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Building momentum: 2021-2022 Declaration Act Annual Report

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 10:46 PDT, Mon July 4, 2022

The province is releasing the third annual report on efforts to ensure B.C. is a place where the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people can thrive.

The 2021-2022 Declaration Act Annual Report highlights progress made in implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) and advancing reconciliation in B.C.

Highlights of work outlined in the report include:

• Establishing the Declaration Act Secretariat, a dedicated body to support government's obligations ensuring laws, policies, and practices are consistent with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act)

• Aligning new and existing legislation with the Declaration Act across government, including changes to support the recruitment of more Indigenous teachers, developing a shared vision for forestry, and recognizing Indigenous identity as protected grounds against discrimination under the BC Human rights code

• Developing the first Declaration Act Action Plan to outline steps needed to advance reconciliation

The annual report also highlights 19 initiatives that contribute to reconciliation. It includes work to implement Indigenous institutions, laws, and governing bodies, as well as efforts to ensure First Nations can own, use, develop, and control lands and resources within their territories.

It highlights partnerships that ensure people can live without interference, oppression, or other inequities associated with Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination, and efforts to support and maintain Indigenous cultural heritage, Traditional Knowledge, languages, food systems, sciences, and technologies.

It shines a spotlight on work to ensure Indigenous Peoples can participate fully in the economy and on upholding the rights of Indigenous women, youth, Elders, children, persons with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQ+ people.

The Declaration Act requires the province to report annually on progress made on the alignment of provincial laws with the UN Declaration and on the development and implementation of the action plan to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration. The development of annual reports is required to be accomplished in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous Peoples.

The latest annual report outlines progress made between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, on those two requirements, as well as work to advance the implementation of the UN Declaration more broadly.

On Nov. 28, 2019, the Declaration Act was passed into law, making B.C. the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt the UN Declaration. On March 30, 2022, the province released the Declaration Act Action Plan, which was developed through two years of intensive engagement to ensure it aligned with the priorities of Indigenous Peoples in B.C.

To read the 2021-2022 Declaration Act Annual Report, click here.

For information on the Declaration Act and to download a copy of the action plan, visit: declaration.gov.bc.ca/

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