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A national engagement has been launched to seek input on the development of a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework for Indigenous Peoples. This initiative forms an integral part of the Federal Government’s broader commitment to renewing the relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

As detailed by the Prime Minister, the national engagement is being led by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and is continuing through spring, with the intention of introducing the Framework in 2018 and seeing it implemented before October 2019.

The purpose of the Framework will be to support Indigenous peoples’ treaty rights and inherent rights, as recognized in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and also to meet objectives outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Legislative and policy elements of the framework may include:

  • Legislation to formalize the standard of recognition of Indigenous rights as the basis for government relations with Indigenous Peoples;
  • A new policy reflecting the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to replace the current Comprehensive Land Claims Policy and the Inherent Right to Self-Government Policy;
  • Reforming government policies and practices to support the implementation of treaties and self-government agreements;
  • Mechanisms to support the rebuilding of Indigenous nations and governments, and advance Indigenous self-determination;
  • Creating new dispute resolution approaches to address rights related issues, including overlapping territories and treaty implementation; and,
  • Legislation establishing the two new departments that replacing Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada with a mandate to serve the distinct needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Further comments on development of the framework by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Reybould, suggests that an essential element may be the reorganization of First Nations into larger groupings to take on more powers. The Minister has commented on the prospect of such reorganization as being powerful because many bands in Canada are too small for full self-government to be practical.

Outreach related to the engagement has been focused on Indigenous Peoples, but other potential stakeholders are identified, including local governments.

A Public Engagement Guide on the initiative is available.

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