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Abstract

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly promised to meet the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a framework for reconciliation. This commitment is significant as Canada’s position on UNDRIP has been highly contested. In particular, the compatibility of UNDRIP’s Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) standard with Canadian law has been repeatedly called into question. This work evaluates the possibility and importance of implementing FPIC in Canada. It begins with an overview of FPIC internationally and of FPIC in relation to Canadian law. It then suggests potential policy measures to implement two key articles of UNDRIP containing FPIC requirements. To meet Article 32’s FPIC requirement for project approvals for development on their territory, this work draws upon Assembly of First Nations recommendations in suggesting amendments to environmental assessment processes. To implement Article 19’s FPIC requirement for legislative and administrative measures affecting Indigenous Peoples, it suggests revisiting the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People’s recommendation for a House of First Peoples (or Aboriginal Parliament) and informs this suggestion with reflection on the Sámi peoples’ experience with the Sámi Parliament in Norway.