Distinctions-Based Approach

The Province is required to take a distinctions-based approach in all relations with First Nations, Métis and Inuit in British Columbia. This requirement has a legal foundation in the Constitution Act, 1982; the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act; treaties; as well as the respective and distinct laws, legal systems and systems of governance of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

On December 5, 2023, the Province released a distinctions-based approach primer (the Primer) to assist B.C. public service employees in understanding the current legal basis for, and core elements of, a distinctions-based approach. This document helps meet this requirement by affirming the Provincial position and ensuring it is applied consistently in legislation, policy and practice. The Primer supports public service employees to make good, consistent and informed decisions. Work is underway to develop additional resources that will provide guidance on the practical application of a distinctions-based approach.

Public sector staff have received distinctions-based approach training across many sectors and levels of government, including:

  • Crown agencies;
  • Ministry of Health executive, all management and public sector partners;
  • Over 1,000 staff in the Natural Resource sector, and
  • Senior executive and core government leadership.

As part of a broader plan to educate public service employees on the distinctions-based approach, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation delivered 23 orientation sessions on the distinctions-based approach across the public service, including Caucus, Cabinet, Crown corporation boards and committees and many ministries, including Health, Housing, Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Water, Lands and Natural Resources and Mental Health and Addictions.