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

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Romeo Saganash  NDP

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


Third reading (Senate), as of June 11, 2019
(This bill did not become law.)


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.


May 30, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption 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
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

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

February 26th, 2020 / 6:50 p.m.
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Scarborough—Rouge Park Ontario


Gary Anandasangaree LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by acknowledging that we are all gathered here on the unceded territory of the Algonquin.

This is a trying time for all Canadians, indigenous and non-indigenous alike. We all want a peaceful and rapid resolution that brings down the blockades and advances dialogue with the Wet'suwet'en.

Our government has been working around the clock to resolve this issue in a peaceful and lasting way. That is why the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations has been in regular communication with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs throughout the past week. It is time to move forward together to get our economy moving and to continue advancing reconciliation with indigenous people.

The government's commitment from 2015 has not changed. There remains no more important relationship to the government, and to Canada, than the one with indigenous peoples. Our resolve to pursue the reconciliation agenda with indigenous peoples is as strong as ever. Canada is ready for this. Canadians want this.

We have significantly stepped up rights-based discussions with indigenous peoples. Today, active discussions are under way with partners from every province and territory: more than 150 processes, more than 500 indigenous communities and almost 900 indigenous peoples.

This government has also moved to strengthen relationships with national indigenous organizations to ensure they have the stable, predictable and reasonable funding needed to carry out their work.

To ensure key issues are regularly discussed at the highest levels, the Government of Canada established permanent bilateral mechanisms with first nations, Inuit and Métis leaders to identify each community's priorities.

We continue to make progress on implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has said the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples charts a path for reconciliation to flourish in the 21st century in Canada. We are committed to working collaboratively with indigenous partners to develop legislation to deliver on our commitment to introduce legislation on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the end of 2020.

We were disappointed when the Conservative leader blocked Bill C-262 in the other House during the last Parliament and we will ensure that our government legislation fully respects the intent of the declaration and establishes Bill C-262 as the floor and not the ceiling.

There are many hopeful signs, but there is also much work that remains to be done.

Opposition Motion—Coastal GasLink ProjectBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 20th, 2020 / 4:20 p.m.
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Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, I know the member has a background in indigenous and environmental law and I agree with much of what he said.

I want to pick up on his point about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We passed Bill C-262 two years ago. The government had an opportunity to act on and implement that bill and others since then, but it did not.

I wonder if the member can comment on how it might have changed the situation we are in now if the government were actually living up to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Relations with Indigenous PeoplesEmergency Debate

February 18th, 2020 / 9:15 p.m.
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Carolyn Bennett Liberal Toronto—St. Paul's, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the member and her former colleague, Romeo Saganash, for the very important work that he provided in terms of our providing his Bill C-262 as a baseline as we go forward, as a floor, to be able to legislate the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples here in Canada, as an example for the world.

This is an important time where all of these things come together. It is important that Delgamuukw ascertained the rights of the people whom we have to move on in their search to have clarity on title. Those are conversations that we need to have together.

The member knows, as we have explained in this House many times, the Government of Canada cannot direct the RCMP. Our job is that we can explain, as we are in this House tonight and as your members have done, that the presence of the RCMP has been articulated as a problem for the hereditary chiefs and many of the members of that community. We have articulated that, and we want to work in any way to remove the obstacles, to be able to go forward as a country.

Resumption of debate on Address in ReplySpeech From The Throne

January 27th, 2020 / 12:15 p.m.
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Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very pertinent question.

In the previous Parliament, the NDP introduced Bill C-262, which was passed by this House, to ensure that all federal laws are aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This federal NDP initiative is therefore completely consistent with that objective.

The leader of the NDP has often said that the future of economic development does not lie in hydraulic fracturing. We believe that each project should be assessed individually to see whether it fits in with a real plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In this specific case, the B.C. government found that it was feasible.

All the reports from Environment and Climate Change Canada have confirmed that the federal government is going to miss the 2030 targets set by the Conservative government. In this context, it would be impossible to consider new projects at the federal level, since we cannot even meet the Conservatives' targets.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2019-20Business of Supply

December 9th, 2019 / 10:05 p.m.
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Toronto—St. Paul's Ontario


Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Madam Chair, I thank the member for talking about the calls to action that all Canadians feel we have to be part of. We are pleased to report that 80% of the calls for action that the federal government has responsibility for have either been completed or are well on their way. We have the other road map in the calls for justice from the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls commission, but our commitment to put the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into legislation is very important.

