THE ADVOCATE 27
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Declaration; (3) determine any gaps between existing norms and the Declaration’s
requirements; and (4) recommend how to fill those gaps.
A consistency process inspired by international treaty implementation,
modified to ensure full Indigenous participation as required by the Declaration,
will be complex, resource-intensive and time-consuming for both
the government and Indigenous participants. The same will be true of any
good faith scheme to give effect to s. 3. Inherent in that provision is a significant
investment of public resources, both time and money, to review and
revise existing laws. The resource imbalance between government and
Indigenous peoples in such a process must be acknowledged and
addressed. Capacity support is an established feature of consultation and
accommodation schemes in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. It
will be a necessary feature of any consistency plan. The Declaration itself
recognizes the right to “financial and technical assistance from States … for
the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration”.17
The ambition of s. 3 of the DRIPA is so vast that it risks stultifying the project
it mandates. Government officials, Indigenous leaders and advisors on
both sides may feel overwhelmed by the size of the task. Like any big project,
however, this one can be accomplished by following proven methods
and dividing the work into manageable portions.
The question of how to achieve consistency between existing laws and
the Declaration is not as daunting as it might seem. We have a model for
this sort of work already, although it will need to be adapted to meet the
imperative of full Indigenous participation. Over two years have passed
since DRIPA s. 3 became law, and we are no closer to consistency. The
pressing question now is not “How do we achieve conformity?” but “When
do we start?”
1. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, GA Res 61/295, UNGAOR, 61st session,
UN Doc A/RES/295 (2007) Declaration;
Government of Canada, News Release, “Canada
Becomes a Full Supporter of the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” (10
May 2016), online: <canada.ca/en/indigenousnorthern
2. SBC 2019, c 44.
3. Declaration, supra note 1, art 18.
4. 19 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171 (entered into
force 23 March 1976, accession by Canada 19 May
5. 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into
force 2 September 1990, accession by Canada 13
6. SC 2021, c 14.
7. See Government of Canada, News Release, “Government
of Canada Tables Convention on Rights of
Persons with Disabilities” (3 December 2009),
8. See Government of Canada, Common Core Document
of Canada (Her Majesty the Queen in Right of
Canada, 2019) at 48–49, online: <opencanada.