The BC Treaty Process
The treaty process, now under way in BC, dates back to 1990 when First Nations leaders and the governments of Canada and British Columbia jointly established a task force to find ways to fairly resolve Aboriginal land claims.
In 1991, the BC Claims Task Force filed its report (The Report of the British Columbia Claims Task Force). Its 19 recommendations were subsequently accepted by all parties and formed the blueprint for a made-in-BC treaty process. In December 1993, the British Columbia Treaty Commission, an independent, neutral body that oversees the treaty process began its work. First Nations were then invited to submit statements of intent to negotiate treaties.
The Principals of the BC treaty negotiations process are the Government of Canada, as represented by the Prime Minster of Canada and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. Also, the Government of British Columbia, as represented by the Premier of British Columbia and the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and the First Nations Summit, as represented by a three-member Task Group.
The Principals are signatories to the agreement that established the BC Treaty Commission. The Principals’ responsibilities are established by their acceptance and commitment to the 19 recommendations of the BC Claims Task Force made in 1991.
The Parties to the negotiations are individual or collective First Nations, the Government of Canada, and the Government of BC.
Canada and BC represent non-aboriginal interests at the negotiation table, much in the same way local officials represent municipalities and regional districts.
The First Nations Summit is not a party to treaty negotiations; it is a forum for First Nations in the BC treaty negotiations process. The Treaty Commission is not a party to the negotiations; it is the independent facilitator of negotiations.
There are 6 stages to the Treaty Process;