Free, Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC) Factsheet

2018, 4 pp

Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination which the United Nations recognizes as a fundamental human right. This includes the right to determine their own priorities and control how their lands and resources will be used and for what purposes. First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples also have the right to fully participate in federal, provincial and territorial decision-making processes that impact their rights. The federal, provincial and territorial governments also have a responsibility to ensure that their decisions, and those of third parties, do not contribute to further harms to Indigenous peoples.

In this broad context, Indigenous peoples have a clear right to determine for themselves whether to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘yes with conditions’, whenever governments or corporations propose actions that could impact their lives, lands, jurisdictions and futures. The exercise of this aspect of the right to self-determination is known as "free, prior and informed consent" or FPIC.

This is a clear and informative factsheet that provides answers and clarification along the following topics:

  • FPIC matters
  • What does FPIC require?
  • Indigenous peoples’ right to grant or withhold consent is foundational in Canadian history and law
  • Free, prior and informed consent enables federal, provincial and territorial governments to meet their constitutional obligations
  • Respect for FPIC required by international law
  • FPIC requirements in international law have legal implications in Canada
  • Governments must do more than merely ‘seek consent’
  • When does FPIC apply?
  • FPIC is not an ‘absolute veto’
  • Who has the right to grant or withhold
  • FPIC on behalf of an Indigenous nation?
  • Support for FPIC is growing

This factsheet is endorsed by the following:
Amnesty International Canada; Assembly of First Nations; BC Assembly of First Nations; Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers); First Nations Summit; Grand Council Of The Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/ Cree Nation Government; Kairos: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives; Native Women’s Association Of Canada; Union of BC Indian Chiefs; Dr. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Expert Member, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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