About the Committee
INTRODUCTION TO THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE
ON ABORIGINAL PEOPLES
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples is referred, as the Senate may decide, bills, messages, petitions, inquiries, papers, and other matters relating to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples was created by the Senate in 1990, following a motion presented by the Honourable Len Marchand, an Aboriginal senator from British Columbia who later became the committee’s first chair. The Senate Selection Committee nominated the first members of the committee on February 14, 1990. Prior to the creation of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, the Senate Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and on Social Affairs, Science and Technology considered bills that affected Aboriginal peoples.
Over the last few years, the committee received mandates to examine and report on the federal government’s constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and on other matters generally relating to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.
Most recently, the committee completed a 19-month study of First Nations housing and infrastructure on reserve. As part of this study, the committee travelled to First Nations communities in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia to see first-hand the challenges and successes related to housing and infrastructure on reserve. In 2014, the committee tabled an interim report outlining its findings on housing, entitled Housing on First Nation Reserves: Challenges and Successes. The final report, On-Reserve Housing and Infrastructure: Recommendations for Change, was tabled in June 2015.
Other studies completed during the 41st session of Parliament include studies on the question of the recognition of Metis identity in Canada, First Nations education, First Nations elections, implementation of comprehensive land claims agreements and economic development.
SELECTED LEGISLATIVE WORK
In recent years, the committee has considered bills on a number of comprehensive land claims and self-government agreements and on topics such as First Nations elections, the financial accountability and transparency of First Nations, and the safety of drinking water on First Nation lands. These bills were reported without amendment.
Other bills covered issues related to education, land management, self-government, comprehensive land claims, treaty implementation, and resource management.
For information on the current work of the committee, you may wish to review the orders of reference the committee has received from the Senate, or review the committee proceedings. Detailed information on current work of the committee can be found on the parliamentary website at: http://senate-senat.ca/appa.asp.