Federal Ministers to meet with provincial and territorial counterparts for first summit on human rights in almost 30 years

News Release

December 8, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Government of Canada

Canada’s commitment to human rights is rooted in the belief that these rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent. A renewed commitment is required to realize the full potential of human rights for marginalized groups who continue to face great challenges, including women and girls, Indigenous peoples, faith communities, people of colour, linguistic minorities, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ2 persons, and persons with disabilities, among others.

On Sunday, December 10, 2017, Canadians and people around the world will celebrate Human Rights Day, marking the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the following two days, December 11-12, 2017, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers will gather in Gatineau, Quebec to talk about key priorities for Canada on human rights and how they can work together to ensure that Canada continues to comply with its international human rights obligations and be a leader in this field on the world stage. This will be the first formal gathering of federal, provincial and territorial ministers on the topic of human rights since 1988.

Ministers will also be meeting with the leaders of National Indigenous Organizations and representatives from other Indigenous groups, human rights commissions, as well as civil organizations, to hear their perspectives on Canada’s human rights priorities.  


“For the first time in almost 30 years, Ministers from across the country will gather to talk about human rights in Canada. Our Government remains committed to working in closer collaboration with our provincial,  territorial, and Indigenous partners in implementing our international human rights obligations and commitments, including the shift towards basing relations with Indigenous peoples on the recognition of Indigenous rights. I very much look forward to next week and to having productive discussions.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“This much anticipated meeting comes at a key moment, as we celebrate Human Rights Day and reflect on the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These upcoming discussions with our counterparts will help provide a deeper understanding of how we can continue to advance human rights both at home and abroad, as well as set the stage for greater engagement with Canadians on the protection and promotion of these rights.”
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism

Quick Facts

  • The meeting will begin the day after Human Rights Day, celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which will turn 70 next year. 

  • The last time FPT governments got together to discuss human rights priorities was in 1988.

  • This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Human Rights Act, as well as the 35th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Section 35 of the Constitution.

Associated Links


For more information, media may contact:

Kathleen Davis

Office of the Minister of Justice Canada



Media Relations

Department of Justice Canada




Simon Ross, Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Media Relations Office
Canadian Heritage





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