Statement by Minister Valcourt in reaction to Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA, May 12, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today issued the following statement in response to the report of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

"The report published by the Special Rapporteur today acknowledges that, while many challenges remain, many positive steps have been taken by the Government of Canada to improve the overall well-being and prosperity of Aboriginal people in Canada.

Canada's diverse and multicultural society has been a leader on the world stage in the protection of human rights and, as acknowledged in the report, is one of the first countries in the modern era to extend constitutional protection to the rights of Aboriginal people.

Our numerous laws, policies and programs aimed at addressing Aboriginal peoples' concerns allow for a positive collaboration with Canada's Aboriginal and Northern communities as we work together on shared priorities and towards a renewed relationship built on reconciliation and trust.

As pointed out in the report, Canada's policies and processes to address historical grievances are an example to the world, and many of Canada's efforts provide important examples of reconciliation and accommodation.

While more work needs to be done, the report notes the important steps that have been taken to ensure progress in providing equal access to First Nations, as all other Canadians, to safe housing, education and matrimonial rights.

Our Government is proud of the effective and incremental steps taken in partnership with Aboriginal communities. We are committed to continuing to work with our partners to make significant progress in improving the lives of Aboriginal people in Canada.

We will review the report carefully to determine how we can best address the recommendations. I want to thank the UN Special Rapporteur for his important work, and I look forward to our continued positive and valuable collaboration."

Quick Facts:

  • Canada is investing $241 million over four years to help First Nation youth between the ages of 18 and 24 get personalized job and skills training. These investments are targeted to youth receiving income assistance, providing them with access to a wider, more personalized range of training, education and career counselling programs that will help them get jobs.
  • Ending violence against women and girls, including violence against Aboriginal women and girls, is a priority for the federal government. Through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada committed to investing an additional $25 million over five years to reduce violence against Aboriginal women and girls, putting money into concrete resources.
  • Through Economic Action Plan 2014, Canada committed to invest $323.4 million over two years for the implementation of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan.
  • The Government of Canada's investments for on-reserve housing have resulted in the construction of 11,364 new units and more than 21,212 renovations between 2006/07and 2012/2013.
  • In his report, the Special Raporteur states "In seeking to build contemporary nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous people through modern treaties, Canada is an example to the world."

Backgrounder: Canada's Endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
UN Special Rapporteur's website
Matrimonial Real Property on Reserves
Skills and Training for First Nation Youth
Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Persons

This statement is also available on the Internet at


SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

For further information: Minister's Office: Erica Meekes, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, 819-997-0002; Media Relations: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160; You can subscribe to receive our news releases and speeches via RSS feeds or e-mail. For more information or to subscribe, visit


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