Fact Sheet: Treaty-Related Measures
Treaty negotiations in British Columbia
The federal government is negotiating treaties in British Columbia (B.C.) because it is unfinished business that must be completed for historical, legal, economic and social reasons. Ultimately, the goal of treaties is to resolve questions of uncertainty with respect to land ownership and usage, the management and regulation of lands and resources, and the application of laws.
In 1993, Canada, B.C., and the First Nations Summit launched the B.C. treaty process to help resolve First Nations' outstanding claims to land and resource rights in B.C. Four years into this process, Canada, B.C. and the First Nations Summit agreed to a review of the B.C. treaty process. During this review, the parties agreed there was a need to address First Nations' concerns about land and resource development in their asserted traditional territories while negotiations were underway.
Treaty-related measures (TRMs) were designed to help meet these needs and address First Nations' concerns while treaty negotiations are ongoing.
What are treaty-related measures?
TRMs are a type of interim measure (IM) that is tied directly to treaty topics under negotiation - they are designed to facilitate treaty negotiations and bring certainty and economic resource development to First Nation and neighbouring local economies. TRMs are temporary arrangements negotiated within the treaty process, and may or may not become part of a treaty when it takes effect.
TRMs are designed to resolve matters on an interim basis and to facilitate negotiations.
Examples of TRMs include:
- studies to generate information that will expedite treaty negotiations;
- protection of Crown land for treaty settlements;
- land acquisition for treaty settlements;
- First Nation participation in land, resource and park planning and management; and,
- economic and cultural opportunities.
How are treaty-related measures similar to interim measures?
- IMs and TRMs will both:
- move negotiations forward by addressing critical issues up front;
- focus on specific issues at the table;
- provide a range of tools to overcome obstacles;
- protect key parcels of critical land and resources prior to treaty settlements;
- build on partnerships with industry stakeholders as often as possible;
- resolve conflicts over land and resource use;
- facilitate economic development and First Nations' involvement in local economies; and,
- assist First Nations' participation in land, forests, resource and park planning and management within existing systems.
How are treaty-related measures different from interim measures?
TRMs differ from IMs in two ways:
- costs associated with TRMs are shared between Canada and B.C., and, therefore, neither government can commit to a TRM without the agreement of the other; and,
- TRMs must be directly linked to treaty negotiations through a negotiated agreement between Canada, B.C. and the First Nation. They must also specify the link to the treaty. As such, TRMs can only be negotiated at a treaty table.
Other IMs, that are not TRMs, may be negotiated away from the treaty table. They may also be negotiated by Canada or B.C. independently or bilaterally.
Regardless of the existence of IMs or TRMs, First Nations will continue to be able to access existing programs.
What kinds of issues could treaty-related measures help resolve?
There are several kinds of issues at negotiation tables where TRMs could assist in facilitating the conclusion of treaty agreements:
Land and resource protection - to help protect land and resources on lands which all parties agree will become part of a treaty.
Land selection - in situations where land availability is limited or where specific parcels of strategic importance are identified (i.e.: Sacred Sites). Such TRMs would allow governments to purchase, or acquire options to purchase, privately owned land from a willing seller so that these parcels could be included in a treaty.
Treaty implementation - used to pilot, or test run arrangements which provide for First Nations' involvement in land, resource and park management activities. These activities would take place within claimed traditional territories and would assist in preparing First Nations to implement anticipated treaty provisions.
Information gathering - to conduct studies in order to gather information at critical stages of the negotiation process.
Economic opportunity - to take advantage of time-sensitive economic opportunities. These could include providing First Nations with a portion of the financial or economic components which could be included in a final agreement.
Cultural opportunity - to help identify, catalogue, and, where First Nations have the ability to house them, provide access to First Nations' cultural artifacts that are held in public collections in advance of the effective date of the treaty.
Governance - to focus on the principles of good governance, accountability structures, and effective dispute-resolution processes. These would assist all parties in preparing for self-government negotiations.
When can treaty-related measures be negotiated?
The various kinds of TRMs are designed to be negotiated at different stages of the negotiation process. Generally, TRMs would not be considered at a treaty negotiation table until a framework agreement has been signed and negotiations have entered Stage 4 B Negotiation of an agreement-in-principle (AIP) B of the B.C. Treaty Commission process. TRMs involving the acquisition of private land or protection of future treaty settlement land could be negotiated during or after the land-selection stage of AIP negotiations.
TRMs involving information gathering or development of expertise may be negotiated early in the AIP negotiations.
TRMs involving pre-treaty access to economic components would be considered after an AIP has been signed. TRMS involving pre-treaty access to financial components would be considered after a final agreement has been signed.
How are treaty-related measures negotiated?
Discussions of all TRMs must occur at the treaty table. All three parties B.C. nada, B.C. and the First Nation B must agree to discuss the issue.
Following these initial discussions, government negotiators must seek mandates to negotiate specific TRMs. Negotiators will consult with local governments and third parties during the negotiation of TRMs, and efforts will be made to minimize the impact of TRMs on affected groups.
Once the three parties have reached an understanding on a TRM, a tripartite agreement would be negotiated setting out the specific terms and conditions that will apply.
Want to know more?
More information is available on the Indian and Northern Affairs Website and through a series of published fact sheets. For more information or to arrange for a guest speaker, contact:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada600-1138 Melville Street Vancouver B.C. V6E Indian and Northern Affairs Canada,
600-1138 Melville Street,
Vancouver B.C. V6E 4S3
Toll Free: 1-800-665-9320
Email : email@example.com