The provincial government is extending the deadline for feedback on the draft action plan developed under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
Out of consideration for the substantial impacts on First Nations and Indigenous peoples arising from recent wildfires and residential school findings, the Province will be accepting feedback through its public engagement website until Sept. 15, 2021. Additional input will also be sought at the fall assemblies of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
“During this time of grief and emergency response, many people across the province require urgent support for very pressing needs,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “We have been asked by partners to give more time so people can comment on the draft action plan, and we agree that is the right thing to do.”
The draft action plan contains a wide range of tangible, effective actions to transform laws, policies and practices to support Indigenous peoples in healing, reclaiming language and culture, rebuilding nations and governments, implementing title and rights, fostering social and economic well-being, and combatting racism.
The specific 79 actions proposed include:
- Root out racism and discrimination in the public education system through a comprehensive anti-racism strategy.
- More broadly reintroduce the practice of cultural burning, the planned and controlled use of fire using traditional knowledge to reduce wildfire risk.
- Develop and implement comprehensive reforms to address concerns about systemic biases and racism within policing.
- Ensure every First Nations community in B.C. has high-speed internet access.
- Work together with First Nations on managing watersheds in the Province more sustainably.
- Negotiate agreements with First Nations to create shared decision-making processes on matters that impact their citizens.
- Add Indigenous identity to the B.C. Human Rights Code.
The draft action plan was developed and is being finalized in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples as part of the provincial government’s work to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. When finalized, it will guide the Province’s reconciliation efforts over the next five years.
The draft action plan is available publicly at: engage.gov.bc.ca/declaration
The Province is seeking feedback from First Nations and Indigenous peoples on the draft plan. Indigenous peoples must have an active role in determining how the goals and priorities in the action plan can advance Indigenous human rights.
- The consultation period on the draft action plan was originally set to end on July 31, 2021.
- B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through legislation. The act passed unanimously in the B.C. legislature on Nov. 26, 2019.
- From July 2020 to March 2021, provincial ministries held more than 80 separate meetings with more than 75 First Nations and Indigenous partners to identify potential actions to include in the draft action plan.
- The First Nations Leadership Council (representing the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs) conducted similar engagement with 11 First Nation organizations.
Engagement opportunity: engage.gov.bc.ca/declaration
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act: declaration.gov.bc.ca