ARCHIVED - Certainty

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The benefits of certainty

The Canadian Constitution recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal rights and title, whether or not there is a treaty in place. However, in the absence of a treaty, there is uncertainty as to the nature, scope and content of those rights and even who holds those rights.

A fundamental goal of a treaty is to achieve certainty. This means the ownership of lands and resources and rights to use land and resources will be clear and predictable. In the absence of a treaty, ongoing uncertainty has sometimes delayed or disrupted economic activities, resulting in lost investment estimated to be in the billions of dollars. Litigation in the courts over Aboriginal rights and title is very time consuming and costly.

Treaties allow for increased certainty for business investment in the province by clearly setting out the rights that First Nations will exercise under the treaty, as well as establishing distinct relationships between federal, provincial and First Nation laws. There will be more opportunities for business partnerships with First Nations, and this increased economic activity can benefit local, regional and provincial economies.

Full and final settlement

Once ratified, a treaty will provide a full and final settlement of all Aboriginal rights, including title, related to land and resources. The treaty will clearly set out governments' and First Nations' rights, responsibilities and obligations.

A treaty can be amended after it is ratified, but only if all three parties – Canada, BC and the First Nation – agree.

Dispute resolution

Canada, British Columbia and the First Nation agree to maintain respectful working relationships, and to identify and resolve issues associated with the treaty early, efficiently and collaboratively. In the event of a dispute, the parties agree to participate in a prescribed dispute resolution process to resolve the issue.

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