Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from Parkdale—High Park.
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that the Parliament of Canada is on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
In December 2020, our government introduced Bill C-15, an act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since then, I have received many letters, calls and emails from my constituents in Mile End, Outremont and Côte-des-Neiges. They asked me to pass the bill quickly, and they urge the House to do more to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples.
Most of the people who contacted me told me that they were not indigenous. They were proud to say that as Montrealers, Quebeckers and Canadians, the nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples was important to them. It is an issue that speaks to the foundation of our Canadian identity, no matter our background.
We must correct past injustices as much as we can and continue to move forward on the path to reconciliation. Through Bill C-15, an act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we are taking another step along that path. As its name suggests, Bill C-15 seeks to protect and promote indigenous rights, including the rights to equality and non-discrimination, in order to establish stronger relations with indigenous peoples.
The bill provides the necessary legislative framework for Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Through this bill, the Government of Canada will be required to collaborate with indigenous peoples on developing an action plan to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP. If passed, this bill will represent another major step forward in our shared journey toward reconciliation.
Passing Bill C-15, which would ensure consistency between Canadian laws and the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP, is an important step forward on the path to reconciliation. The bill requires the development of an action plan to implement the objectives of UNDRIP and requires the ongoing involvement of indigenous peoples at all stages, while mandating annual reports to Parliament.
Bill C-15 would enshrine the principles of UNDRIP, which include affirming the general application of international human rights laws to indigenous peoples; the right to participate in decision-making, with free, prior and informed consent; the right to culture, religious and linguistic identity; the protection of treaties and agreements with first nations; and of course the protection of the rights of indigenous women, including an obligation for governments to work with indigenous peoples to end violence against indigenous women.
Let us talk for a moment about what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada chose to uphold.
The findings and evidence of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada forced us to confront the discriminatory and oppressive practices that continued unabated for nearly 150 years in Canada's residential schools. In addition to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's calls to action 43 and 44, which call on the government to adopt and fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and develop an action plan to achieve its objectives, all of the calls to action cite the UNDRIP. Our commitment to upholding indigenous rights by acknowledging and redressing the damage caused by assimilation policies and practices is unwavering.
Passing Bill C-15 will not only address calls to action 43 and 44, but will also provide the Government of Canada with a framework for broader reconciliation.
I would also like to talk about what our government is doing right now to demonstrate our commitment to our first nations.
Throughout the pandemic, our government has shown its commitment to supporting indigenous communities in very real and tangible ways. Let us look for a moment at our vaccine rollout.
We know that remote indigenous communities are more at risk of getting COVID-19 and that health systems in those communities are more vulnerable to outbreaks. That is why we as a government prioritized indigenous communities in the procurement and delivery of vaccines for COVID-19.
To date, nearly 300,000 doses have been administered in first nations, Inuit and Métis communities, with over 50% of people having already received a COVID-19 vaccine. In the Northwest Territories, 55% of the entire population has received a first dose. In the Yukon, 59% of the population has received one dose, and already 43% has received both doses. This accelerated rollout has contributed to a dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases in our indigenous communities, with a decline of 80%. That is something we can all be proud of.
Let us also discuss for a moment where we are with respect to eliminating boil water advisories. Like many in the House, I am sincerely troubled by the fact that any boil water advisory still exists in any corner of our country, but real progress has been made and is sometimes overlooked.
When our government came into power, there were 105 boil water advisories in the country. We have eliminated 106 of them, and as of March 2021, 177 short-term drinking water advisories were also lifted. In fact, access to clean water has been restored to approximately 5,920 homes in first nations communities. I know and understand that much more work still needs to be done on this, but never before have we had a federal government in Canada that is more committed to getting that work done.
We have also made historic investments in education, housing, police services and shelters in indigenous communities.
The 2020 fall economic statement includes an additional investment of $781.5 million over five years starting this year as well as ongoing funding in the amount of $106.3 million to fight systemic discrimination against indigenous peoples and expand efforts to fight violence against indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2 and two-spirit people.
These proposed investments include the following amounts: $724.1 million to launch a comprehensive violence prevention strategy to expand access to culturally relevant supports for indigenous women, children and LGBTQ2 and two-spirit people facing gender-based violence; $49.3 million to support the implementation of Gladue principles in the justice system in order to help reduce the overrepresentation of indigenous peoples in the criminal justice and correctional systems; and $8.1 million to develop administration of justice agreements with indigenous communities to strengthen community-based justice systems and support self-determination.
There is still a lot of work to do, but we are working even harder.
Bill C-15 is an action plan that will confirm that the declaration is a universal human rights instrument that applies to Canadian law and provides a framework for the Government of Canada's implementation of the declaration. It is an essential step toward reconciliation, and it is long overdue.
I therefore ask all members of the House to pass Bill C-15 as soon as possible.