Updated April 15, 2013 - for clarification
VICTORIA - Today, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Ida Chong recognized government's success in signing 18 non-treaty agreements with First Nations, surpassing goals set out in the BC Jobs Plan.
Under the Jobs Plan, government committed to reach 10 non-treaty agreements with First Nations by 2015. In January 2013, the Province met that goal, well ahead of schedule.
With three new Economic and Community Development Agreements (ECDA) reached with 14 Nlaka'pamux communities, B.C. has now signed a total of 18 non-treaty agreements that will help ensure greater certainty on the land base for all parties involved in resource development activity.
Non-treaty agreements include: strategic engagement agreements; reconciliation agreements; and forestry and major project revenue-sharing agreements. Non-treaty agreements improve economic certainty and bring benefits more quickly to First Nations communities.
In recent months, B.C. has reached 10 mine revenue-sharing agreements with First Nations, as well as nine incremental treaty agreements that provide benefits to First Nations in advance of reaching a treaty. The Province also recently signed the first-ever revenue-sharing agreement under the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which will see the Tahltan Nation benefit from the Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project.
In addition to success in achieving non-treaty agreements, B.C. remains committed to the treaty process and continues to make progress: This year, B.C. passed legislation to ratify the Tla'amin Nation Final Agreement; the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas communities recently voted in favour of their AIPs (Agreements in Principle); and Canada, B.C. and the Yale First Nation signed the Yale First Nation Final Agreement, in advance of federal legislation.
A key part of the BC Jobs Plan is government's commitment to improving opportunities and resources for First Nations to participate in resource activity in their traditional territories.
B.C.'s non-treaty agreements underscore an innovative approach that supports economic growth and job creation - not only for the First Nations involved, but for neighbouring communities. Strengthening government's relationships with First Nations creates benefits for all British Columbians.
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Ida Chong -
"I am proud of the leadership we have shown in reaching non-treaty agreements, but I also want to commend the First Nations leaders throughout B.C. for their efforts to reach agreements that will bring benefits to their communities. Our co-operative approach is building strong new partnerships among government, First Nations and business to provide benefits for all British Columbians."
Karina Brino, president and CEO of the Mining Association of BC -
"We are happy to hear that the Province is making headway in negotiating agreements with First Nations. These ECDA agreements help both Aboriginal communities and the industry by setting out a clear process for consultation and defining tangible benefits for First Nations, tied to responsible resource development."
Gavin C. Dirom, president & CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration BC -
"These agreements are a clear signal for the global mineral exploration and the investment community that British Columbia values collaboration among First Nations, government and industry. The signing of these new economic and community development agreements demonstrates that the Province is successfully reaching agreements with First Nations and is indeed a leader in sharing the benefits of mineral resource development with local First Nations."
- The BC Jobs Plan launched in September 2011.
- A key commitment is to improve opportunities and resources for First Nations to participate in resource activity in their traditional territory.
- Non-treaty agreements improve economic certainty and bring benefits more quickly to First Nation communities.
For more information about these accomplishments, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/arr/
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Non-treaty agreements with B.C. First Nations
The 18 non-treaty agreements reached with First Nations since the launch of the BC Jobs Plan (September 2011):
- The Kaska Strategic Engagement Agreement (SEA) provides greater certainty on how resource development can proceed in more than 10 per cent of the province. A Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with Kaska Dena First Nations creates certainty for natural-resource development and environmental stewardship in northern B.C.
- A Strategic Land Use Planning Agreement with Ulkatcho First Nation means the First Nation is eligible to apply for funding to promote sustainable economic development for their portion of territory that is within the Great Bear Rainforest.
- Economic Benefits and Oil and Gas Consultation Agreements with the Fort Nelson First Nation benefit B.C.'s Northeast by establishing a clear process for consultation and management of lands and resources.
- A reconciliation agreement with the Gitanyow Nation will lead to shared decision-making in an area covering 6,285 square kilometres and allow the Gitanyow to explore economic opportunities associated with the development of the Northwest Transmission Line.
- The Nak'azdli Economic and Community Development Agreement (ECDA) on mining revenue-sharing will create certainty for the Mt. Milligan mine project.
- A Strategic Engagement Agreement (SEA) Pilot with 12 Sto:lo First Nations will create a more streamlined consultation process for industry in the Fraser Valley.
- A Memorandum of Understanding with the Sts'ailes (Chehalis Indian Band) provides greater certainty over land and resources through open communication, shared decision-making, and mutual respect and recognition.
- The Nanwakolas Reconciliation Protocol supports five First Nations in developing their economies through opportunities in forestry, tourism and clean energy.
- The Haisla Framework agreement allows the First Nation to acquire a key parcel of Crown land for development and use for an LNG facility and associated marine export terminal in the Douglas Channel.
- The Ktunaxa ECDA helps four Ktunaxa communities benefit from resource-development activity in the Ktunaxa traditional territory, while increasing economic certainty in the Kootenays.
- A shared decision-making agreement with the Tahltan Nation allows B.C. and the Tahltan to collaborate on land and resource issues as a step toward longer-term reconciliation.
- A revenue-sharing agreement will see the Tahltan benefit from the Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project. The Tahltan will receive a portion of water rentals and land rents charged by the Province for the Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project.
- An ECDA on revenue-sharing will enable the Upper Similkameen Indian Band and Lower Similkameen Indian Band to benefit from the Copper Mountain Mine, located southwest of Princeton.
- An ECDA will facilitate the Williams Lake Indian Band to receive a share of mineral tax revenues collected by the Province enabled by the expansion of the Mt. Polley mine, located east of Williams Lake.
- An ECDA will facilitate the Xatsull First Nation (Soda Creek Indian Band) to receive a share of mineral tax revenues collected by the Province enabled by the expansion of the Mt. Polley mine.
- Three new ECDA will ensure that fourteen Nlaka'pamux communities will benefit from the expansion of the Highland Valley Copper Mine.
Economic and Community Development Agreements:
- ECDA are agreements between government and First Nations for sharing the direct mineral tax revenue on new mines and major mine expansions.
- The Province committed to share revenue with First Nations as a means to create certainty on the land and to make First Nations partners in resource development.
Forest Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements:
- Introduced in 2010, the Forest Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreement (FCRSA) provide First Nation communities with economic benefits returning directly to their community based on harvest activities in their traditional territory.
- B.C. has reached 21 FCRSAs in the past year, for a total of 108 FCRSA agreements with First Nations throughout the province since adopting the new model.
- A reconciliation agreement is one of many types of agreements the Province has developed to strengthen relationships with First Nations and to create opportunities for comprehensive and lasting reconciliation. At the heart of some of these agreements are also strategic engagement agreements.
- By advancing benefits to a First Nation, a reconciliation agreement can help to build trust between the First Nation and the Province, as well as to create incentives to reach further milestones and to provide increased certainty over land usage and resources.
Strategic Engagement Agreements:
- SEA with First Nations are intended to encourage a positive and respectful government-to-government relationship; strengthen B.C.'s investment climate; and establish mutually agreed upon procedures for consultation and accommodation.
- Entering into SEAs with First Nations is one of many tools being used by government to support the New Relationship and Transformative Change Accord objectives.
- For those First Nations who choose to also enter the treaty process, SEAs can help to build the mechanisms to support decision making in a post-treaty environment.
- For First Nations not in the treaty process, SEAs provide an opportunity to take a more active role in the decision-making process and to develop a stronger government-to-government relationship with the Province.