young girl smiling down at camera standing in the forest

It’s about a brighter future.

Indigenous Human Rights Set in B.C. Law

New legislation will put B.C. laws in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is a historic moment for everyone in B.C.

B.C.’s new law recognizes and respects the human rights of Indigenous peoples and will help to build a stronger B.C.

It makes sure Indigenous peoples are a part of the decisions that affect them, their families and their territories. It provides a way forward on reconciliation with a plan that will work for everyone in B.C.

Indigenous peoples and the B.C. government are building a better future, together. That means good jobs and opportunities that benefit all, while protecting the land, air and water.

Working together, we’re making real progress.

First Nations Summit, Assembly of First Nations and Union of British Columbian Indian Chiefs logos

What people are saying

Testimonial 1 – Cheryl Casimer

"The provincial government has a long history of denying the very existence and rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are pleased that this changes today, and the Province of British Columbia is working with us in turning the page in our collective history and embarking on a new era."

– Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit

Testimonial 2 – Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

"This landmark bill is not only aspirational but includes tangible and practical tools for implementation. We hold up our hands to our ancestors and past leaders for paving the way for this critical work, and we look to our grandchildren, who will enjoy a more certain future."

– Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Testimonial 3 – Regional Chief Terry Teegee

“Businesses and investors will benefit from this as it creates certainty and predictability for projects in this province – British Columbians will benefit from job creation, and First Nations will benefit by having a seat at the table. Mussi Cho to all British Columbians.”

– Regional Chief Terry Teegee

Testimonial 4 – Khelsilem, Squamish Nation

“Our leaders fought for us, for future generations. Today is really an opportunity for us to be proud of something they started, and we are carrying on.”

– Khelsilem, Squamish Nation

Testimonial 5 – Jill Tipping

“The new legislation brings clarity, certainty, a framework, and a process that is going to enable all of us to move forward. With projects. With investment. And move forward with business in a way that shares prosperity fairly with everyone.”

– Jill Tipping, BC Tech Association

Testimonial 6 – Judy Wilson

“This legislation means that we can look squarely at each other and say this is how we’re going to work together.”

– Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Reconciliation talks

Moving forward towards true and lasting reconciliation

The new law will:

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Moving Forward 1

Recognize and respect rights of Indigenous peoples in all areas of life – human rights, environment, language, education and more.

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Moving Forward 2

Create more opportunities for Indigenous peoples to be full partners in the economy.

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Moving Forward 3

Move B.C. into a new era of rights recognition, moving away from conflict and court battles.

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Moving Forward 4

Develop a clear, predictable path for everyone to work together as partners.

A New Path Forward

Every person and every community plays an important role in building a better future in B.C.

Reconciliation in Action

Working together creates better outcomes for all of us. It means creating good jobs and opportunities, while protecting the environment. Learn more about how Indigenous peoples, industry and government are working together to create a brighter future.

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Protecting the Sacred Headwaters of the Klappan Valley

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What is the UN Declaration?

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an international set of standards to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples. It outlines rights in all areas of life – like human rights, education, and health. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for the UN Declaration to be used as a framework for moving toward true and lasting reconciliation.

Why is British Columbia implementing the UN Declaration?

Implementing the UN Declaration will help Indigenous peoples, industry, communities and government work together. Together, we can build a stronger B.C., where no one gets left behind.

Over time, the new law will help:

  • Increase the number of Indigenous students who graduate from high school and go on to post-secondary education.
  • Raise the standard of living, so Indigenous families don’t have to live in poverty.
  • Recognize Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights, interests and voices.
  • End the epidemic of Indigenous children in government care.

The B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act will help create stronger and healthier communities, good jobs and economic growth.

Is British Columbia the first province to pass a law on the UN declaration?

Yes, B.C. will be the first province to put the UN Declaration into action and recognize Indigenous peoples’ human rights in B.C. law. These inherent rights are protected in Canada’s constitution (section 35) and recognized in court decision after court decision. Other places in Canada have tabled similar legislation, but they have not yet been passed.

Which laws will be changed first?

Indigenous peoples and the Province are working in partnership to design a plan to move forward. Together, we will consult with Indigenous communities on which B.C. laws to change first to align with the UN Declaration. Local government, the public and other stakeholders will be engaged as the plan is developed. Every minister in the provincial government has been mandated to review laws and policies to make sure they align with the UN Declaration. This work will continue.

What will it look like to implement the new B.C. law?

Working together means a stronger B.C. for everyone. By recognizing Indigenous rights, we set a clear path forward, help heal historic wrongs and create new opportunities. This approach has already been put into action in B.C. For example:

Child welfare: B.C. recognizes Indigenous peoples’ right to keep Indigenous children with their families and in their communities where they belong. The government is working, in partnership, to change the child welfare system. This shift aligns with the UN Declaration, which speaks to Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, including caring for their children.

Environmental assessment: B.C. supports Indigenous peoples’ right to take part in decisions about their lands, territories and resources as reflected in the UN Declaration and supported by many court decisions. New environmental assessment legislation provides clear roles for Indigenous peoples in the environment assessment process and decision-makings on major projects in B.C.

What is free, prior and informed consent?

Free, prior and informed consent recognizes Indigenous peoples’ rights, interests and voices. It means early, deep and meaningful involvement of Indigenous peoples on matters that affect their peoples, communities and territories. Instead of uncertainty and conflict, we can work together to build a stronger B.C., with more opportunities for Indigenous peoples, B.C. businesses, communities and families.

Resources

General Information

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317KB PDF

Info for business community

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248KB PDF

Info on environmental assessment

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197KB PDF

Info on mining, mineral exploration and oil and gas

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190KB PDF

Info on forestry

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193KB PDF

Poster

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1.3MB PDF