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Language Legislation

UPDATE February 5, 2019
Bill C-91 an Act respecting Indigenous Languages was tabled February 5, 2019 in the House of Commons. 

FPCC is currently reviewing the legislation. We are now soliciting feedback on the proposed Act from Indigenous people, organizations and leaders in British Columbia. We will produce a report with recommendations for amendments to the Bill and provide comment once our report is complete.

If you have comments about the bill we would like to hear from you. 
Please email your feedback to Suzanne Gessner at suzanne@fpcc.ca by February 15. 

In December 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government would be developing legislation to support the revitalization Indigenous languages in Canada. In his announcement, he stated that, "our government will enact an Indigenous Languages Act, co-developed with Indigenous Peoples, with the goal of ensuring the preservation, protection, and revitalization of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit languages in this country."

The legislation is being co-developed by the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH) and the three national Indigenous organizations: the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Métis Nation of Canada (MNC).

This page provides a collection of resources to inform and support the development of Indigenous Languages Legislation in Canada. 

Timeline for the legislation:

December 6, 2016 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces Indigenous languages legislation
May – June 2017 The First Peoples’ Cultural Council holds engagement sessions in B.C.
June – Oct 2017 AFN holds engagement sessions with First Nations people across Canada
2017 – 2018 DCH holds engagement sessions with Indigenous people across Canada
Fall 2018 Memorandum to Cabinet (policy proposal submitted to Cabinet), Ministry issues drafting instructions to the Legislation Section of the Department of Justice
Jan – Feb 2019 Legislation drafted by the Department of Justice; draft bill is prepared in two official languages and approved by responsible Minister. Cabinet approval of draft legislation

TBA 2019 
Legislation to be introduced in Parliament:

  • First Reading: the Bill is read in the House of Commons
  • Second Reading: a parliamentary committee reviews the Bill and seeks input 
  • Third Reading: once the Bill passes the Third Reading in the House of Commons, the process is repeated with the Senate
TBA 2019 Legislation passes in Parliament and receives Royal Assent

Access the Department of Canadian Heritage Discussion Guide on their webpage or download the PDF.

Assembly of First Nations' Bulletin on the Indigenous Languages Initiative, June 2018.
Assembly of First Nations' Update on the Indigenous Languages Legislation, June 2018.

The co-development committee for the legislation (which includes the national Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis Nation and the Department of Canadian Heritage) has launched a website to provide updated information on the collaborative co-development process. Click here to access the website.

Indigenous Languages Legislation Consultation - by DCH, AFN
In June and July of 2018 the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH) hosted community engagement sessions, on the proposed Indigenous Languages legislation, in the B.C. communities of Vancouver, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Prince George. The B.C. Assembly of First Nations held pre-engagement information sessions the day before each DCH engagement to help those attending understand the process and to assist in this opportunity to contribute to the legislation. FPCC held legislation information sessions throughout B.C. in May and June 2017.

Regional Engagagement Sessions - Information about the regional sessions held by FPCC in May and June 2017. A community report was compiled to gather the findings of these sessions, which you can find on this page.

Assembly of First Nations Engagement Sessions on Indigenous Language Legislation
- Information about the Engagement Sessions on Indigenous Languages Legislation held by the Assembly of First Nations in 2017.

Key Contacts for Information and to Provide Input: 

Assembly of First Nations  - B.C.
Chief Ron Ignace, representative for B.C. on the Chief’s Committee on Languages 

Assembly of First Nations – National Office
Miranda Huron, Director of Languages 
Department of Canadian Heritage
John de Francesco, M.P. Minister of Department of Canadian Heritage
Indigenous Languages Legislation, Citizenship, Heritage and Regions
15 Eddy Street, 16th Floor, Room 080G Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0M5

Julie Dabrusin, M.P. Chair of Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage 
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6


FPCC Reports and Resources on Indigenous Languages Legislation

This section includes some resources that FPCC has developed in support of Indigenous Languages Legislation

A Legislation Framework and How to Provide Input

FPCC has compiled information to help you get started on developing your own input into the legislation.

Community Position Papers

This section includes position papers from communities that have been shared with FPCC.

Important Documents About Indigenous Languages Legislation

This section provides links to important documents about Indigenous Languages Legislation; documents include reports from Canada, international documents, and letters and resolutions.

Existing Legislation on Indigenous Languages This section provides information about existing legislation for Indigenous languages across Canada and internationally. 

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