The Government of Canada takes action to establish an effective whole-of-government approach to modern treaty implementation
July 13, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Improving the implementation of modern treaties contributes to enabling Aboriginal communities to access development opportunities that create jobs, economic growth and prosperity
The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced measures to strengthen Canada’s approach to the implementation of modern treaties and self-government agreements.
Minister Valcourt made the announcement following a meeting with the Land Claims Agreements Coalition, whose ongoing work and engagement on strengthening modern treaty implementation has helped shape the initiative. Strong collaboration with Canada’s treaty partners will continue to be vital in implementing the initiatives moving forward.
The Whole-of-Government Approach puts comprehensive measures in place to manage the full scope of Canada’s responsibilities under these important agreements.
These measures include:
- Establishing of a Deputy Ministers’ Oversight Committee to provide ongoing, executive level oversight and accountability for modern treaty obligations and implementation.
- Creating a Modern Treaty Implementation Office within the department of AANDC to strengthen coordination and oversight across the federal government.
- Adopting a Cabinet Directive on the Federal Approach to Modern Treaty Implementation to define the roles and responsibilities of federal departments.
- The Directive will require departments to assess all program, policy, regulatory and legislative proposals to ensure that the treaties are respected.
- Adopting a Statement of Principles on the Federal Approach to Modern Treaty Implementation to strengthen policy guidance to federal departments and agencies in accordance with the shared values and objectives of treaty partners.
- Developing new tools, training and guidance for federal officials to better equip them to fulfill Canada’s responsibilities under the agreements.
- Since 1973, Canada and its negotiation partners have signed 26 comprehensive land claims and four self-government agreements. Of the 26 signed agreements, 18 included provisions related to self-government. Fulfilling Canada’s treaty-related responsibilities requires the direct involvement of over 30 federal departments.
- In 2008, the Land Claims Agreements Coalition published a model implementation policy entitled: Honour, Spirit and Intent: A Model Canadian Policy on the Full Implementation of Modern Treaties Between Aboriginal Peoples and the Crown. This policy was influential in shaping the Whole-of-Government approach, as was ongoing engagement with members of the Coalition via a joint working group.
- The Whole-of-Government Approach responds to many of the April 2015 recommendations of Ministerial Special Representative Douglas Eyford in his report A New Direction: Advancing Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Mr. Eyford’s calls for stronger accountability, oversight and awareness measures; for ongoing training of federal officials; and for the development of an annual report on the status of federal treaty obligations are all addressed by this initiative.
“Our Government is committed to taking concrete action to advance treaty negotiations and reconciliation. In collaboration with the Land Claims Agreements Coalition, we have developed measures to strengthen our internal management of modern treaty implementation within departments. Together we are improving the treaty process and helping enable Aboriginal communities to access development opportunities that create jobs, economic growth and prosperity.”
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
“Members of the Land Claims Agreements Coalition consider these measures to be a step forward toward better implementation of our modern treaties. We will continue to work positively towards achieving the full potential and objectives of these agreements.”
Kevin McKay and Cathy Towtongie,
Co-Chairs, Land Claims Agreements Coalition
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada