Indigenous Language Act

An Act to protect, maintain, revitalize and strengthen Indigenous languages

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


Sheri Benson  NDP

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


Introduced, as of April 30, 2019
(This bill did not become law.)


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

This enactment provides, among other things, that

(a) the Government of Canada recognizes that the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples include rights related to Indigenous languages;

(b) the Minister of Canadian Heritage may enter into different types of agreements or arrangements in respect of Indigen­ous languages with Indigenous governments or other In­digenous governing bodies or Indigenous organizations, taking into account the unique circumstances and needs of Indigenous groups, communities and peoples; and

(c) federal institutions may cause documents to be translated into an Indigenous language or provide interpretation services to facilitate the use of an Indigenous language.

The enactment also establishes the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages and sets out its composition. The Office’s mandate and powers, duties and functions include

(a) supporting the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages;

(b) promoting public awareness of, among other things, the richness and diversity of Indigenous languages;

(c) undertaking research or studies in respect of the provision of funding for the purposes of supporting Indigenous languages and in respect of the use of Indigenous languages in Canada;

(d) providing services, including mediation or other culturally appropriate services, to facilitate the resolution of disputes; and

(e) submitting to the Minister of Canadian Heritage an annual report on, among other things, the use and vitality of Indigen­ous languages in Canada and the adequacy of funding provided by the Government of Canada for initiatives related to Indigenous languages.


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.

Indigenous Language ActRoutine Proceedings

April 30th, 2019 / 10:45 a.m.
See context


Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-443, An Act to protect, maintain, revitalize and strengthen Indigenous languages.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the co-operation of all parties in this House.

Today, I rise to table an act that would put into law the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action No. 14 to protect, maintain, revitalize and strengthen indigenous languages. The drafting of this bill was inspired by Elger Pikagen, a grade 12 student at Bethlehem Catholic High School, who was this year's winner of Saskatoon West's Create Your Canada contest.

Elger's proposed legislation, among other things, would ensure that the indigenous language commissioner is an indigenous person, make the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples legally binding and, finally, state that the discriminatory government policy of the sixties scoop also led to the erosion of indigenous languages in Canada. I thank all participants for their excellent submissions and congratulate Elger for his winning entry.

Our future is our youth. It is a bright future and it is in good hands, so I proudly table this bill on Elger's behalf.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)