Assembly of First Nations – Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities
I am writing to inform you about the Assembly of First Nations – Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities that I signed today with Prime Minister Trudeau on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa. The MOU is attached for your reference.
The MOU establishes a commitment for Canada to meet with the AFN at least three times a year, with one of those meetings being chaired by the Prime Minister. The purpose of these meetings is to help ensure that the government’s priorities are consistent with First Nations priorities. First Nations will set direction for these meetings and the AFN will ensure we are making progress on an agenda as determined by First Nations.
These meetings are not a decision-making table. They will be used to mark progress on priorities and to identify key issues and solutions to barriers facing First Nations in advancing their rights and objectives. The priorities under the MOU will be reviewed on an annual basis.
The MOU was originally raised at a meeting on December 15, 2016, with Prime Minister Trudeau and several cabinet ministers, to mark the first anniversary of the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The Prime Minister expressed his interest in establishing processes to discuss areas of mutual interest.
We provided a Bulletin to you about this meeting on December 16 of last year. The AFN Executive has been provided updates on this work, and there was agreement to proceed at our most recent Executive Meeting.
I believe that First Nations need to be engaging on a regular basis with the key people making federal laws and policies in order to affect and implement proper changes that respect inherent Indigenous and Treaty rights. These meetings are part of that approach. During my term, Prime Minister Trudeau has addressed the Chiefs-in-Assembly on two occasions, the first time a sitting Prime Minister has addressed our leaders from across Turtle Island. AFN Assemblies and AFN Executive Meetings regularly feature involvement from senior Cabinet ministers and officials. The MOU signed today is part of this ongoing engagement.
If you would like more information about the Assembly of First Nations – Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Priorities please contact my office.