Economic opportunities and participation are a central part of reconciliation with B.C. First Nations.
The Province helps facilitate economic activity, job creation and enhanced social well-being by negotiating agreements with First Nations, and by supporting business development and cultural initiatives aimed at increasing opportunities for Aboriginal people, which in turn benefits all British Columbians.
The B.C. government is committed to working with First Nations on agreements that address mutual priorities.
- Recognizing that there are different solutions for different priorities, First Nations can choose what is right for them.
- Treaties, incremental treaty agreements, revenue-sharing agreements, land base decision-making and consultation agreements, forestry agreements and clean-energy project development funding are among the tools currently used in B.C. to reconcile First Nations interests, and provide certainty for investors, industry and communities.
- The Province and Aboriginal communities have achieved more than 500 economic and reconciliation agreements, and more than 400 since 2013.
- These agreements have brought more than $60 million in benefits to First Nations communities over the past year.
- Through the Skills for Jobs Blueprint, government has committed to increasing the Aboriginal workforce by 15,000 by 2024. Essential for participation in the economy is access to education and skills training.
- To help ensure First Nations benefit from jobs creation, the Province is investing up to $30 million through the Aboriginal Skills Training Fund to provide training programs delivered in First Nations communities.
- More than 2,200 Aboriginal people have participated in training through programs supported by the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund since it was launched in 2015.
- Treaties are the most comprehensive agreement because they clearly settle Aboriginal rights and title and provide legal and economic certainty on Crown land.
- Treaties also remove First Nations governments from the federal Indian Act and provide the authority to deliver self-government to its citizens. Treaties are cost-shared with the federal government. The following First Nations have modern treaties in effect:
- Nisga’a Nation
- Tsawwassen First Nation
- Maa-nulth First Nations (includes five nations)
- Huu-ay-aht First Nations
- Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h First Nations
- Toquaht Nation
- Uchucklesaht Tribe
- Ucluelet First Nation
- Tla’amin Nation
- For more on treaty negotiations: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-in-treaty-process
Incremental Treaty Agreements (ITAs)
- These agreements provide treaty benefits before a final agreement by transferring provincial Crown land to a First Nation community early to support economic and community development opportunities.
- Incremental treaty agreements build trust, create incentives to reach further treaty milestones and offer increased certainty over land and resources. B.C. has 23 ITAs with 27 First Nations, providing for approximately 9,250 hectares of provincial Crown land to First Nations: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=21099B139A554865A42119D551BF046B
Reconciliation Framework Agreements
- Reconciliation framework agreements are another wide-ranging, comprehensive tool that can combine decision-making, revenue sharing, economic development and community-based social development tools into one agreement, creating the opportunity for lasting resolution of First Nations and Provincial interests: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=496EFFA5F6C14CB6B9186F4C9A959A50
Strategic Engagement Agreements
- Consultation with First Nations is an important part of land and resource decision-making. Strategic engagement agreements encourage a positive and respectful government-to-government relationship, establish procedures for consultation, and strengthen B.C.’s investment climate: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=00C8FEF3481D4028B1EF0FD67B1695C4
- B.C. is the first province in Canada to share revenue from mining, forestry and other resources with First Nations. Revenue sharing is a path to partnership that provides a percentage of what the Province receives from resource development on First Nations’ traditional territories directly back into the communities to use where it is needed most.
- Through revenue sharing, government is working with First Nations to stimulate investment, create jobs and close the socio-economic gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal British Columbians.
Mining and revenue: Economic and Community Development Agreements
- More than $26 million in direct mineral tax revenues from mining has been shared with First Nations as a result of economic and community development agreements.
- B.C. has 27 mineral revenue sharing agreements with 43 First Nations: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=00D9B39C169B4E95BAAB740A9B52D54A
Forestry revenue: Forest consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements
- In 2010, B.C. introduced forest-consultation and revenue-sharing agreements to share economic benefits with First Nations based on harvest activities in their traditional territories. B.C. has more than 247 of these agreements with First Nations.
- Since 2003, the Province has shared more than $420 million with participating First Nations through forest-consultation and revenue-sharing and other forestry agreements. This year, First Nations are projected to share over $42 million in forestry revenues: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=5633DE296BAC46098E130A382AAF9D03
First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund
- The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund helps First Nation communities invest in clean-energy infrastructure, energy-efficiency projects and clean-energy feasibility studies. It also funds revenue sharing agreements, where First Nations receive a portion of water and land rents charged by the Province for new clean-energy projects.
- Since the fund was launched in 2010, B.C. has invested more than $8.2 million to support clean-energy opportunities in more than 110 Aboriginal communities through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
- Healthy returns from clean-energy power projects have allowed the Province to more than double its investment in clean-energy projects for Aboriginal communities. The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund budget has increased by $4.26 million to $7.2 million for 2017.
- Over three years, $2.1 million will be dedicated to helping remote First Nations communities reduce reliance on diesel-powered generators.
