The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) will continue development and implementation of its economic development strategy, supported by $2.24 million in provincial funding over the next two years.
“This funding will ensure that capacity and innovation are available to BCAFN to support First Nations’ economic goals and improve our ability to collaborate with government, industry and each other,” said Terry Teegee, BCAFN Regional Chief. “First Nations communities must become economically self-sufficient and fully engaged in all aspects of activities on their traditional territories – we can advance and support this important work over the next two years.”
As it moves forward, the BCAFN strategy will include economic reconciliation and governance efforts that will support economic development among First Nations, including exploring ways to promote Indigenous efforts, through discussion papers, draft policies and regional forums. BCAFN will also look at creating an economic development secretariat to facilitate partnerships with First Nations and identify best practices.
“We support the important work of the BCAFN to help First Nations become full partners in a strong and equitable economy,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “This new provincial government funding will help the BCAFN build on achievements and further tangible results for economic reconciliation.”
Among the accomplishments of the BCAFN’s Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy, since it began in 2016, are the creation of a First Nations Economic Development Toolkit, called the Black Books, and annual hosting of a provincewide First Nations Economic Development Forum that brings together First Nations, industry and government to discuss opportunities and wealth creation in B.C.
In addition, the BCAFN has been engaged with the Business Council of BC through a memorandum of understanding, which includes the establishment of the BCAFN-BCBC Champions Table, comprised of First Nations Chiefs and industry CEOs. Through the Champions Table, discussions around economic reconciliation with First Nations have been made possible, as well as the creation of the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program.
“One of BCAFN’s significant achievements is the development of the Black Books, which support communities with a new resource to plan, grow and develop their prosperity and wealth in the territories,” said Teegee. “In addition, through the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program, Indigenous graduates are provided with the opportunity to hold meaningful employment within a company in B.C. for two years. Building capacity by ensuring opportunities for youth will create future Indigenous leaders who are involved in the British Columbia economy.”
The Black Books will be printed and distributed to First Nations next month. The Black Books feature best practices, concepts and tangible tools for First Nations to improve their economic development strategies and operations.
“We applaud the B.C. government in their leadership to support reconciliation with First Nations in British Columbia," said Teegee. “B.C. can grow the economy as a national and international leader in partnership with First Nations, as we explore innovation and clean growth in a way that respects First Nations rights for the benefit of all British Columbians.”
BCAFN will continue its engagement with the Province and industry to support First Nations' involvement with provincial initiatives, such as CleanBC and trade missions. BCAFN’s work is mandated by resolution from First Nations Chiefs in B.C. (Resolution 21/2018 – Support for the Development and Implementation of the Deliverables of the BCAFN Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy).
- BCAFN’s Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy will move forward with a focus on:
- economic reconciliation and governance;
- engagement and collaboration with the Province and industry;
- tools and data for First Nations business leaders; and
- a First Nations economic development secretariat.
- Funding in the 2019 agreement will be made in instalments of $1.12 million each in 2019-20 and 2020-21, supporting BCAFN in work begun in 2016 when the Province committed $2.5 million over three years.
- Work done as part of the Champions Table has also been supported by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, which in 2018 provided $420,000 over three years for 150 post-secondary graduates in the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program.
- The BC Assembly of First Nations advocates to advance the rights and interests of First Nations peoples in British Columbia.
BC Assembly of First Nations: https://bcafn.ca
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