Principles Accord for Treaty Negotiations

UBCM and the Province signed a renewed MOU in September that reaffirms their commitment to engage on Treaty Agreements, Non-Treaty Agreements and Indigenous Initiatives. This broadens the scope of a previous MOU and reflects an approach to Treaty transformation that has now been formalized through the signing of a Principals’ Accord on Transforming Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia.

The Principal’s Accord was signed by the Federal Government, the Province and the First Nations Summit (collectively referred to as the Principals) on December 1, 2018. It is premised upon the fact that treaty negotiations have proceeded more slowly and encountered more challenges than previously anticipated, as well as increasing recognition by the courts that First Nations have Aboriginal title.

It explicitly recognizes “that extinguishment and surrender of rights, in form or result, do not have any place in modern-day Crown-Indigenous relations, treaty negotiation mandates, treaties or other agreements”, and puts forward an approach that respects the inherent right of Indigenous Nations to “select their own pathway to exercising self-determination, which may lead them to conclude existing treaties, agreements or other constructive arrangements.” 

The Accord effectively confirms a framework for negotiation of a continuum of agreements leading up to Treaty that help to build nation-to-nation relationships, a process that the Province has been moving towards in recent months.  This new approach is anticipated to have limited impacts on local governments, but UBCM will monitor its implementation and work with the Province through the renewed MOU on engagement.

The MOU on engagement was designed in anticipation of this approach, and provides opportunity for UBCM and local government input on Treaty Agreements, non-Treaty Agreements and other Indigenous Initiatives that have impacts in areas of local government jurisdiction. Through the MOU, UBCM and the Province have held an initial meeting to discuss issues of mutual interest, and will hold regular meetings going forward.

For questions or more information on the MOU, please contact Josh van Loon, UBCM Senior Policy Analyst.

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