As the member has identified, the very important bill that former member of Parliament Romeo Saganash tabled was debated and eventually passed in the House. Unfortunately, it did not make it through the other place. However, we will work to co-develop legislation with first nations, Inuit and Métis to go forward with a piece of legislation for which Bill C-262 would be the minimum. With first nations, Inuit and Métis partners, we will build it as a true piece of legislation that will really explain what the rights of indigenous people are.

At this time, we congratulate the Province of British Columbia for its Bill 41, which actually sets that tone and legislative framework at a provincial level, and now we get to live up to that at the federal level.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2019-20Business of Supply

December 9th, 2019 / 10:05 p.m.
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Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Chair, I was quite pleased that the minister responsible for indigenous affairs was able to be with us this evening, because it is one of the most important files. We see the importance of indigenous people in throne speeches and in every budget we propose. The Prime Minister says it quite well when he talks about the relationship between indigenous people and the national government.

In the last 30 or 40 years and beyond, we have been moving in the direction of doing some wonderful things by working with indigenous leaders. One of the issues that has come to the table in the last number of years is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and its 94 calls for action. I do not know if the minister is aware of it, but I know there were a number of direct responses to those calls for action. When we talk about those 94 calls for action, we are not saying that every one of them is of a federal or national nature, but a number of them are. The minister and I talked about this a little earlier. Language was part of it, and foster care and the issue of citizenship and the taking of the oath. In many ways, the government has made the Truth and Reconciliation report a very high priority when talking about establishing a sense of respect and having the dialogue necessary for us to move forward on a such a critically important issue.

The minister spent a great deal of time on Bill C-262, dealing with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Could she provide her thoughts on the progress made, generally speaking, on the bigger picture? We see it in the throne speech and in budgets. I would ask her to provide some of her thoughts on those issues, and to reflect in particular on the private member's bill, Bill C-262, that passed the House.

June 18th, 2019 / 12:35 p.m.
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Assembly of First Nations

National Chief Perry Bellegarde

One of the things that we're looking for is to go beyond the duty to consult and accommodate. Working towards free, prior and informed consent creates economic certainty.

There's been such a dialogue, discussion and debate in this country regarding the UN declaration, and I spin it around and say that it creates economic certainty. It creates economic certainty in every province and territory once it's passed. Governments and industry will know what the rules and terms of reference are. That's what it is. You have to know what the rules are.

As indigenous peoples, we're not stakeholders. We're indigenous peoples with rights and title, and that has to be respected. That's what this speaks to. When we talk about a human rights impact assessment, it's having impacts on all that because when we started talking about CUSMA.... There are four chapters, labour, environment, gender and indigenous people, and people are asking what that has to do with business. Well, it has a lot to do with business when you want to create the right environment for investments and economic certainty, so it's very important.

Those are some quick comments within my time—I know the chair's giving me the eye. We have to get that passed in terms of economic certainty—Bill C-262. It does create that economic certainty, and that's what we all have to push for.

June 18th, 2019 / 12:35 p.m.
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Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Thank you so much.

My questions are for Chief Bellegarde.

I take your point that this was the most inclusive deal to date, but certainly we'd like to see a true, nation-to-nation.... We would like to see indigenous peoples at the table as full partners in the negotiations.

Well, first of all, I want to say thank you for your push on those important pieces of legislation, including Bill C-262, Romeo Saganash's bill. It's very important that this bill pass.

When you were here previously on the TPP in June 2016, you brought the issue of a development of a human rights impact assessment for all trade agreements. You talked about the recommendation from Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur, to use the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a basis for assessing the impact of all trade agreements. I wonder if you can speak to whether that was a consideration in this agreement, or if there was any movement made in this agreement towards that important step.

Also, I look at your document here, and the first item of article 19 states that indigenous peoples must have free, informed and prior consent. I'm wondering if that's been obtained around this agreement. If not, were there conversations towards how that would be implemented in further trade agreements?

June 18th, 2019 / 11:25 a.m.
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National Chief Perry Bellegarde Assembly of First Nations

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

[Witness spoke in Cree]


To all the distinguished members of the committee, I'm very happy to be here acknowledging you all as friends and relatives. I also acknowledge the Algonquin peoples for hosting this on their ancestral lands. For me, from our AFN, I'm happy to be here.

