IMFG Paper | 2021

Indigenous-Municipal Legal and Governance Relationships

Close to half of all Indigenous Peoples in Canada live in urban areas. Although the Canadian constitution and case law set out the responsibilities of provincial and federal governments to Indigenous Peoples, they shed little light on the relationships between Indigenous communities and municipalities.

In a new paper for the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), Doug Anderson and Alexandra Flynn describe evolving Canadian municipal relationships with Indigenous Peoples and call attention to an urgent need to review Indigenous-municipal relationships across Canada.

The paper argues that municipalities should look beyond debates over the “duty to consult” and whether it applies to them. Instead, Anderson and Flynn suggest that municipalities should move towards reciprocal and respectful relationships with Indigenous communities that recognize and endorse Indigenous rights and responsibilities. Such a process could include the following: ensuring that the practice and revitalization of Indigenous cultural traditions and customs take place without interference from municipal bylaws, increasing Indigenous representation on governing bodies, and entering into protocols and agreements with First Nations on lands bordering municipal boundaries and with Indigenous Peoples living in cities.

Read the paper

Read the one-page summary

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