The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”) is an international human rights declaration that provides the minimum standards for the survival and dignity of Indigenous peoples across the world. Developed through years of engagement and discussions with Indigenous representatives at the United Nations, UNDRIP confirms the rights of Indigenous peoples.
- Indigenous peoples rights to self-determination (Article 3);
- Indigenous peoples “autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs” (Article 4); and
- Indigenous peoples right to “maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions” (Article 18), among others.
As an international Declaration, it is not binding on countries unless it is implemented into the law of that country (e.g. by the country passing a law to implement it).
The Government of Canada (“Canada”) introduced the UNDRIP Act on June 21, 2021, after consultation with Indigenous peoples, including the MNO. The purpose of the UNDRIP Act is to:
- affirm UNDRIP as a universal human rights instrument in Canada; and
- provide a framework for how Canada will implement UNDRIP in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples.
The UNDRIP Act outlines that Canada must work in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples to take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with UNDRIP.
Among other things, the UNDRIP Act requires Canada to work with Indigenous peoples to develop an “Action Plan” to achieve UNDRIP’s objectives.
The Action Plan must also include measures to address injustice, combat prejudice and eliminate all forms of violence, racism and discrimination against Indigenous people; promote mutual respect and understanding; and ways to monitor progress and provide for oversight, recourse, remedy and accountability.
Canada has been doing early engagement to develop the Action Plan throughout fall of 2022. The Action Plan must be completed and put before Parliament by June 21, 2023.
As a Métis government, the MNO is working to help Canada develop its Action Plan.
MNO is undertaking engagement with MNO citizens and Métis communities in Ontario to identify Métis specific priorities that should be shared with Canada for the implementation of UNDRIP and Action Plan development.
Beginning in January 2023, MNO will be undertaking a series of virtual engagement sessions to hear from MNO citizens, leadership, and staff. MNO has also developed a questionnaire that will be sent out to gather citizens input feedback on a range of topics relevant to UNDRIP.
Following the engagement sessions, the MNO plans on preparing a report that will be shared with Canada summarizing the feedback and recommendations and to help guide Canada’s next steps implementing UNDRIP in a way that aligns with the unique needs of Métis communities and citizens in Ontario.
To get involved, share your input, or if you have any comments or questions, please reach out to: UNDRIP@metisnation.org.