Updates: Repealing S. 43 & Canada’s fourth Universal Periodic Review 

Repealing S. 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada: Bill C-273 passed the vote at Canada’s Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. It will now go to the House for a vote. If it passes, it will go through readings at the Senate. We will keep you posted. A big thank you to everyone who submitted letters and continue to support the repeal. Your advocacy makes a difference. 

Canada’s fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome was adopted at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on March 25, 2024. You can watch Canada’s response on UN Web TV.

During the outcome adoption, Ambassador Leslie E. Norton, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN in Geneva, spoke to the voluntary commitments made by Canada related to the recommendations stemming from the UPR (see points below). One such voluntary commitment was the pledge to table the UPR national report and response in Parliament, as per recommendation 46.

On Tuesday, April 30, 2024, Canada’s UPR report and response were tabled in Parliament. Tabling the report and response is intended to increase the awareness of the recommendations received by UN Member States among Members of Parliament across the country. 

The tabling of the report and response are available for viewing at the following link. (Note that the tabling is at position 10:09 of the video.)

List of Voluntary Commitments: 

  • Guidance on Consulting and Cooperating with Indigenous Peoples: Canada commits to developing comprehensive guidance on consulting and cooperating with Indigenous Peoples regarding natural resources projects affecting their lands or territories to ensure their free, prior, and informed consent.
  • Comprehensive Approach to Combat Anti-Indigenous Racism: Canada commits to co-develop a comprehensive approach to combat anti-Indigenous racism and hate, including addressing anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health system and are working to improve access to high quality health care services for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, including through co-developing legislation and addressing inequalities in the Indian Act.
  • Addressing Overrepresentation in the Criminal Justice System: Recognizing the systemic discrimination and colonial legacies contributing to the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system, Canada is committed to taking actions to address these factors and improve our criminal justice system. Canada continues to implement and develop reintegration initiatives that support federally sentenced Indigenous offenders and their successful transition to the community.
  • Formalizing Indigenous Peoples’ Participation in Human Rights Processes: Canada commits to developing mechanisms to formalize the participation of Indigenous Peoples’ representative institutions in processes supporting the implementation of Canada’s obligations under international human rights treaties.
  • Supporting Self-Determination: Canada is committed to supporting the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. On January 18, 2024, the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut, and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated concluded a landmark agreement to officialize the largest land transfer in Canada’s history. With this agreement, Nunavut and its residents will now be able to make decisions about how public lands, freshwater, and non-renewable resources are used in the territory, and reap the benefits of responsible and sustainable resource development.
  • Combatting all forms of discrimination and hate: Canada is committed to take action to combat hate speech and hate crimes. On February 26, 2024, Canada introduced a federal Parliament Bill C-63, which, if passed into law, will establish a baseline standard for online platforms to better safeguard everyone in Canada from online content that foments hatred. The new Online Harms Act would create and implement a legislative and regulatory framework to target a range of harmful content online. The bill also proposes amendments to the Criminal Code and to the Canadian Human Rights Act to better combat hate speech and hate crimes online and offline, provide improved remedies for victims, and hold individuals accountable for the hatred they spread.
  • Commitment to Strengthening International Cooperation on Anti-Racism Work: The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening international engagement in its anti-racism work. This includes deepening collaboration through the North American Partnership for Equity and Racial Justice, the Canada – Brazil Partnership on Racial Equity and Inclusion, and the Canada-Mexico Action Plan.
  • Provincial Initiative on Anti-Racism: the provincial government of British Columbia commits to increase funding to support the implementation of its anti-racism legislation and associated helpline, which provides 24-hour multilingual services and counselling.
  • Tabling National Report and Response: Canada pledges to table its UPR national report and response to recommendations received in Parliament.
  • Resettlement of Refugees: Canada commits to resettling over 136,000 refugees over the next three years, prioritizing the protection of marginalized groups such as women in precarious situations, ethnic and religious minorities, members of LGBTQI+ communities, Rohingya refugees, and human rights defenders.
  • Contribution to UPR Trust Fund: Canada pledged a contribution of $50,000 to the UPR Trust Fund.

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