Learn about our reconciliation strategy, including vision, action areas, principles and how we measure results.
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard have a key role in the transformation of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. We recognize that fisheries, oceans, aquatic habitat and marine waterways are of great social, cultural, spiritual and economic importance to many Indigenous peoples. We’re committed to building renewed nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
As part of this commitment, we have developed the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard Reconciliation Strategy. As part of our efforts to Igniting a Culture Change, this strategy is a:
- description of our approach to advancing reconciliation
- long-term roadmap for advancing meaningful reconciliation
- guidance document explaining why and how reconciliation matters in our day-to-day work
- reporting tool to hold us publicly accountable for completing actions and achieving results that support reconciliation
What it means to Ignite a Culture Change
Ignite a Culture Change is a National Indigenous Fisheries Institute logo and a message borne out of Indigenous Program Review. During this review, Indigenous peoples called for a cultural change to take place at the Department by approaching the renewal of programs and practises through the lens of truth and reconciliation – and the long-term goal of a balanced relationship with Indigenous communities.
This means understanding, valuing and respecting Indigenous rights and knowledge; particularly, section 35.1 Constitutional rights and resource management practise. It also means recognizing the Department’s and Canada’s historical relationships with Indigenous peoples, including court cases and other events which defined these relationships over time.
The strategy includes:
- a vision
- concrete actions
- principles to guide the implementation of the actions
- anticipated results
Each section attempts to answer key questions about reconciliation at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard. We’ll work directly with Indigenous partners and departmental stakeholders in the evolution and implementation of the strategy.
We developed the strategy internally, based on federal policy directions and feedback from engagement activities with Indigenous peoples and departmental stakeholders. However, the strategy is a living document. It will evolve over the years to respond to feedback and build upon achieved successes and experience.
Reconciliation is an ongoing journey and ever-evolving relationship. All sections of the strategy, including the vision, are subject to change as we continue to build our relationship with Indigenous peoples.
The vision describes what reconciliation could look like in the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard portfolio.
It includes the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canadian Coast Guard commitment to reconciliation and 3 proposed long-term objectives.
We acknowledge that reconciliation is:
- a long-term commitment
- rooted in the Canada’s commitment to build a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples that are:
- based on:
- the recognition of rights
We’re committed to recognizing and implementing Indigenous and treaty rights related to:
- aquatic habitat
- marine waterways
This will be done in a manner consistent with:
- section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982
- the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- the federal Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples
To interpret what the federal commitment to reconciliation means, we’ve set out 3 long-term objectives:
- strengthened Indigenous-Crown relationship
- recognized self-determination
- reduced socio-economic gaps
These proposed objectives and their short interpretations aren’t final, nor are they intended to be an attempt to define what reconciliation means to Indigenous peoples. Rather, they’re meant to show what reconciliation could mean in the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard portfolio.
The objectives are based on previous and ongoing day-to-day engagement with Indigenous partners. They’ll continue to evolve as we build our relationship with Indigenous partners and engage key stakeholders and other federal departments.
Our reconciliation strategy actions are spread across 5 areas:
- enhancing internal capacity to deliver on reconciliation, including:
- increasing employee awareness and knowledge of Indigenous peoples and history
- improving the tone of communication with Indigenous peoples
- reviewing operational practices
- ensuring Indigenous engagement becomes part of how every sector operates
- transforming laws and policies, including:engaging Indigenous peoples on laws and co-developing policies that affect their rights and interests
- negotiating treaty and non-treaty agreements, including:developing, negotiating, and implementing formal agreements that recognize Indigenous rights and interests related to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard portfolio
- building decision-making and collaborative management processes with Indigenous peoples wherever their rights are affected
- enhancing economic opportunities and capacity, such ascreating increased and diversified economic development and capacity-building opportunities with and for Indigenous peoples
We have recently completed the Indigenous Program Review. Work is underway with Indigenous partners to implement the Action Plan for the Renewal and Expansion of DFO’s Indigenous Programs.
We’ve developed principles to ensure we’re mindful of our commitment to reconciliation every day. Like the rest of the strategy, they were informed by feedback from engagement activities with Indigenous peoples. The principles guide us in all aspects of our day-to-day work, as well as while we’re completing the concrete actions.
Our guiding principles start with remembering and acknowledging the historic relationship we have with Indigenous peoples. We’re committed to taking the time required to advance reconciliation, acknowledging that building relationships takes time.
Other guiding principles include:
- building on the strengths of our existing:
- collaborating with Indigenous peoples in renewing:
- operational practices
- supporting operational predictability and stability in the portfolio
- adjusting approaches based on distinct needs and differences that are:
- where feasible, combining activities to facilitate efficient processes and capacity building
- ensuring coordination within our department and with other government departments
- being inclusive of:
- provincial and territorial governments
- all Canadians
We’re using the Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory to track our results. This lets us measure the initiatives’ results and see how daily activities are affecting the reconciliation agenda.
This process makes sure we’re held publicly accountable for reconciliation actions and results. The results progression in the strategy shows the link between our actions and the vision. We support each long-term objective with a results progression that shows how the actions will affect the objectives over time.
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