The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. The AFN hosts two Assemblies a year where mandates and directives for the organization are established through resolutions directed and supported by the First Nations in Assembly (elected Chiefs or proxies from member First Nations).
In addition to the direction provided by Chiefs of each member First Nation, the AFN is guided by an Executive Committee consisting of an elected National Chief and Regional Chiefs from each province and territory. Representatives from five national councils (Knowledge Keepers, Youth, Veterans, 2SLGBTQQIA+ and Women) support and guide the decisions of the Executive Committee.
The AFN invites qualified individuals, firms, or organizations to submit proposals for provision of professional legal and advisory services to support AFN’s mandated advocacy for First Nations’ full and meaningful participation in Canada’s development of a National Action Plan pursuant to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
The objective for this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to secure a service provider with legal training and capacity, political experience, and a comprehensive understanding of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIPA) to support the AFN in its related advocacy at all levels, to ensure that all policies, legislation, and operational practices of Canada are consistent with First Nations and Treaty rights, the UN Declaration, and Canada’s international obligations. .
The successful individual, firm, or organization will work with AFN and, where appropriate, First Nations to ensure that the National Action Plan mandated by UNDRIPA respects First Nations’ sovereignty and jurisdiction. Historical knowledge of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) and its role, both nationally and internationally, will be considered an asset. Expertise and experience with the federal government’s political and legal processes, particularly regarding legislation specific to First Nations and the UN Declaration, will be a significant asset.
The role of the AFN is to advocate on behalf of First Nations as directed by Chiefs-in-Assembly. This includes facilitation and coordination of national and regional discussions and dialogue, advocacy efforts and campaigns, legal and policy analysis, communicating with governments, including facilitating relationship building between First Nations and the Crown, as well as the public and private sectors where appropriate.
UNDRIPA has three interrelated operational components all of which must be done in consultation and collaboration with First Nations; federal co-development of the National Action Plan, a process for an ongoing and perpetual review of Canada’s laws and policies for compliance with the UN Declaration, and tabling of co-developed annual report to parliament on the progress of implementing the UN Declaration in Canada. The first annual report will be tabled, pursuant to UNDRIPA, on or about June 21, 2022.
AFN Resolution 17/2021, National Action Plan to Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, was passed at the 2021 AFN Special Chiefs Assembly and mandates the AFN to advocate for the full participation of First Nations in the development of a National Action Plan.
This Resolution specifically directs the AFN to:
- Affirm that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act does not domesticate First Nations’ sacred rights affirmed and articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration).
- Confirm that Canada, as a colonial state, does not acquire directly or indirectly any of the rights, privileges, responsibilities, or sacred relationships affirmed in the UN Declaration by virtue of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
- Remind all colonial governments that the UN Declaration does not require the colonial legislations such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act to operationalize and apply the UN Declaration within Canada’s colonial legal systems.
- Call on the Government of Canada to immediately support First Nations, as the rights-holders, in co-developing the National Action Plan called for within two years by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
- Direct the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to advocate for First Nations participation in the creation of the National Action Plan to implement the UN Declaration, and the National Action Plan be voted on by the Chiefsin-Assembly.
- Call on the Government of Canada to immediately provide sufficient resources to support full First Nations participation in the development of the National Action Plan.
- Direct the AFN to hold a Special Chiefs Assembly to discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act as soon as practicable.
- Direct the AFN to report back to the First Nations-in-Assembly at every national gathering on the status of the National Action Plan until that plan is tabled and made public.
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act National Action Plan Advocacy
Scope of Work
The project will support the execution of AFN’s mandate pursuant to Resolution 17/2021, National Action Plan to Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as any future mandates the First Nations-in-Assembly decide until the tabling of the National Action Plan on or about July 21, 2023. The primary focus of this project is supporting AFN’s advocacy as the UNDRIPA National Action Plan is being developed by the Government of Canada in consultation and collaboration with First Nations.
The winning Proponent will be responsible for assisting the AFN in advocating for First Nations full and meaningful participation in the development of the National Action Plan and coordinating with and participating in engagement activities. The final National Action Plan will be used as a foundational document for First Nations and the Government of Canada to move forward on Nation-to-Nation basis to guide the implementation of the UN Declaration in Canada. It is expected that the National Action Plan will interface with the other operative components of UNDRIPA on a go-forward basis.
The work will have four inter-related components that the successful individual, firm, or organization will execute synergistically from the initiation of contract until the AFN Annual General Assembly in July 2023:
- Legal, political, and policy analysis, as well as the development of associated recommendations to AFN on key issues, developments, draft documents, submissions (and similar materials) as the Government of Canada engages First Nations on the development of the UNDRIPA National Action Plan to June 21, 2023.
