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Mohawk Council of Kahnawá:keTsi nahò:ten kahiatónnion a'arákonEnsaié:nawaseOnhkharéhson Aionkhihsnoé:nen
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Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke
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Community engagement activities ‐ Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Community members are invited to participate in engagement sessions to discuss the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP, or Declaration). Engagement will take the form of two focus groups that will be held on:

  • May 23, 2023, 4:30-7:30pm
  • May 24, 2023, 4:30-7:30pm

Dinner will be provided to all participants. To register, please contact Jaime-Lynn Deere (450) 632-7500 or email Please inform us of your interest no later than Friday May 19, 2023, at 4pm.
During these sessions, community members will be asked to provide feedback and direction on the federal government's first draft Action Plan to implement the UN Declaration, released in March 2023.

Background information will be provided at the beginning of the sessions, followed by discussions on three main areas of focus:

  1. Identifying what is missing from the federal draft Action Plan (gaps)
  2. Identifying concerns in relation to any aspect of the federal draft Action Plan and its implementation
  3. Identifying the community's expectations towards the federal government and its requirements around engagement and decision-making on the implementation of UNDRIP (how Kahnawà:ke should be engaged, consulted and involved in decision-making moving forward).

The feedback and direction provided by participants will be documented in a report and will form the basis of recommendations to inform the final version of the federal Action Plan.

While time constraints may limit our ability to delve into the details of the draft Action Plan during the engagement sessions, community members who wish to closely review the plan and related documents may do so by clicking on the links below:

Background Information

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration or UNDRIP) is an international human rights instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples around the world. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 13, 2007, after 25 years of negotiations between UN member states and Indigenous Peoples from around the world, including Kahnawà:ke.

The Declaration establishes minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous Peoples. It consists of a preamble of 24 paragraphs outlining general principles and considerations, and 46 articles that affirm a broad range of collective and individual rights, including:

  • Self-determination and self-government
  • Equality and non-discrimination
  • Culture and language
  • Identity and community
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Lands, territories and resources
  • Environment
  • Indigenous institutions and legal systems
  • Health
  • Education

Calls to implement the Declaration in Canada have been issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec (Viens Commission), among other entities.

The government of Canada endorsed the Declaration in 2016, nine years after its adoption. It committed to its full and effective implementation.

Implementation of the Declaration in Canada

Domestic Legislation to implement the Declaration

The first efforts to implement the Declaration in Canada was through Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This private member's bill was introduced to the House of Commons by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash in 2016. It was adopted by the House of Commons in 2018, but stalled during the Senate Committee review stage and was ultimately prevented from becoming law before the end of the parliamentary session in September 2019.

Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Act), was then introduced in December 2020 by the current federal government. The bill is said to be largely based on bill C-262 and was developed with input from the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and other Indigenous organizations.

The law requires ongoing consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples over time to implement the Declaration, as well as the development of an Action Plan and measures to ensure existing and new federal laws and policies are consistent with the UN Declaration.

The MCK had many concerns regarding the federal approach to implementing UNDRIP and opposed Bill C-15. In 2020 and 2021, the MCK made a series of recommendations to improve the bill leading up to its passage. Several measures, among others, focused on:

  1. Ensuring the alignment and conformity of Canadian laws (existing and future laws and common law) with the Declaration
  2. Ensuring the removal of barriers to the full exercise of Indigenous rights and jurisdiction.

These recommendations were not adopted during the legislative process. The bill was passed and the Act came into force on June 21, 2021.

In December 2022, the MCK reiterated its concerns regarding the new law and its implementation and highlighted problems relating to the development of the federal Action Plan provided for in the Act. The MCK again identified measures to address outstanding concerns.

Federal consultation process

A two-phase consultation process on the implementation of the Act was launched by Justice Canada in December 2021 and is ongoing.
Phase 1 aimed at identifying priorities and potential measures for a draft Action Plan. The current draft Action Plan, released in March 2023, was an outcome of this process.
Phase 2 is in progress until the end of May and is meant to:

  • validate measures proposed in the draft Action Plan and modify them as necessary;
  • identify and fill any gaps
  • include additional measures
  • identify timelines, implementation processes (short, medium and long-term), and measures for monitoring and assessing progress.
A final version of the federal Action Plan to implement the Declaration is expected to be presented in June 2023.

Draft federal Action Plan to implement the Declaration

As mentioned earlier, a draft federal Action Plan to implement the Declaration was released in March 2023. According to the federal government, this draft identifies measures in areas where there were trends or similarities in priorities and key actions proposed by Indigenous Peoples and is not intended to be a full list. The draft plan identifies departments responsible for carrying out actions and measures, and it includes some sections to be developed during Phase II (including a Vision for the future and a statement of Shared understandings).

While the draft Action Plan includes, to some extent, some of the recommendations that were made, key omissions remain. These were again identified in a recent letter to Justice Minister David Lametti (April 2023), with calls for these gaps to be rectified and for the recommended measures to be included in the final version of the Action Plan.

Key omissions identified by the MCK and Assembly of First Nations include the incorporation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report's Calls to Action, recognition of First Nation land rights, including unceded lands, and the absence of any measures to rescind the application of the Doctrine of Discovery in law, including in the common law's interpretation of Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

As a result, the Assembly of First Nations has called upon the government of Canada to >review and co-develop amendments to the National Action Plan in order to address the Gaps that have been identified by First Nations. [AFN RESOLUTION no. 20/2023].