Eliminating discriminatory barriers for First Nations (flickr.com)

Media Contacts

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Media Relations
250 896-4348


What people are saying about the proposed amendments
Updated on April 3, 2024


Chief Rudy Paquette, Saulteau First Nation –

“This change to provincial law is a small but important step. It might come as a surprise for Canadians to learn that for over 150 years, First Nations could not hold private lands in the same way as other governments and organizations. Today, we are removing one of the discriminatory barriers to our shared prosperity. First Nations make huge contributions to the culture and economy of this province. There is more work to be done. We can do it together and we’re happy to be involved in bringing forward this solution.”

Jack Woodward, KC, Indigenous law specialist –

“This bill corrects a long-standing injustice in the law. For at least 46 years, since the Afton decision in Nova Scotia [85 DLR (3d) 454], the federal government and all provincial governments have known about this impediment to Indian Act bands owning real estate. Court decisions from almost every province have noticed this problem. Academics have written about it. I noted the problem in my book in 1989. But until today, no government, federal or provincial, ever bothered to do something about it. It is a simple change that will allow First Nations to participate in the off-reserve mainstream economy on the same footing as everyone else and reduce the time and legal fees involved in land transactions. I congratulate the government of B.C. for its leadership in taking this step and urge other provinces to follow.”

Michael J. McDonald, KC, Indigenous law expert –

“After over 35 years of painstakingly establishing and managing corporations and limited partnerships for First Nations, even chasing down signatures after every on-reserve election, First Nations are finally recognized as legal entities and able to own real estate, lands within their own territories. Think about that: until now, an imposed legal system would not permit an Indigenous Nation to own lands in its own territories because it was not recognized as a legal entity capable of owning lands. You could even sign a treaty and settle a land claim but not hold a piece of land without specific legislation. This is so very long overdue.”

Trevor Koot, CEO of the British Columbia Real Estate Association –

“The BC Real Estate Association recognizes the robust and comprehensive engagement process that resulted in these proposed amendments. We appreciated being part of the consultation and strongly support the outcome. First Nations in B.C., as federally recognized legal entities, will now be able to acquire, hold and dispose of land interests, which moves us along our collective path to reconciliation.”

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations –

“The colonial legacy of B.C.’s property and land title laws have created systemic socio-economic barriers for First Nations through the ongoing displacement and dispossession of our lands in what we now call British Columbia. These legislative amendments are an important step towards addressing the racist legacy of the Property Law Act and Land Title Act. First Nations will now have the discretion to hold fee-simple land ownership on our inherent lands, which serves as a vital tool for our continued Nation rebuilding efforts. We uphold the Province of B.C. for its commitment to land registration and ownership reform in a step towards alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs president –

“First Nations have inherent, human and Aboriginal rights and title to their lands and territories, including the right to own, use, develop, and control those lands and territories. Under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the Province has an obligation to take all measures necessary to ensure the laws of British Columbia are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The proposed amendments to the Property Law Act and the Land Title Act fall well short of fulfilling this requirement. However, we welcome the proposed and long called for amendments as they address an arbitrary, discriminatory and racist legislative barrier which has barred First Nations from directly holding and registering fee simple land in B.C.’s Land Title System.”

Hugh Braker, political executive, First Nations Summit –

“The existing Property Law Act and the Land Title Act are yet further examples of outdated colonial and racist legislation predicated on the repudiated doctrine of discovery and terra nullius and which create systemic barriers for First Nations within provincial processes. First Nations have been forced to undertake onerous administrative processes, including the creation of separate legal entities like corporations, for the purpose of registering and holding fee-simple lands. We commend the provincial government for taking the necessary steps to ensure the flexibility for First Nations to now register fee simple lands in the name of the First Nation, if they so choose. This is a small but very meaningful step to clear unnecessary and often invisible interference, barriers and hurdles that exist for First Nations in carrying out the basic functions of governance.”

Jeff Guthrie, president and CEO, Canadian Credit Union Association –

“Canadian credit unions are strongly committed to fostering Indigenous Nations’ prosperity and advancing reconciliation. We support initiatives that aim to empower Indigenous communities by removing barriers and creating equitable opportunities. We applaud any efforts that contribute to these critical goals and stand ready to support funding mechanisms for Indigenous Nations seeking to acquire fee simple land. This is a crucial step toward greater autonomy and economic development for these communities.”