The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) requires the provincial government to develop and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UN Declaration). Further, the Declaration Act requires the Province to develop and implement the action plan in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia.
Shortly after the Declaration Act came into effect, the Province began work to inform the initial draft of the action plan. starting with an early analysis of known Indigenous-identified priorities across government. This analysis supported engagement to inform the draft action plan, as it was built on an understanding and recognition of the expertise already provided through years of advocacy and dialogue by Indigenous leaders.
Between July 2020 and February 2021, the Province worked with Indigenous partners to flesh out this initial draft. During this time, provincial government representatives met with First Nations, First Nations political leadership, First Nations organizations, historical and modern Treaty Nations, Métis Nation BC and Indigenous service organizations. The First Nations Leadership Council – comprised of leaders representing the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs – carried out complementary engagement with First Nations organizations, which they summarized and shared with the Province.
On June 11, 2021, the Province released a draft of the action plan, which outlined goals and outcomes for implementing the UN Declaration in B.C. and proposed actions for implementation between 2022 and 2027. At the release, the Province welcomed input from Indigenous Peoples in B.C. Ministries also actively engaged non-Indigenous partners, including local governments, industry, and businesses, on specific actions in the draft action plan that might affect them.
The Declaration Act Action Plan, released March 30, 2022, reflects this collaborative development process. Over the two phases of engagement, the Province:
- hosted meetings with representatives from more than 150 First Nations and Indigenous organizations,
- received more than 100 written submissions,
- received more than 100 feedback from rights and title holders, and
- saw the direct participation of every government agency.
The Declaration Act Action Plan collectively identified goals and outcomes that form the long-term vision for implementing the UN Declaration in B.C. It has 89 priority actions, tangible steps that will advance this work in key areas over the next five years.
The four main goals in the plan are to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration over time:
- self-determination and self-government including implementing Indigenous institutions, laws, governing bodies and political, economic and social structures,
- owning, using, developing, and controlling lands and resources within First Nations’ territories,
- living without interference, oppression or other inequities associated with Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination, and
- maintaining Indigenous cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, languages, food systems, sciences and technologies; participating fully in the economy; and ensuring the rights of Indigenous women, youth, Elders, children, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are upheld.
The actions themselves are tangible and measurable ways that the Province will advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples throughout B.C. in important areas like education, justice reform and natural resource management. Each ministry will work in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples to deliver on their specific actions. A copy of the plan can be downloaded here.
The Province will report annually on progress made to implement the action plan, which ensures government’s work is transparent and accountable. The progress will be reflected in the Declaration Act’s annual reports, which are publicly available by June 30 of each year. Past annual reports are available here.
Details of the Engagement
June 11, 2021 to March 30, 2022