- B.C. has 50 clean energy revenue sharing agreements with 37 First Nations: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=7A6C9163513C4CCE80766BB3D2057D2A
- B.C. has invested $4 million (of the $8.2 million) to facilitate First Nations’ equity in 12 clean-energy projects:
- ‘Namgis First Nation – Kokish Creek Hydro Project
- Beecher Bay Band – Ocean thermal project – Spirit Bay
- shíshálh Nation (Sechelt First Nation) – Narrows Inlet Hydro Project
- Sts′ailes First Nation – Bremmer Trio Independent Power Project
- Osoyoos Indian Band – Senkulmen Business Park District Energy Project
- Gitga′at First Nation – Hartley Bay Hydro Project
- St. Mary’s Indian Band – St. Mary’s District Bioenergy System
- Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation – Haa-ak-suuk Creek Hydro Project
- Tahltan Nation – Volcano Creek Hydro Project
- Dease River First Nation – Energy Efficiency Initiative
- Xeni Gwet'in First Nation – Solar Energy – Community Electrification
- Kwadacha Nation – Bioenergy system
Liquefied Natural Gas Agreements
- An emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector in B.C. has presented new opportunities for the provincial government and First Nations to work together. Facilities agreements, environmental monitoring agreements and natural-gas-pipeline benefits agreements offer First Nations economic benefits and go hand-in-hand with skills training and environmental stewardship opportunities.
- B.C. has facilities agreements with Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla and Gitga'at and Kitselas First Nations related to Pacific NorthWest LNG and other potential LNG facilities in the Prince Rupert and Kitimat areas.
- B.C., Canada, Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla First Nations have an Environmental Monitoring Agreement for Pacific NorthWest LNG.
- Through the Coastal First Nations LNG Benefits Agreement, British Columbia is working in partnership with the Wuikinuxv, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Gitga’at, and Metlakatla First Nations on environmental safety and stewardship, air shed impacts, greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, skills training and employment projects related to LNG projects on the coast.
Pipeline Benefits Agreements:
- To date, 64 agreements with 29 First Nations have been reached for proposed natural gas pipeline projects in British Columbia.
- British Columbia’s agreements with First Nations related to LNG: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=A81A6F172BE94B798B0F8C540ED26D04
First Nations Woodland Licences
- The Province has issued nine First Nations woodland licences since the program began in 2011. These area-based, direct-award forest licences give First Nations a stronger role in forest and land stewardship and make it easier for First Nations forest companies to secure investments and loans.
- Licences have been awarded to: Huu-ay-aht First Nation, Wei Wai Kum First Nation, Hupacasath First Nation, Tseshaht First Nation, Canim Lake Indian Band, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, Lake Babine Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn Indian Band and K'ómoks and Qualicum First Nations: www.for.gov.bc.ca/hth/timber-tenures/agreements/fnwl/fnwl-index.htm
Business-to-business forestry agreements
- The Province has established support for First Nations in negotiating business-to-business agreements, to obtain or purchase forestry businesses, forest tenures or volume from willing sellers and to carry out and complete strategic land management projects to support decision making.
- Dozens of forestry agreements with First Nations have been implemented or are under negotiation, providing for greater participation by First Nations in the forestry sector.
British Columbia Assembly of First Nations and Economic Development
- The B.C. Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is engaged in a number of initiatives to help First Nations become a stronger force in the economy.
- With provincial support, BCAFN is developing a First Nations Sustainable Economic Development Strategy to help identify what First Nations in B.C. need to be successful business partners, investors and entrepreneurs. The Province is providing up to $2.5 million over three years to support this work. news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016PREM0094-001607
- BCAFN and the B.C. Business Council have an agreement to work toward economic reconciliation throughout B.C., and to provide a solid foundation to enhance business relationships between industry and First Nations. bcbc.com/news-releases/2016/business-council-of-bc-and-the-bc-assembly-of-first-nations-sign-historic-memorandum-of-understanding
- BCAFN is also developing a national economic development strategy with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. The strategy will identify First Nations business aspirations, current and potential capacity, opportunities and critical challenges to community economic development. www.marketwired.com/press-release/canadian-council-aboriginal-business-british-columbia-assembly-first-nations-indigenous-2163831.htm
B.C. Aboriginal Business and Investment Council
- The Aboriginal Business and Investment Council (ABIC) works to help improve Aboriginal participation in the economy and promote economic certainty in the province by encouraging economic growth in Aboriginal communities. ABIC’s website has an array of First Nations economic development data, including a database of more than 1,200 Aboriginal-owned businesses, which operate across a diverse range of sectors in B.C. www.bcabic.ca
- B.C. continues to support the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC’s development and marketing activities with a total investment of more than $8 million.
- Aboriginal tourism is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in British Columbia and experienced a doubling of revenue from$20 million to $42 million over the past decade. B.C. is home to more than 300 Aboriginal tourism businesses, more than double from 2006. www.aboriginalbc.com