THUNDER BAY – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today called on the Government of Canada to continue its work with First Nations to ensure appropriate and effective implementation of the changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), which will apply to First Nation communities in Canada as of June 18, 2011. “First Nations fully support human rights and want to continue to work with the federal government to ensure our governments and citizens have the appropriate supports to effectively work through this change,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “Currently, First Nations lack the capacity and resources to effectively implement the changes that come as a result of the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Clear commitments must be made in order for First Nations to be in a position to ensure respect for human rights.”
On Friday, June 17th, the Canadian Human Rights Commission will hold a news conference regarding a major change to Canada’s human rights landscape. As of June 18, 2011, over 700,000 people, primarily residents of First Nations communities will enjoy the same human rights protections as everyone else in Canada for the first time. David Langtry, A/Chief Commissioner, will brief media on implications of this change and the important challenges that lie ahead.
When: Friday, June 17, 2011, 10:00 a.m. (EDT)
Where: National Press Theatre, 150 Wellington Street, Ottawa
Who: David Langtry, A/Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission
Live webcast: http://archive.isiglobal.ca/vod/chrc/2011-06-17.html
In 2008, the Government of Canada announced it would repeal section 67 of the CHRA, a section stating that the Act did not apply to the Indian Act. As of June 18, 2011 the CHRA will apply to the Indian Act and to First Nation governments. First Nation governments will have new responsibilities to ensure compliance with the CHRA. For example, public buildings and housing owned by First Nations will have to comply with the CHRA, including meeting the needs of persons living with physical disabilities.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan presented a report to Parliament in the House of Commons today. This report follows an 18 month review process since the legislation was tabled in 2009. During that review process, the AFN facilitated regional sessions across the country, gathering input from First Nation leadership and citizens on the impacts the repeal of section 67 would have in their communities. Many First Nations voiced concerns regarding the impacts to programs and services at the community level, including impacts on lands, facilities and buildings.
The AFN will continue to make efforts to ensure First Nations are aware of this change and its implications and will work with organizations like the Canadian Human Rights Commission to assist and support First Nations with its implementation in communities.