I want to share some perspectives. I'm very honoured to speak here on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations regarding Bill C-100. I'll also say a few words about the process to negotiate, ratify and implement the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.

Trade in resources and goods in this land, I always say, began with us, the indigenous peoples. The participation now in 2019 in international trade should not be seen merely as part of history. Going forward, how do we get more involved?

As self-determining peoples, we have interests and rights respecting today's international trade agreements. We've always said that for far too long we have not seen the benefits from international trade flow to our businesses or to our communities as first nations people. These facts should form a part of legal and political frameworks when Canada explores new free trade agreements. I've always said, from a first nations perspective in Canada, that whenever Canada goes out to negotiate or discuss anything from softwood lumber to trees, anything from potash in southern Saskatchewan, to uranium in the north or any oil, coal, or whatever natural resource it is, indigenous peoples should be involved and should be participating, because there's respect or reference that we still have unextinguished aboriginal title and rights to the land and territory and resources. It's a simple fact. So we need to be involved.

When Canada, through Minister Chrystia Freeland, welcomed me to be on the NAFTA advisory committee, it was very important, because to date, indigenous peoples haven't been involved. We also had indigenous officials working as part of the working group. In the end, we'll say that this work resulted in the most inclusive international trade agreement for indigenous peoples to date. It's not perfect, but to date it's the best that we have in Canada.

With the ratification of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, we would take a step to making international trade more aware of and more equitable in its treatment of indigenous peoples, and especially for indigenous women entrepreneurs. We still have more work to do.

We believe the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement is a step in the right direction with the new general exception for indigenous rights with respect to inherent and aboriginal and treaty rights. As well, with specific preferences to carve out procurement benefits and other opportunities for indigenous businesses and service providers, there's also a promise of future co-operation to enhance indigenous businesses. As well, importantly, the investor-state dispute settlement process, which was a threat to indigenous people's rights, will be phased out for Canada. This is the groundwork for positive change.

While the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement is a new example of the difference it makes to engage with indigenous peoples at an early stage, there must be increased opportunities for first nations participation not only in international trade negotiations but also in trade missions.

Canada should extend an official role to first nations in negotiations of all international agreements on trade and investments that impact inherent treaty aboriginal rights. This would better reflect the nation-to-nation relationship and the whole-of-government commitment by Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, the inclusion of first nations leads to better decisions and better outcomes.

With regard to Bill C-100, what I'm recommending to all the committee members here is that there should be in place a non-derogation clause. It's a safe clause, that nothing in this agreement will affect existing aboriginal treaty rights, which are affirmed in section 35 of Canada's Constitution. I'm making that recommendation as well as that it be interpreted and implemented consistent with those rights in section 35. It's good to have it ratified by Canada, the United States and Mexico on one hand, but each nation-state will come back and do some sort of legislation with the implementation. That's the piece we're looking at making the recommendation on. I'm not advising that we open up the agreement; no, leave it the way it is, but move in tandem with the other two countries to get it ratified. We have to be careful to be not too fast and not too slow, because if one of the three countries doesn't get it ratified, the deal is not going to be implemented.

It's not just that international trade and investment agreements can impact our rights, but also how the agreement is implemented through domestic regulatory and policy matters. That has to be looked at. Once the agreement is ratified, we must work together to realize the economic gains and ensure the provisions related to indigenous peoples in international trade agreements are implemented in a manner that brings greater economic equity to first nations peoples.

The first area where indigenous peoples can see the benefits from this agreement is government procurement. Procurement is always a big thing. Everybody says this should be easy, that it's low-hanging fruit. Canada must move from policies and objectives to mandatory requirements for procuring goods and services from first nations businesses. The Assembly of First Nations is ready to work with Canada to make sure we develop legislation together for social procurement that benefits first nations and other indigenous peoples.

The only other thing I'd like to share here before concluding is there are three or four very important bills we want to see passed before this week is up. Bill C-91 on languages, Bill C-92 on child welfare, and two private members' bills, Bill C-262 and Bill C-337, all need to be passed. If in the event the legislature is called back, those should form the priority. But we're hoping and praying that all MPs, all the leadership here on Parliament Hill, will get behind and pass those pieces of legislation as soon as possible.

That's it, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the time.

The SenateOral Questions

June 13th, 2019 / 2:25 p.m.
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Toronto—St. Paul's Ontario


Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Mr. Speaker, the government is moving forward on key legislative initiatives to implement the UN declaration, including the legislation on languages and child and family services.

