About the Secretariat
Announced in Budget 2022, the Secretariat’s core functions are to provide guidance on consultation and co-operation and consistency of laws; develop processes and measures to support alignment of laws; inform government’s legislative agenda and serve in an interlocutor role.
The work to align laws with the UN Declaration is resulting in an increasing number of provincial legislative reforms. The Province passed several bills since the Declaration Act came into law.
The Ministry of Health introduced this new legislation on October 19, 2022, as Bill 36. The Health Professions and Occupations Act passed into law on November 24, 2022. It enhances patient safety, strengthens oversight of health regulatory colleges and improves governance of health professionals.
With this legislation, the Province formally hardwires anti-discrimination measures, restorative processes, and trauma-informed practices directly into health profession legislation.
On October 26, 2022, the Ministry of Children and Family Development amended the Adoption Act and the Child, Family and Community Service Act, recognizing the inherent right of self-government of Indigenous communities including jurisdiction over child and family services. The amendments removed barriers in provincial legislation so Indigenous Peoples can deliver child and family services pursuant to their Indigenous laws, keeping Indigenous children and youth safely connected to family, community, and culture. One of the goals is to address and reduce the disproportionate numbers of Indigenous children and youth in provincial care. The amendment act passed into law on November 25, 2022.
The Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction introduced the new legislation on April 28, 2021, as Bill 6. The Accessible British Columbia Act, passed into law June 3, 2021, establishes the legal framework to identify, prevent and remove barriers to accessibility including for Indigenous people.
The Attorney General introduced this statute on November 17, 2021, as Bill 18. The bill, which was passed into law November 23, 2021, amended the provincial Human Rights Code to further uphold Indigenous human rights and advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples by adding Indigenous identity as a protected ground against discrimination.
Amendments to the Adoption Act (Bill 21)
The Ministry of Children and Family Development developed these amendments, which were introduced under a miscellaneous statute on October 7, 2021, as Bill 21. Passed into law October 21, 2021, the amendments authorized information-sharing under the Adoption Act. The changes established this authority to support First Nation adoptees in obtaining their status so they can gain access to federal health, dental and other benefits.
Amendments to the Child, Family and Community Service Act (Bill 21)
The Ministry of Children and Family Development developed these amendments, which were introduced under a miscellaneous statute on October 7, 2021, as Bill 21. The bill was passed into law October 21, 2021, aligning the Child, Family and Community Service Act with the information-sharing requirements of the federal statute, an act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.
Forests Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 23)
The Minister of Forests introduced this statute on October 20, 2021, as Bill 23. Passed into law on November 23, 2021, the bill amended the Forests Act, the Forest and Range Practices Act, and the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act. These amendments establish the framework for an approach that is more focused on ecological and cultural values. A key part of this will be replacing forest stewardship plans, which are currently developed by industry, with forest landscape plans developed by the Province with First Nations, local communities and other partners, which will create new opportunities for shared decision-making between the Province and First Nations.
Education Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 25)
The Minister of Education and Child Care introduced the amendments on October 25, 2021, as Bill 25. Passed into law on November 2, 2021, the bill amended the First Nations Education Act, the Teachers Act, and the Criminal Records Review Act, all in support of First Nations’ jurisdiction over education on First Nation land. In addition, the legislation changed the composition of the British Columbia Teachers’ Council, ensuring representation and a voice for First Nations Education Authority.
The Attorney General introduced this statute on November 17, 2021, as Bill 29, which was passed into law on November 23, 2021. This bill added a universal non-derogation clause to the Interpretation Act, making it explicit that provincial laws uphold, and do not abrogate or derogate from, the rights of Indigenous Peoples under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Bill 29 also amended the Interpretation Act to provide that all provincial acts and regulations must be read to be consistent with the UN Declaration.