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October 31, 2023
There is “much that needs to be improved” in the Indigenous Languages Act, says Ronald E. Ignace, but the federal legislation provides a starting point.
“One of the things in the co-development of the act, one of the things that we wanted to ensure, is that the act be like a living agreement, that it will grow with us through time,” said Ignace.
He was appointed in 2021 as Canada’s first commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages (OCIL). His appointment came two years after the Indigenous Languages Act was passed. And only this past June was the commission’s head office officially opened in Ottawa.
The legislation recognizes the “rights of Indigenous peoples related to Indigenous laws,” but its power comes in the implementation process, says Ignace.