By John Ivison: Jun 16, 2011 – 6:24 PM ET
People living on First Nations reserves will have the same human rights protection as other Canadians beginning this weekend, when they will come under the umbrella of the Canadian Human Rights Act for the first time. Previously, the act — which prevents discrimination on grounds of race, religion or gender — did not apply to the Indian Act, the archaic legislation that still governs much of life on reserves.
The impact of its extension to cover First Nations is likely to be more symbolic than practical. But it is another step on what Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan calls his government’s “reconciliation agenda,” which also included the residential school apology and the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is investigating human rights abuses in the residential schools.