Indigenous peoples have the right to make their own decisions about how and when their lands and resources will be used and developed.
This right of free, prior and informed consent or FPIC provides a vital safeguard for distinctive cultures and ways of life that have long been marginalized and discriminated against.
The right of FPIC is set out in numerous provisions of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in countless rulings and statements from international human rights bodies. The standard has been adopted by the International Financial Corporation – the arm of the World Bank responsible for private sector investment - and endorsed by leading sectors of global industry.
Unfortunately, Canada has lagged behind these international standards. For years, the federal government denied any legal obligation to obtain the consent of Indigenous peoples - even when Canadian courts said otherwise. In contrast, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau federal government has made numerous commitments, both direct and indirect, to support free, prior, and informed consent. It's crucial that they now prioritize turning these promises into action.