The Indigenous Bar Association Applauds the Unanimous Passing of Bill 41 by British Columbian Lawmakers

Ottawa, Ontario [November 27, 2019]The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (“IBA”) is commending the leadership and efforts of the government of British Colombia in unanimously passing Bill 41, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act on November 26, 2019.

British Columbia’s historic Bill 41 is the first jurisdiction to explicitly bring its laws into conformity with the 46 principles in the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (the “UN Declaration”)As noted in the joint statement released by Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and others, “[a]ny future changes to bring provincial laws into harmony with the UN Declaration will be done in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous peoples, with opportunities for engagement with local governments and stakeholders such as business and industry. Changes won’t happen overnight – this will be a gradual, step-by-step process over time.”

In passing Bill 41, the BC Legislature is taking a meaningful step towards fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #43, which calls upon all levels of government in Canada to adopt and implement the Declaration as the framework for reconciliation.

We urge other all governments in Canada to follow the steps taken by the B.C. government to repudiate colonialism, and to make substantial policy changes to reflect meaningful reconciliation and justice for Indigenous peoples.

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About the Indigenous Bar Association (IBA): The IBA is a national non-profit association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.