- Provision of support, as requested, to the AFN Chiefs Committee on the UNDRIPA National Action Plan, regular monthly meetings to June 21, 2023, and others, as needed, on issues of interest.
- Analytical support for, and as requested, participation in, AFN’s direct and distinct engagements with First Nations on the UNDRIPA National Action Plan. AFN’s engagements to guide its advocacy will likely comprise no less than two preliminary engagements, in a hybrid (in-person/virtual) format in 2022-early 2023, as well as two National Policy Forums in 2023 in a hybrid format, as well as a dedicated Special Chiefs Assembly in hybrid format on UNDRIPA in 2023. This will also include analysis for, and where appropriate participation in, all forthcoming AFN formal Assemblies (Annual General Assemblies and Special Chiefs Assemblies) to July 2023.
- Analytical support, and where requested participation in, formal and informal interfaces between AFN and the Government of Canada, First Nations, their representative and/or political organizations including but not limited to participation in Parliamentary and Senate hearings, bilateral meetings with Chiefs or First Nations organizations/entities as well as government officials, and other high-level meetings. It is expected that these would occur, at most, bi-monthly from contract execution to early July 2023.
Proposal Submission Instructions
All proposals should be received, via email, by the AFN at the following address: [email protected].
All proposals will clearly identify the name of the Proponent and “RFP for the Development of a National Action Plan for UNDRIPA” in the subject line.
The Request for Proposals process will remain open until a successful candidate is identified.
Proposal Submission Requirements
All proposals should include the following information:
- Executive Summary: This will provide a brief summary of the Proponent’s credentials, the contents of the proposal, and the general proposed approach to execution of the four components of the work. This summary will be no more than two pages.
- Qualifications: Provide a description of the Proponent’s capabilities/experience specifically related to the Canadian federal government processes, the UN Declaration, and the likely federal process of developing UNDRIPA’s National Action Plan in consultation and collaboration with First Nations.
- Proponent Organization: High-level description of the composition of the proposed project team in general terms including:
- Project team members/structure
- High-level description of the roles of the team members
- Experience with other First Nations projects related to the project
- Experience with other levels of governments related to the project
- Experience with legislation and policy development
- Experience with Indigenous laws and legal orders
- Experience with common law doctrines, and the Canadian Constitution
- Experience with interfacing with federal government processes.
- Cost Breakdown: The Proponent should provide a broadly detailed cost breakdown for the proposed services, showing the total cost for the performance of the likely services to be rendered, expenses, materials, deliverables, and other costs (if applicable), to be used for completion of the work. Total cost should be in the Canadian dollar and inclusive of HST. For clarity, a day-rate structure is acceptable, so long as an estimate of overall cost informed by the Scope of Work above is included.
- Appendices to the Proposal Submission, as appropriate, are acceptable.
Rights of the AFN
AFN reserves the right to:
- A) reject any or all proposals received in response to this Request for Proposals
- B) enter into negotiation with one or more Proponent on any or all aspects of their respective proposals
- C) accept any proposal in whole, or in part
- D) cancel and/or re-issue the modified version of a given RFP requirement at any time
- E) award one or more contracts
- F) verify all information provided with respect to a given RFP requirement, including the right to request a confirmation of the organization’s legal status and signed documentation; and
- G) award contracts without competition for follow-up work, if any, to the selected organization/individual for a given project requirement.
The AFN will select the Proponent(s) which, in the AFN’s sole discretion, best serves the overall needs of the AFN. The following is a summary of the general considerations that will be used to determine the Proponent(s) that will be selected:
- Expertise of Firm/Organization/Team Members/Individual submitting the proposal 35%
- Expertise in working with First Nations advocacy relative to the UN Declaration 30%
- Proposed Work Plan 15%
- Political and legal experience of the individual, firm, or organization 10%
- Total price 10%
The timetable described in this RFP is tentative and may be changed by the AFN, in its sole discretion, at any time.
Contractors must provide a firm fixed price, including administrative fees, travel, material costs, translation, printing of draft concepts and HST.
Responses to this RFP will be considered as confidential information by the AFN and will be used solely for the purposes of selecting the successful bidder.
All proposals will be acknowledged.
Requests for clarification and/or questions regarding this RFP should be directed to:
Caleb Z. Behn, Director – Rights Sector
Assembly of First Nations
Phone: (613) 241-6789 – Ext/Poste 127
Email: [email protected]
All submission will be considered until the successful Proponent is selected.
This Request for Proposals will be open until filled
Responses must be sent by email to: [email protected].
Should a Proponent’s proposal exceed 10Mb it is acceptable for the Proponent to provide a link to a OneDrive file within the proposal submission email.