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Annual report updates collective efforts to achieve objectives of UN Declaration

Press Release

June 28, 2023

VICTORIA – B.C. is providing detailed reporting about progress to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) through the 2022-23 Declaration Act Annual Report.

“We were the first government in Canada to release an action plan dedicated to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and minister responsible for the Declaration Act Secretariat. “It’s been one year since the launch of the Declaration Act Action Plan, and this annual report will be the first to begin detailing progress about the 89 specific actions to be taken over five years of the plan. In year one, 32 actions are completed or underway, and as we work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, we are creating real and lasting change that is building a brighter future for everyone.”

The Declaration Act Action Plan, released on March 30, 2022, is a five-year, cross-government action plan that is guiding the Province’s work to implement the UN Declaration in B.C. The first of its kind in Canada, the plan includes actions in the areas of self-determination and self-government, rights and title, ending anti-Indigenous racism, and enhancing social, cultural and economic well-being for Indigenous Peoples.

Details of the work underway are highlighted in the Province’s redesigned Declaration Act website, as well as comprehensive reporting about progress and indicators. This year, rather than a standard PDF report, the Province has taken the Declaration Act Annual Report online.

The new digital-first presentation responds to input received from Indigenous partners seeking a more collaborative, accessible and accountable approach to reporting. As a result of the continued partnership with Indigenous leaders and experts, the 2022-23 Declaration Act annual report features voices and experiences of Indigenous Peoples throughout B.C., as well as artwork by Sheldon Pierre Louis, a syilx (Okanagan) multi-disciplinary artist.

The website also features the work of the Declaration Act Secretariat – established in 2022 – and provides an update about progress to align provincial laws with the UN Declaration.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province reports on progress made to implement the Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples Act through annual reports, a requirement of the act.
  • These reports are developed in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous Peoples in B.C. and are publicly released by June 30 each year.

Learn More:

Explore the refreshed Declaration Act website and reporting from year one of the Declaration Act Action Plan:https://declaration.gov.bc.ca

Four backgrounders follow.

Contact:
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348


BACKGROUNDER 1

What First Nations leaders are saying about the 2022-23 annual report

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) –

“The work done to date in B.C. to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a testament to the strength in collaboration between the provincial government and First Nations. UBCIC recognizes that this approach, necessarily grounded in consultation, collaboration and free, prior and informed consent with respect to decision-making and governance, is a groundbreaking model due to the history of systemic racism and injustice in B.C. and beyond. Despite the work that still needs to be done, the annual report and redesigned Declaration Act website demonstrates a clear understanding of the progress being made by all parties involved.

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations –

“The collaboration between the B.C. government and First Nations to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a significant step toward reconciliation and the protection of First Nations’ inherent rights, title and interests. The Declaration Act Annual Report provides a clear overview of the progress made in this regard, demonstrating the commitment of both parties to work together in consultation and co-operation. While there is still much more work to be done, the progress made to date is a testament to the determination to address historical injustices and create a future of equality and empowerment for First Nations. This approach includes incorporating the principles of free, prior and informed consent into the decision-making processes. Through ongoing dialogue, consultation and collaboration, the B.C. government and industries are striving to build mutually beneficial relationships with First Nations, fostering a foundation of trust, respect and partnership in pursuit of sustainable and inclusive development that aligns with the values and aspirations of First Nations. This work is even more significant as it serves as a positive model for other jurisdictions to follow in their pursuit of implementing the UN Declaration and advancing reconciliation efforts.”

Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit Political Executive –

“The Declaration Act and the resulting action plan represent historic steps forward for the Government of B.C. in righting its relationship with First Nations and moving toward a modernized relationship based on human rights, co-operation and partnership. Accessible and transparent data are essential for First Nations title and rights holders to have fulsome engagement and participation in implementation. We are pleased that B.C. has created a new online evergreen platform for the ongoing reporting on progress, as it will assist in accountability and success going forward.”

Contact:

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348


BACKGROUNDER 2

New approach to annual reporting centres on user needs

While the 2022-23 Declaration Act Annual Report is the fourth annual report to detail the Province’s work to implement the UN Declaration in B.C. in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous Peoples, it is the first report to be featured in a redesigned website.

This year’s digital-first report is an innovative and fresh take on a typical PDF annual report, which can be challenging to view on mobile devices, not easily read by screen-readers, offers limited interactivity and can be overwhelming to read.

The redesigned Declaration Act website gives users access to the information they want in a way that suits their needs. The mobile-friendly website has many unique features and provides the option to navigate to topics or priorities of greatest interest.

The digital approach to the 2022-23 Declaration Act Annual Report is a reflection of partnership with Indigenous leaders, experts and artists, and is responsive to feedback from Indigenous leaders for reporting that is more accessible, accountable, transparent, co-operative and impactful.

Learn More:

Explore the redesigned Declaration Act website: https://declaration.gov.bc.ca

View the one-pager about the new annual reporting approach here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2022-23_Declaration_Act_Annual%20Report_Final.pdf

Declaration Act Action Plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/government/ministries-organizations/ministries/indigenous-relations-reconciliation/declaration_act_action_plan.pdf

UN Declaration: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf

Contact:Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348


BACKGROUNDER 3

Action plan progress: Year one highlights focus on Indigenous voices

The Declaration Act Action Plan, released on March 30, 2022, is a five-year, cross-government action plan that is guiding the Province’s work to implement the UN Declaration in B.C. The first of its kind in Canada, the plan includes 89 tangible, achievable actions in the areas of self-determination and self-government, rights and title, ending anti-Indigenous racism, and enhancing social, cultural and economic well-being.

Through the refreshed Declaration Act website, 32 of the 89 actions are reported in detail, showcasing the highlights, as well as the challenges being navigated during the first year, and the transformational work ahead to implement the plan. A new dashboard with meaningful icons provides a snapshot of the status of all 89 actions.

Indigenous Peoples from throughout B.C. are sharing their words, voices and experiences through the redesigned Declaration Act website: https://declaration.gov.bc.ca

On the redesigned website, read about First Nations members coming together to restore clam gardens throughout the Nuu-chah-nulth territory and how a new housing project at Okanagan Indian Band is reconnecting its members to their culture, language and community.

Hear the voices of two Dakelh language revitalization experts and watch a video about the historic agreement that will transform how the Province and First Nations steward land, water and resources together in northeastern B.C.

Contact:Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348


BACKGROUNDER 4

Meaningful iconography guides transformative efforts

Feedback from Indigenous leaders articulated the need for a more collaborative and modernized approach to reporting about how the Province is working to implement the UN Declaration in B.C. in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous Peoples. Specifically, leaders are seeking accessible, interactive and systematic reporting about implementation progress that is available on the web on demand.

The icons used to show the status of Declaration Act Action Plan actions on the redesigned Declaration Act website were created by Sheldon Pierre Louis, who is a syilx (Okanagan) multi-disciplinary artist. The four icons each represent a specific stage of implementation and are colour-coded to show the current state of different actions.

Learn about the meaning behind the icons – the salmon (transformation), rock (complexity), medicine bundle (challenges) and weaving (engagement) – here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2022-23_Declaration_Act_Annual_Report_icons.pdf

View Sheldon Pierre Louis’ work here: https://boundbyafeather.wixsite.com/boundbyafeather

Explore the redesigned Declaration Act website: https://declaration.gov.bc.ca

Contact:Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348

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