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Prime Minister Trudeau yesterday released new mandate letters to cabinet ministers including the Ministers of Environment and Climate Change and Natural Resources, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Every minister has been directed to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (read our earlier bulletin here).   This bulletin summarizes key climate, energy, and Indigenous objectives highlighted in the ministers’ new mandates:   Environment and Climate Change Minister Guilbeault’s mandate letter situates the minister as the key driver of the federal government’s Climate Plan, delivering on policy and fiscal measures provided in the Strengthened Climate Plan and adopting measures to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.    Key objectives include: Implement the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, and bring forward an updated Emissions Reduction Plan to achieve a 40 to 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels. Cap oil and gas sector emissions at current levels and ensure that the sector makes an ambitious and achievable contribution to meeting the 2030 climate goals. Develop a plan to reduce economy-wide methane emissions consistent with the Global Methane Pledge and require through regulations the reduction of oil and gas methane emissions in Canada by at least 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030. Support the global effort to phase out coal-powered electricity and the mining of thermal coal, and ban thermal coal exports from and through Canada no later than 2030. Work with industry, labour, and other stakeholders to develop a regulated sales mandate that at least 50 per cent of all new light-duty vehicle sales be zero emissions vehicles in 2030, toward achieving Canada’s mandatory target of 100 per cent by 2035. Introduce a Clean Electricity Standard to achieve a net-zero clean electricity grid by 2035. Finalize Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy in 2022. Work with relevant ministries,…

Bill C-15, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (the Act), received Royal Assent on June 21, 2021. The Act affirms the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a universal international human rights instrument applicable in Canadian law and seeks to provide a framework for its implementation in Canada. This bulletin provides an overview of the implications and key aspects of the Act. Implications of the Act. The Act is widely seen as the first step in the domestic implementation of UNDRIP in Canada and follows similar legislation adopted by British Columbia in 2019. The Act does not itself implement UNDRIP into Canadian law but provides a pathway for its adoption and application, commensurate with Canadian law and the framework for recognizing the rights of Indigenous peoples provided under Canada’s Constitution. It is not yet clear to what extent Canadian law will be made consistent with certain provisions of UNDRIP, specifically the right of Indigenous peoples to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) for actions that may affect their rights, resources, and traditional territories. It is, however, probable that the use of UNDRIP as a tool for the interpretation of rights and statutes is likely to increase, in light of the Act, as laws are amended and adopted, in order to ensure or improve consistency with UNDRIP. Rights of Indigenous peoples. Section 2(2) provides that the Act upholds, and does not abrogate or derogate from, the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.   Consistency with UNDRIP. Section 5 provides that the Government of Canada must take all measures to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with UNDRIP. Action Plan. Section 6 provides that the Minister designated by the Governor in Council pursuant to section 3 (the Minister), must prepare…