UBCM and the Province today renewed an MOU committing to work together to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples while supporting opportunities for meaningful engagement with local governments as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is implemented.
Successive iterations of this MOU have been in place for over a decade to foster information sharing between the Province, local governments and UBCM on wide ranging initiatives and agreements between the Province and First Nations. It was most recently renewed in 2018.
Recognizing the need for stronger engagement with local governments, the current MOU was updated to explicitly recognize local governments as “an order of government with unique and special interests in the negotiation of a range of agreements with First Nations and Indigenous partners.” The MOU further details a legislative framework on local-provincial relations that emphasizes cooperative approaches to matters of mutual interest, and the need for the Province to consult with local governments on actions that directly affect their interests.
While the Honourable Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, is the signatory on behalf of the Province, the MOU is between UBCM and the Province as a whole, and the MOU stipulates that the Province will share the principles and context of the MOU with all Ministries and provincial agencies. Councillor Trish Mandewo, Chair of UBCM's Indigenous Relations Committee and president Brian Frenkel signed on behalf of UBCM.
The MOU specifies that the Province will share information, consider local government interests and seek advice on matters including the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. More broadly, the scope of the MOU encompasses the wide range of agreements currently negotiated between the Province and First Nations or Indigenous peoples, including treaties and “self -governance, social, land, resource, economic development or other agreements negotiated between a First Nation or Indigenous partners and the Province both inside and outside of the B.C. treaty process that have the potential to impact local government”.
UBCM will work with the Province to implement the MOU, and to advocate for local government engagement as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is implemented.