Senate Passes UNDRIP Bill C-15

Authors: Sonia Eggerman, Jessica Buhler, Rangi Jeerakathil

On June 16, 2021, the Senate officially passed Bill C-15, an Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

For an overview of Bill C-15 and its implications, please read our Canada Announces New Legislation to Implement UNDRIP blog.

After three weeks of considering Bill C-15, the Senate passed Bill C-15 by a vote of 61 to 10. There were nine abstentions.

The House of Commons made several amendments to the text of Bill C-15. Most of the amendments applied to the preamble, although there are two substantive changes to the provisions of Bill C-15. The amendments include:

  • references to racism and systematic racism in the preamble;
  • expansion of preamble to identify the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius as “racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust”;
  • recognition in the preamble that Aboriginal and Treaty rights are capable of evolution and growth and are not frozen;
  • reduction of the time limit for preparing the action plan from three to two years; and
  • the action plan must include measures to address racism and systematic racism.

The Senate did not pass any additional amendments to Bill C-15. The final step before Bill C-15 becomes law in Canada is for the Bill to receive royal assent.

There is still debate regarding the effect Bill C-15 will have in Canada once it becomes law. MLT Aikins LLP will continue to monitor and provide updates to the law in this area. If you have questions regarding Bill C-15 and its impacts, we invite you to contact one of the lawyers in our Indigenous practice group.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.