We also supported Bill C-262 as an important next step.

We too are deeply disappointed to see that the Conservative leader continues to allow his caucus members in the other place to use partisan delay tactics to prevent this important bill from moving forward, blatantly ignoring the unanimous motion passed by the House.

Reconciliation with indigenous peoples should not be subject—

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 1:35 p.m.
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Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, the member spoke about her former colleague and his representation on this issue back in 2015. I remember he was very strong on this issue and advocating for it.

With regard to Bill C-262, like many others in this House, I want to see the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples implemented in Canada. We have supported it. We strongly believe in it. We believe in the fundamental principles of UNDRIP. We believe that it is important in guiding future governments in Canada in how we deal with indigenous people. I, too, would support the member in encouraging the Senate to move forward with its amendments and bring it back to the House of Commons.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 1:35 p.m.
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Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member. I am a great admirer. She clearly stands up for the rights of the people of Labrador, and definitely the indigenous people of Labrador.

I, too, am deeply concerned that it has taken the government so long to bring forward this bill. It was a reprehensible move by the Conservatives in the last Parliament. Indeed, all parties were forced for vote for it, because the Conservatives tied it to the devolution vote. It was reprehensible. My former colleague Dennis Bevington, then the member for Northwest Territories, spoke strongly against this move. It was clearly unconstitutional.

I had the privilege of being the assistant deputy minister for renewable resources in the Yukon, and I played a part in the negotiation of first nations final agreements and self-governance agreements. I was well aware of what was being done to the Tlicho, the Gwich'in and the Dehcho, who finally had final agreements.

If the hon. member and her party are so dedicated to respecting the rights of indigenous people, will she speak up, speak to the senators and tell them to finally bring forward Bill C-262 and finally put in place, as Liberals had promised, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will they finally—

Bill C-68—Time Allocation MotionFisheries ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2019 / 10:50 a.m.
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Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the Senate there are a number of bills that are so important, just like this exact bill here, Bill C-68. There are also Bill C-88, Bill C-91, Bill C-92, Bill C-93, Bill C-391, Bill C-374, Bill C-369 and Bill CC-262. All these bills are being delayed by the Senate because they are taking far too long.

I was wondering if the hon. minister could tell us why the Conservative senators are delaying all these bills, delaying us from doing the job that Canadians have sent us here to do. They gave us a mandate in 2015, after a decade of darkness with the Conservatives, to repair the damage they had done to the environment and to indigenous communities and to make sure we get this job done.

Can the hon. minister talk a little bit about that, please?

Resuming debateExtension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

May 28th, 2019 / 4:50 p.m.
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Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I also find it a bit rich when we hear the Liberals talking about the opposition delaying bills. I will provide a concrete example.

When the House was debating Bill C-69, our colleague from Edmonton Strathcona, who worked so diligently at committee on that bill, proposed many amendments seeking to bring that environmental review legislation in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These amendments were moved at committee only days after the Liberals had voted in favour of Bill C-262.

It is wrong for us to be accused of holding up the legislation. We were doing the hard work of listening to witnesses at committee and bringing forward amendments to make the bill more in line with indigenous rights, for which the government had already signalled its support.

For my friend from New Westminster—Burnaby, that is just another example of where we have tried our best. We listened to those witnesses at committee. Time and again we tried to insert those amendments that were directly attributable to concrete evidence heard at committee only to see it fail both at the committee stage and when the bill was reported to the House.

Could my colleague comment a bit further on our efforts through this 42nd Parliament to improve those bills that have been backed up by solid witness testimony every step of the way?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police ActGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2019 / 12:45 p.m.
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Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is exactly right. The government has left this bill sitting there, even though it was one of the top priorities of communities, which called on the government to act. In fact, the minister promised that there would be action. Lo and behold, there are five weeks before this place adjourns before an election, and the government finally brings this bill forward.

The Senate is notorious. The unaccountable, unelected Senate has done its level best to block bills that have been passed in this House. One example is my colleague's bill, Bill C-262, regarding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We advanced that bill. It went through this House and on to the Senate, and it was just yesterday that it was finally referred to committee. We do not even know whether it will come back from committee in time for it to receive royal assent. It is absolutely atrocious.

When the government does not plan its legislative agenda carefully and thoughtfully, this is what can happen. It is absolutely outrageous. We should not stand for it.