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B.C., Modern Treaty Nations collaborate on new approaches for treaty implementation

July 4, 2024 at 1:48 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Modern Treaty Nations and the Province are working together to develop new policy approaches to support the implementation of modern treaties, building strong, healthy communities now and for generations to come.

These new approaches include increased provincial supports for Modern Treaty Nations to implement land and resource management provisions of their treaties. Improving collaboration with the Province on decision-making and land and resources-based activities will help bring certainty and benefits to all.

By working together, we are creating new pathways for Modern Treaty Nations to meaningfully exercise their rights and responsibilities to care for their people and the land,” said Premier David Eby. “A new co-developed funding model will support greater capacity for Modern Treaty Nations, which will help provide greater certainty on decisions that benefit communities and the economy.”  

Through the new, co-developed funding model, Modern Treaty Nations will be better equipped to meet their obligations as governments to deliver services, create local partnerships and represent the interests of their citizens. It will support them in partnering with the Province on treaty activities related to co-management of land and resources in their territories. The funding model enables Modern Treaty Nations to participate more broadly in the provincial resource economy.

“Appropriate fiscal relations are essential in enabling the exercise of jurisdiction under our treaties,” said Hegus John Hackett of Tla’amin Nation. “The new lands and resources funding model will contribute to the implementation of our treaty rights through significant and stable funding. I can’t stress how meaningful this is for our governments and citizens. This funding enables us to breathe life into our treaty rights over our traditional territories.”

Co-creating a new funding model reduces the reliance on one-time provincial funding programs. It supports a commitment made by the Province and the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations in the Shared Priorities Framework.

“Together, we are working towards a future where Modern Treaty Nations are better able to fulfil their responsibilities, care for their people and steward the land in ways that both reflect their values and enable them to prosper,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “We are continuing to work together to implement the Shared Priorities Framework so we can address challenges together and improve treaty outcomes that ultimately benefit everyone in B.C.” 

As part of Budget 2024, the Province is also partnering with Modern Treaty Nations to co-develop measures that better support self-determination in B.C.’s modern treaty arrangements. This includes a new approach to property tax and assessment on Modern Treaty Nations’ Treaty Lands and Nisga’a Lands.

Effective Jan. 1, 2025, Modern Treaty Nations will self-determine property taxation on their Treaty Lands or Nisga’a Lands, including whether and how to exercise their own property tax and assessment laws and policies. This will allow Modern Treaty Nations to design approaches that best reflect the Nations’ unique circumstances and aligns with key priorities in the Shared Priorities Framework. New Real Property Tax Agreements with each of the Modern Treaty Nations have either been already or are close to being finalized.

Together, these new policy approaches will strengthen the implementation of modern treaties in B.C. Modern treaties embody the dynamic living relationships between First Nations, B.C. and the federal government. They help reduce the conflict and uncertainty that comes when constitutionally recognized tripartite agreements do not exist. 

Modern treaties are also intended to encourage investment, create jobs, expand economic development and support social well-being for communities. Established modern treaties have resulted in 8.8% higher average wages for people in their regions and investment of billions of dollars in local communities and their economies.

Quotes:

Chief John Jack, Huu-ay-aht First Nations –

“Working through the Shared Priorities Framework is vitally important for Huu-ay-aht interests, and this work will help us unlock the value in our lands and resources for generations to come. We will be able to develop our economies in a way that works with our core values as Huu-ay-aht, as well as meet the needs of the globalized economy to aid in the competitiveness of not only our territory, but the Province as a whole. Intelligent economic development starts with political stability, it is maintained by good partnerships, and continues forward with good results for all involved. The work we do with the Province in this contributes well to all these factors.”

Chief Wilfred Cootes, Uchucklesaht Tribe –

“Modern Treaty Nations and B.C. worked extensively on major legislative amendments to the existing treaty property taxation regime. Together with new property tax agreements, the amendments will give wide latitude to our governments to self-determine our property tax systems on treaty lands, including whether to tax at all. The flexibility of the new approach acknowledges that each of our governments is unique and is facing unique circumstances. This is a good example of how our governments can work together in partnership, while also allowing space for self-determination.”

Charles McCarthy, President, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government – Ucluelet First Nation –

“The government-to-government working relationship with the Province has allowed the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government to remain self-determined in building a taxation framework, for our nation. Taxation is one of the main focal points of governance, supporting housing, programs, and services. Allowing flexibility to appropriately work out the logistics on one of the major building blocks for a self-governing nation, with the most potential impact to citizens, is a priority.”

Eva Clayton, President, Nisga’a Nation –

“The Alliance of the BC Modern Treaty Nations has come a long way, and so have incoming Treaty First Nations where many have grown old at their tripartite negotiation tables. New funding to support lands and resources management, the development of distinct property taxation frameworks, and an ongoing commitment to implementing shared priorities form a strong foundation that we can continue to build upon. We never know what will happen in a provincial, federal, or local election, but we can rest assured that provincial laws, policies, and procedures will meet the needs of Modern Treaty First Nations across B.C. Today, we acknowledge the work of our past and present leaders, and we look forward to continuing to evolve implementation standards with our partners.”

Quick Facts:

  • In March 2022, the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations and the Province signed the Shared Priorities Framework to advance treaty negotiation in B.C. The framework is the first agreement between the Province and the Alliance as a collective. The Shared Priorities Framework forms a part of the Declaration Act Action Plan.
  • The Province’s work with Modern Treaty Nations to fully implement modern treaties occurs both with individual Nations and collectively through the Alliance.
  • The Alliance is a collective of the eight First Nations implementing modern treaties in B.C. Seven of those Treaties were negotiated under the BC Treaty Commission process, while the Nisga’a Treaty was negotiated prior to the creation of the BC Treaty Commission.
  • The Alliance was formed in July 2018 by Tla’amin Nation, Tsawwassen First Nation and the Maa-nulth Treaty Nations (Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Chek’tles7et’h’ First Nations, Toquaht Nation, Uchucklesaht Tribe, and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government). The Nisga’a Nation joined the Alliance in 2019.

Learn More:

To learn more about Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations, visit: https://alliancebcmtn.ca/

To learn more about the Shared Priorities Framework, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-in-treaty-process/shared-priorities-framework

To learn more about Budget 2024, visit: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2024/def

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