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New B.C. Indigenous rights legislation called ‘crucial step’ toward reconciliation – The Lawyer’s Daily

December 06, 2019

British Columbia is entering a new phase in its relationship with its First Nations following the adoption of a bill to align its laws with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and legal observers are saying, despite the fact that the legislation leaves some questions as to the details of what adopting the declaration will look like, it will create more certainty on issues of consent and collaboration and may lead to less reliance on the court system to resolve disputes.

Bill 41, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, passed the B.C. legislature Nov. 26 on a 82-0 vote, earning unanimous support from the provincial New Democrats, Liberals and Greens, and received royal assent Nov. 28. The legislation requires aligning B.C.’s laws with the UN declaration, and an action plan that includes consistent public reporting on how that process is going. The Act also allows for flexibility for the province to enter into agreements with a broader range of Indigenous governments and creates a mechanism for decision-making opportunities for Indigenous governments on matters that impact their citizens.

Premier John Horgan said the legislation “is a crucial step towards true and lasting reconciliation.”

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