THE ADVOCATE 897
VOL. 79 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2021
By the Honourable David Eby, Q.C.*
IMPROVING ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
On September 30, people across Canada came together to mark the
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This is a day to honour the lost
children and survivors of residential schools, to learn more about the ongoing
impact on Indigenous communities and to commit to meaningful
In British Columbia, this work was already underway. In November 2019,
the province made history by introducing the Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples Act (the “Declaration Act”)—the first province or territory
in Canada to do so.
The Declaration Act provides a path forward on reconciliation. It was
developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners and puts in place a
framework that will help to align British Columbia’s laws with the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Under the Declaration Act, each ministry in government has a responsibility
to consider how new programs, services and legislation impact
Indigenous communities, as we create a path forward that respects the
rights of Indigenous peoples. For my ministry in particular, that means taking
action to address the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in the
For this important work, we are making sure that the needs of Indigenous
peoples are met by partnering with the BC First Nations Justice Council
(“BCFNJC”). In March 2020, we signed the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.
This strategy focuses on reducing the number of First Nations people who
become involved with the criminal justice system, and improving the experience
of those who do.
* The Honourable David Eby, Q.C., is British Columbia’s Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.