Dear Minister Miller:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
From the beginning of this pandemic, Canadians have faced a once-in-a-century challenge. And through it all, from coast to coast to coast, people have met the moment. When it mattered most, Canadians adapted, helped one another, and stayed true to our values of compassion, courage and determination. That is what has defined our path through this pandemic so far. And that is what will pave our way forward.
During a difficult time, Canadians made a democratic choice. They entrusted us to finish the fight against COVID-19 and support the recovery of a strong middle class. At the same time, they also gave us clear direction: to take bold, concrete action to build a healthier, more resilient future. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and it is exactly what our Government is ready to deliver. We will work to build that brighter future through continued collaboration, engagement, and the use of science and evidence-based decision-making. With an unwavering focus on delivering results, we will work constructively with Parliamentarians and maintain our strong partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners. This decade has had an incredibly difficult start, but this is the moment to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and stronger country for everyone.
The science is clear. Canadians have been clear. We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further. As Canadians are increasingly experiencing across the country, climate change is an existential threat. Building a cleaner, greener future will require a sustained and collaborative effort from all of us. As Minister, I expect you to seek opportunities within your portfolio to support our whole-of-government effort to reduce emissions, create clean jobs and address the climate-related challenges communities are already facing.
This year, Canadians were horrified by the discovery of unmarked graves and burial sites near former residential schools. These discoveries underscore that we must move faster on the path of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth and our Government will continue to invest in that truth. As Ministers, each of us has a duty to further this work, both collectively and as individuals. Consequently, I am directing every Minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights.
We must continue to address the profound systemic inequities and disparities that remain present in the core fabric of our society, including our core institutions. To this effect, it is essential that Canadians in every region of the country see themselves reflected in our Government’s priorities and our work. As Minister, I expect you to include and collaborate with various communities, and actively seek out and incorporate in your work, the diverse views of Canadians. This includes women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, faith-based communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and, in both official languages.
Across our work, we remain committed to ensuring that public policies are informed and developed through an intersectional lens, including applying frameworks such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and the quality of life indicators in decision-making.
Canadians continue to rely on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news. I expect you to maintain professional and respectful relationships with journalists to ensure that Canadians are well informed and have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, Canadians and their governments have adapted to new realities. Governments must draw on lessons learned from the pandemic to further adapt and develop more agile and effective ways to serve Canadians. To this end, I expect all Ministers to evaluate ways we can update our practices to ensure our Government continues to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The success of this Parliament will require Parliamentarians, both in the House of Commons and the Senate, to work together across all parties to get big things done for Canadians. I expect you to maintain constructive relationships with your Opposition Critics and coordinate any legislation with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. As Minister, you are accountable to Parliament both individually, for your style of leadership and the performance of your responsibilities, and collectively, in support of our Ministry and decisions taken by Cabinet. Open and Accountable Government sets out these core principles and the standards of conduct expected of you and your office. I expect you to familiarize yourself with this document, which outlines my expectations for each member of the Ministry.
Our platform lays out an ambitious agenda. While finishing the fight against the pandemic must remain our central focus, we must continue building a strong middle class and work toward a better future where everyone has a real and fair chance at success and no one is left behind.
As Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, your first and foremost priority is to work in full partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to continue building nation to nation relationships and support self-determination, including supporting First Nations communities as they transition to self-government and move away from the Indian Act. Your immediate priority is to provide the necessary supports for communities as they undertake searches of unmarked graves and burial sites at residential schools, and ensure supports for healing and commemoration to preserve and protect the rights and dignity of children who never made it home. It is critical that you lead the work of all Ministers to accelerate the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action and implement the 2021 Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People, including providing sustainable resources to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and advance the 2021 National Action Plan to address missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.
- Work with the Minister of Indigenous Services to address the history and legacy of residential schools, including by continuing to provide the necessary supports to communities who wish to continue to undertake the work of burial searches at the sites of former residential schools and other federally-run institutions, such as day schools and Indian hospitals.
- Provide funding towards the construction of a permanent home for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and ensure it has sustained financial resources to successfully fulfil its mandate, with dedicated ongoing support for the work on missing children and unmarked graves.
- Continue to lead and coordinate the work required of all ministers to accelerate the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. You will be supported by the Minister of Indigenous Services.
- With the support of all relevant ministers, including the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth and the Minister of Indigenous Services, work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis leadership, Survivors, families and communities to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people by accelerating the implementation of the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. In addition, work with Indigenous partners, provinces and territories to support the implementation of the 2021 MMIWG and 2SLGBTQQIA+ National Action Plan.
- With the Minister of Indigenous Services, continue to work with First Nations partners to ensure fair and equitable compensation for those harmed by the First Nations Child and Family Services program and to ensure the long-term reform of child and family services in First Nations communities, including to help children and families stay together and provide First Nations youth who reach the age of majority the supports they need for up to two additional years.
