indigenous partners in developing the recently tabled Bill C-69, which proposes important requirements concerning the engagement of indigenous peoples in the environmental review process and the use of traditional knowledge to inform decision-making.

Sustaining and enhancing partnerships of this nature, and supporting the broader work being done across government to advance reconciliation, has required Environment and Climate Change Canada to look internally, as well.

In May of last year, our department created a new branch, which I lead. Part of our mandate involves bringing cohesion and organization to the department's indigenous affairs and reconciliation activities, and bringing to ground broader government efforts in these areas within our department.

In this vein, we're developing governance structures to ensure effective cross-departmental collaboration, developing tools to support broader engagement and consultation with indigenous partners, and implementing training and awareness opportunities to develop the intercultural competencies of our employees.

We are also working closely with many of the colleagues you have and will be hearing from today in implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, the principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with indigenous people and, relevant to our discussion today, the United Nations declaration.

In our view, working towards aligning our work with the provisions of the UN declaration presents an opportunity for us to build trust with our indigenous partners; enhance the integrity of our policy-making, research, and analysis; and achieve better environmental outcomes for all Canadians. Several articles in the UN declaration are tied closely to our mandate in that they reflect indigenous people's rights concerning the stewardship of the environment. For example, article 24 speaks to rights related to conservation of medicines, plants, animals, and minerals. Article 31 relates to the maintenance and manifestation of traditional knowledge, including in relation to flora and fauna. Importantly, article 32 confirms the rights of indigenous peoples to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development and use of their lands and resources.

In regard to these articles, Environment and Climate Change Canada is well situated to build upon existing practices and relationships. Through our engagement in the negotiation of treaties and other arrangements, ECCC works with indigenous partners to collaboratively conserve and protect wildlife and other environmental resources. Also, as a science-based department, we are working to ensure that traditional knowledge informs our work, and we are reviewing and refining our approach that freely shared traditional knowledge can better complement contemporary scientific research to inform decision-making. Lastly, we're working to build transparent and comprehensive engagement processes that respect the rights of indigenous peoples in determining how lands and resources are used.

Environment and Climate Change Canada recognizes that there is more to be done. This will involve the continued examination of our contribution to the government's reconciliation agenda, including the implementation of the United Nations Declaration. This will mean further strengthening our engagement with indigenous partners, and assessing new opportunities to align departmental programs, policies, laws and regulations with indigenous rights and interests. And we will need to do more work internally to build greater awareness amongst our employees of indigenous rights and interests, and of our related responsibilities.

In closing, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to highlight some of the efforts under way at Environment and Climate Change Canada to move forward on our commitment to support reconciliation with indigenous peoples, including through the implementation of the UN declaration. As a department, we are steadfastly committed to this important work.

March 1st, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
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Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, panel, for joining us.

I'm just picking up, Stefan, on your assertion that UNDRIP is an interpretative tool with respect to Canadian law. How important is the passage of Bill C-262 for this to be used under Canadian law, right now?

March 1st, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Would that improve or strengthen Bill C-262 if we decide at this committee to make that amendment to include policies and operational practices?

March 1st, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Romeo Saganash NDP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair, and I want to thank the witnesses for coming to testify on Bill C-262. Your presence is highly appreciated.

I want to continue on that very question that my colleague, Cathy McLeod, posed. The question we need to ask ourselves in response to that question is, in what way will Bill C-45 affect aboriginal treaty rights? I see very few ways that Bill C-45 will affect aboriginal treaty rights.

You referred to additional measures that would be required to further the implementation of the UN declaration above and beyond Bill C-262. I certainly agree with that. The Prime Minister, on Valentine's Day, made a speech in the House of Commons to which I responded. One of the things he talked about was that necessity to have a major shift in the political culture of Ottawa towards indigenous peoples and their fundamental rights. Joe referred to a “transformative shift”, and I agree with those terms.

Bill C-262 refers to making sure the laws of Canada are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Prime Minister referred to laws, policies, and operational practices. Article 4 of my bill refers only to laws. Would you suggest we now add or amend that article to include policies and operational practices?