BC Chamber Applauds New Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

Legislation Signals Beginning of a Long-term Journey Toward Meaningful Reconciliation

Victoria, BC – October 24, 2019: BC Chamber CEO Val Litwin was in Victoria today to witness Minister Scott Fraser introducing new legislation that will create a framework for reconciliation for the BC Government. The government issued a second “business focused” news release after the initial announcement this morning, explaining that the legislation will provide a clear action plan for reconciliation that supports predictability and economic opportunities, while respecting Indigenous human rights. 

“This legislation signals the beginning of a long-term journey toward meaningful reconciliation. But this journey must include collaboration between government, Indigenous Peoples, and the business community. We’re optimistic about the potential here—the legislation introduced today will likely advance reconciliation and equity, and also provide greater certainty for the business community over time.”  says Val Litwin, President & CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce

In 2018, the BC Chamber of Commerce provincial network adopted a resolution (submitted by the Prince Rupert Chamber) to ‘Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’ (UNDRIP). The policy recommends using UNDRIP as the basis for reviewing and reforming laws and policies in BC. The policy resolution also asks government to work with Chambers of Commerce to ensure the standards in the Declaration are incorporated into human rights policies and business practices.

We believe the business community can inform the work ahead by building on its experience of the nearly 500 agreements between business and Indigenous Peoples formed over the last two decades—many of which incorporate UNDRIP principles. The BC Chamber takes the position that implementation is vital—the government must support nation building and capacity building to enable Indigenous Peoples to fully participate in the decision-making process; and at the same time, ensure the legislation creates needed clarity and certainty for businesses, investors, and the people of BC.