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IN JUNE 2018, Yellowhead published a critical analysis of the emerging Indigenous Rights Framework. In that analysis we noted that if all the proposed legislation affecting Indigenous peoples were to pass, the Trudeau Liberals would be the most active government on Indigenous issues in 100 years.

At the end of this parliamentary session and the official end of the Government’s current four-year mandate, we can now more clearly take stock of the legislation affecting Indigenous peoples that actually made it through the legislative process.

The charts below show:

  1. Government Bills (introduced by the Liberal cabinet) and Self-government specific legislation;
  2. Private Members Bills, and
  3. Senate Bills.

Across this spectrum,  those shaded in green are the Bills that have become law, those red are Bills that were voted down or those which were stuck in the legislative process with Parliament rose.

Considering the Bills that did become law, the Liberal Government was very active on Indigenous-specific legislation and legislation that impacts Indigenous peoples in a significant way.

They passed 16 of these laws, most of them in the last year. More than that, 21, were introduced but not passed. This includes Romeo Saganash’s C-262, the UNDRIP law. In fact, not a single private member’s bill affecting Indigenous peoples has become law.

It is important to note that this chart does not fully capture all the amendments made to previous First Nation-specific legislation and buried in the omni-bus budget bills of 2018 and 2019. Nor does it include the significant policy changes enacted over the course of this government’s life, from a new fiscal regime to land claim negotiation directives.

While there is much analysis of each of these pieces of legislation to do, this Brief hopefully provides an overview of the outgoing Government’s priorities and the scope of the changes facing First Nations. With so much of this legislation being passed recently, whether it was “co-developed” or not, discussion can now turn to implementation (or, in contrast, preventing implementation).

Click here to download a hyperlinked PDF of a status overview of the legislation affecting Indigenous peoples.

Citation: Yellowhead Institute. “Legislation Affecting Indigenous People: An Overview of the Liberal Record.” Yellowhead Institute. 27 June 2019,
Yellowhead Institute

Yellowhead Institute

Yellowhead Institute is an Indigenous-led research and education centre based in the Faculty of Arts at X University in Toronto, Ontario. The Institute privileges Indigenous philosophy and amplifies Indigenous voices that provide critiques and alternatives to settler colonialism in Canada today. Rooted in community networks, Yellowhead offers critical and accessible resources to support the reclamation of Indigenous land and life.