Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations, Canada, B.C. sign Agreement in Principle, move to final stage of treaty negotiations

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Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations, Canada, B.C. sign Agreement in Principle, move to final stage of treaty negotiations

Updated June 28, 2019

Media Contacts
Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
819 997-0002
Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca
819 934-2302
Jen Holmwood
Deputy Communications Director,
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 818-4881
Sarah Plank
Communications Director
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250 208-9621
Erin Thomson-Leach
Associate, JFK Law Corporation
Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations
778 679-1739
(flickr.com)
Media Contacts
Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
819 997-0002
Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca
819 934-2302
Jen Holmwood
Deputy Communications Director,
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 818-4881
Sarah Plank
Communications Director
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250 208-9621
Erin Thomson-Leach
Associate, JFK Law Corporation
Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations
778 679-1739

Backgrounders

Ditidaht and Pacheedaht Agreement in Principle

An Agreement in Principle creates the basis for concluding a future treaty.

It includes proposals for treaty settlement lands, resource management, regulatory processes and fiscal relationships, as well as other details that would guide the new government-to-government relationship between Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations, B.C. and Canada once  treaties are signed.

Financial component

The Agreement in Principle proposes capital transfers of $19.72 million to Pacheedaht and $39.9 million to Ditidaht to be paid on the day each treaty takes effect.

In addition to the transfer proposed in the Agreement in Principle, B.C. has proposed an economic development fund of $1.8 million to Pacheedaht and $3 million to Ditidaht. B.C. would provide this funding in three annual instalments once the treaties take effect.

Land component

The proposed treaty settlement land packages for the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations includes existing First Nations reserve land, and the transfer of certain parcels of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and provincial Crown land.

Pacheedaht proposed treaty settlement lands include approximately 1,896.9 hectares:

  • 175.9 hectares of existing Pacheedaht reserve land
  • 128 hectares of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve lands
  • 1,593 hectares of provincial Crown land

Ditidaht proposed treaty settlement lands include approximately 6,160.32 hectares:

  • 751.32 hectares of existing Ditidaht reserve land
  • 1,453 hectares of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve lands
  • 3,956 hectares of provincial Crown land.

In recognition of the need to ensure safe, year-round vehicle access to the Ditidaht community, the Ditidaht AIP includes a provincial commitment to establishing a 54-kilometre gravel forest service road extending from Cowichan Lake to the north eastern end of Nitinaht Lake.

Supplementary agreements

A number of supplementary agreements outlined in the Agreement in Principle will also be negotiated during the final stage of negotiations. These include:

  • An engagement agreement that will establish a collaborative process to monitor and evaluate provincial authorizations for the use of Crown lands that may impact the ability of Ditidaht or Pacheedaht to exercise their treaty rights within their territories. 
  • A co-operative management agreement for the portion of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve located in Ditidaht and Pacheedaht’s traditional territories.
  • A framework agreement to support Ditidaht and Pacheedaht’s involvement in federal environmental assessment processes.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the West Coast Trail

Under the Agreement in Principle, and subject to further negotiations, treaty settlements with the First Nations will include the return of some lands from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in the West Coast Trail and Nitinaht Lake area and adjacent to the Pacheedaht community. Under the Canada National Parks Act, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is designated as a national park reserve in recognition of unresolved Aboriginal rights and title claims. Claims settlements can involve transferring lands and adjusting boundaries of a national park reserve. 

Parks Canada and the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations have agreed to preserve the West Coast Trail hiking experience through co-operative arrangements, including a right of way for portions of the West Coast Trail that cross treaty settlement lands.

In 1973, Parks Canada moved to add the West Coast Trail to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve despite objections from the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations whose use of the land and access to the ocean was restricted as a result.

Many of Parks Canada’s places have seen a transition over time from a past where Indigenous peoples were separated from their traditional lands and waters. Today, Parks Canada is committed to ensuring Indigenous connections are honoured and Indigenous rights are respected. The return of some lands within the West Coast Trail Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is an important step in forging a new relationship between Parks Canada and the Nations.

Juan de Fuca Trail

In 2015 and 2017, the Province purchased private lands adjacent to Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. The purchase was an opportunity to obtain lands for transfer to Pacheedaht, as well as to add some small pieces of land into the provincial park to ensure the entire Juan de Fuca trail is protected.

The Agreement in Principle formalizes the intention of the Province to transfer lands adjacent to the park to Pacheedaht on the day a treaty would take effect.

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