- With the Minister of Indigenous Services, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, continue to make immediate and long term investments to support ongoing work to close the infrastructure gap by 2030, with a particular focus on expediting investments in Indigenous housing, with over half of the funding available by the upcoming summer construction period, while concurrently working to establish Indigenous-led institutions to build housing and infrastructure.
- Continue to support Indigenous-led processes for rebuilding and reconstituting their nations and advancing self-determination, and work in partnership on the implementation of the spirt and intent of treaties, and land claim and self-government agreements with appropriate oversight mechanisms to hold the federal government accountable.
- Support the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act across government.
- Support the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth in the evaluation process of GBA Plus with the goal of enhancing the framing and parameters of this analytical tool and with particular attention to the intersectional analysis of race, indigeneity, rurality, disability and sexual identity, among other characteristics.
- Work with Indigenous partners and relevant Ministers to accelerate the Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-determination processes, with particular focus on reforming federal government structures, notably to support self-determination consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Accelerate ongoing work with First Nations to redesign federal policies on additions-to-reserves and the Specific Claims process to provide just and timely resolution, conscious of the need for a fairer and more equitable process, accelerate the resolution of outstanding land claims and, as set out in our permanent bilateral process, meet regularly with the Assembly of First Nations and rights holders to make progress on First Nations priorities.
- Work with existing and traditional Indigenous governments and leaders, whose nations and forms of governance were suppressed and ignored historically by the federal government, to restore respectful nation-to-nation relations, in the spirit of self-determination, by renewing and updating treaty relationships where they exist, including pre-confederation treaties, and by seeking viable, trusting and respectful relationships where no treaty exists.
- Work with Inuit to finalize a co-developed Inuit Nunangat Policy and accelerate its implementation, continue work to fully implement Inuit land claim agreements and, as set out in our permanent bilateral process, meet regularly through the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee to make progress on Inuit priorities.
- Continue moving forward on Self Government Recognition and Implementation Agreements with the Manitoba Métis Federation, the Métis Nation of Alberta, the Métis Nation of Ontario, and the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, and on the Self-Government Framework Agreement with the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, and, as set out in our permanent bilateral process, meet regularly with Métis Nation partners to make progress on Métis priorities.
- Support the Minister of Public Safety in their work with First Nations partners to co-develop a legislative framework for First Nations policing, and on continuing to engage with Inuit and Métis on policing matters.
- Support the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system, including the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy, in consultation and cooperation with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners.
- In close collaboration with the Minister of Indigenous Services, the Minister of Northern Affairs and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, work with First Nations and provincial and territorial government partners to strengthen the governance and service delivery for First Nations emergency preparedness, management and recovery.
- In collaboration with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Indigenous Services, continue to work in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation to address climate change and its impacts, and chart collaborative strategies.
- Support the Minister of Northern Affairs in continued work with Inuit to improve food security in Inuit Nunangat, including through the Harvesters Support Grant and the Nutrition North Canada program, amended to make it more transparent and responsive to Inuit needs.
As Minister, you are also responsible for actively engaging with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. As we deliver on our platform commitments, it will be important that members of the Ministry continue to collaborate and work constructively to support rigorous and productive Cabinet decision-making. I expect you to support your colleagues in delivering their commitments, leveraging the expertise of your department and your own lived experiences.
To best achieve results for Canadians, Ministers must be rigorous and coordinated in our approach to implementation. I would therefore ask that you return to me with a proposed approach for the delivery of your mandate commitments, including priorities for early implementation. Furthermore, to ensure we are accountable for our work, I will be asking you to publicly report to me, and all Canadians, on your progress toward these commitments on a regular basis.
As we have been reminded throughout the pandemic, adapting to change is not only something government should do, it is something government must do. As you work to fulfil our commitments, I expect you to actively consider new ideas and issues as they emerge, whether through public engagement, your work with Parliamentarians or advice from the public service. I also expect you to work with your Deputy Minister to assess priorities on a continual basis as we build a better future for all Canadians. In addition to achieving results, you are responsible for overseeing the work of your department and ensuring the effective operation of your portfolio.
As you staff your office and implement outreach and recruitment strategies for federally appointed leadership positions and boards, I ask that you uphold the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. This helps ensure that federal workplaces are dynamic and reflective of the Canadians we serve. You will also ensure your Minister’s office and portfolio are reflective of our commitment to healthy and safe workplaces.
Canadians expect us to work hard, speak truthfully and be committed to advancing their interests and aspirations. When we make mistakes – as we all will – Canadians expect us to acknowledge them, and most importantly, to learn from them.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you, and to turn to me, and the Deputy Prime Minister, early and often to support you in your role as Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
*This Ministerial Mandate Letter was signed by the Prime Minister in the Minister’s first official language.