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House Government Bill
42nd Parliament, 1st Session
December 3, 2015 - September 11, 2019
Text of the Bill
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An Act respecting Indigenous languages
Short Title
Indigenous Languages Act
Statute of Canada
2019, c. 23
Last Stage Completed
Royal Assent (2019-06-21)
Progress: Royal Assent
Legislative Summary
The pre-release version of this Legislative Summary is now available. Parliamentarians and their staff can obtain a copy by submitting a request or contacting the Library of Parliament. Members of the public can obtain a copy by contacting the Information Service at the Library of Parliament at

On 5 February 2019, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism introduced Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages (Indigenous Languages Act), in the House of Commons and it was given first reading.

Bill C-91 provides, among other things, that

(a) the Government of Canada recognizes that the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 include rights related to Indigenous languages;
(b) the Minister of Canadian Heritage may enter into different types of agreements or arrangements in respect of Indigenous languages with Indigenous governments or other Indigenous governing bodies or Indigenous organizations, taking into account the unique circumstances and needs of Indigenous groups, communities and peoples; and
(c) federal institutions may cause documents to be translated into an Indigenous language or provide interpretation services to facilitate the use of an Indigenous language.

The enactment also establishes the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages and sets out its composition. The Office’s mandate and powers, duties and functions include

(a) supporting the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages;
(b) promoting public awareness of, among other things, the richness and diversity of Indigenous languages;
(c) undertaking research or studies in respect of the provision of funding for the purposes of supporting Indigenous languages and in respect of the use of Indigenous languages in Canada;
(d) providing services, including mediation or other culturally appropriate services, to facilitate the resolution of disputes; and
(e) submitting to the Minister of Canadian Heritage an annual report on, among other things, the use and vitality of Indigenous languages in Canada and the adequacy of funding provided by the Government of Canada for initiatives related to Indigenous languages.
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