The Indigenous Languages Act Receives Royal Assent

News release

OTTAWA, June 21, 2019

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, proudly announced that the Indigenous Languages Act, intended to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen and maintain Indigenous languages in Canada, has received Royal Assent.

The Indigenous Languages Act is a concrete response to the urgent need for action to prevent the erosion and even extinction of some of Canada’s 90 living Indigenous languages. Of these, three out of four are considered “endangered” by UNESCO, which declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

From the outset, a collaborative approach was adopted with Indigenous Peoples. The legislation recognizes and supports all Indigenous languages in Canada and contains mechanisms which will, among other things:

  • recognize Indigenous language rights;
  • support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen and maintain Indigenous languages;
  • establish measures for the provision of long-term, sustainable funding of Indigenous languages;
  • support and promote the use of Indigenous languages;
  • advance the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with regard to Indigenous languages; and
  • establish an Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages.

To support the implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act, Budget 2019 includes an investment of $333.7 million over five years, and $115.7 million annually thereafter.

Quotes

“The Indigenous Languages Act is a concrete expression of the federal government’s commitment to renewing its relationship with Indigenous Peoples through the recognition of rights, respect and cooperation. I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of our Indigenous partner organizations as we jointly developed the legislation and the legislative process. This is a true milestone on the road to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and the Government of Canada intends to continue this collaborative work in the process of implementing the act.”

—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

Quick facts

  • In December 2016, the Government of Canada committed to implementing national legislation on First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages, developed in cooperation with Indigenous Peoples.

  • Since 2017, Canadian Heritage has been working with the three national Indigenous organizations and others to jointly develop the legislation through engagement sessions involving more than 1,200 individuals across the country, as well as online submissions.

  • The legislation was developed to support the meaningful implementation of Calls to Action 13, 14 and 15 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism
819-997-7788

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca


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