An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act
June 12, 2023 – Ottawa, Canada - President Eva Clayton and President Aluki Kotierk, the Co-Chairs of the Land Claims Agreements Coalition, today welcomed the federal government’s introduction into Parliament of Bill S-13, An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act, and expressed their support for its early enactment. The Bill received its First Reading in the Senate on June 8.
Once the Bill is enacted, the amended Interpretation Act will clearly state that all federal laws should be interpreted to uphold the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and not to abrogate or derogate from them. In creating such a general rule of interpretation applying to all federal statutes and regulations, Parliament will be underscoring and giving practical eﬀect to its overall intention to respect Aboriginal and treaty rights.
At the suggestion of Aboriginal representatives, a proposal to amend the Interpretation Act along these lines was ﬁrst made by the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Aﬀairs in 2007 but was not acted upon. However, members of the Land Claims Agreements Coalition, and other Modern Treaty parties, have continued to push for action along these lines.
“Passage of this Bill is something the Land Claims Agreement Coalition has long championed,” said Aluki Kotierk, President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated. “This will be a timely and important accomplishment in the larger project of reconciliation within Canada ''.
Eva Clayton, President of the Nisga’a Lisims Government, added: “We acknowledge and appreciate that the federal government, and especially Minister Lametti, has listened and responded to Indigenous Modern Treaty partners who have been working towards this amendment for more than 20 years. It is a true step in reconciliation and in the active application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.
For more information, contact: Rosanna Nicol, LCAC Coordination, 867-445-3355