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Latest Updates on Bill C-15 (the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act)

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Overview

Indigenous Law Bulletin

On December 3, 2020, the federal government tabled Bill C-15 [1]. Bill C-15 is the federal government’s response to calls [2] to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP” or the “Declaration”) as a framework for reconciliation in Canada, which passed Second Reading of the Senate on June 3, 2021 and was approved on June 7, 2021 by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples without amendment.

After passing its Second Reading in the Senate on June 3, 2021, Bill C-15 was sent to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples to be reviewed on June 7, 2021. Though several amendments to Bill C-15 were proposed and discussed during the clause-by-clause review, including amending the Preamble to include language related to economic development and amending Clause 6 to be more specific with respect to who is engaged on the action plan, none were accepted due to concerns that amending Bill C-15 could prevent it from receiving Royal Assent (the final step in the process).

Bill C-15 will now return to the Senate for its Third Reading and final vote. The Senate must conclude its study and bring the Bill to a final vote before the end of this parliamentary session or Bill C-15 may die on the order paper like its predecessor Bill C-262.

As a result of the Senate’s progress, Bill C-15 could proceed to Royal Assent as early as the end of this week.


[1] Government Bill (House of Commons) C-15 (43-2) - First Reading - United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act - Parliament of Canada.

[2] Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and Calls for Justice arising from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

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