What is this engagement about?
The Province of British Columbia, Lake Babine Nation and the Government of Canada are negotiating an agreement known as the Lake Babine Nation Foundation Agreement. The draft Foundation Agreement sets out a step-by-step vision for Lake Babine Nation to implement their rights and title, so they can build a strong, stable future for their Nation and their members.
Through this agreement, Lake Babine Nation and the provincial and federal governments want to improve the region as a whole for everyone who lives there, where all communities thrive by working together.
The draft Foundation Agreement is best described as a road-map. It proposes a series of commitments that the Nation and the provincial and federal governments intend to meet through collaboration and partnership. This work will include local communities and industry within Lake Babine Territory.
If ratified, this agreement is expected to be a model for how the Province, Canada, Indigenous Nations can work together to improve people’s lives and implement Aboriginal rights and title over time, consistent with the principles of the new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Lake Babine Nation and the provincial and federal governments are committed to achieving reconciliation through a renewed government-to-government relationship, supported by the Foundation Agreement.
Please read below to find out more about the agreement and how you can get engaged.
About the Foundation Agreement
In 2016, Lake Babine Nation approached the Province to expand their work together on shared solutions to socio-economic issues in the community and to support Lake Babine Nation in participating in the regional economy in new ways. Work on a long-term reconciliation agreement began, building on the foundation of previous reconciliation initiatives such as the 2014 Memorandums of Understanding (I and II), 2014 Incremental Treaty Agreement, and 2016 Reconciliation Framework Agreement.
The federal government joined the discussions in 2018, guided by a Memorandum of Understanding that provided a framework to negotiate the Foundation Agreement.
Lake Babine Nation has been clear from the start that they want to work collaboratively with local businesses, land owners, stakeholders and local governments to find ways to move forward that will benefit the entire region. The draft Foundation Agreement proposes a shared 20-year vision to accomplish this work together. It outlines a step-by-step approach to reconciliation and supporting Lake Babine as the Nation moves toward self-government.
The draft agreement proposes both early supports and long-term goals. The major components of the agreement include: governance; land transfers and Aboriginal title recognition; economic development; natural resource decision-making; forestry; wildlife; and socio-cultural well-being, including greater control over programs for Lake Babine members in areas including justice, education, health, and child and family services. Lake Babine Nation and the provincial and federal governments will have future negotiations in each of these topic areas to achieve the vision laid out by the proposed Foundation Agreement.
Under the draft agreement, the Province commits to transferring 20,000 hectares of provincial Crown land to Lake Babine Nation, to be owned by the Nation in fee simple. This land will further support Lake Babine Nation’s participation in the regional forest economy. Specific land parcels will be finalized at a later date through a separate, specifically negotiated land transfer agreement.
The Province has started consultation with local stakeholders, including property owners and tenure holders, in areas where potential land transfers have been identified. These discussions with stakeholders will ensure they have information on what is being considered and have a chance to give input about their interests and any impacts. The Province will work to respond to or address stakeholder concerns before any decisions on land parcels are finalized through the separate land transfer agreement.
For further information on the Foundation Pathway Agreement and the Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding to Guide Rights Implementation and Reconciliation Negotiations and on previous agreements that have guided the negotiations, please visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/first-nations-a-z-listing/lake-babine-nation
B.C. is engaging with stakeholders including local government, industry and tenure holders, as well as neighbouring property owners to the lands under discussion. Neighbouring First Nations are also being consulted.
Open houses are being planned for 2020 in Smithers, Granisle, and Burns Lake. Invitations will be extended to local government, neighbouring First Nations, community members, stakeholders, and tenure holders with tenures affected by the lands under discussion.
Note: These plans may be affected by ongoing Provincial Health Officer’s orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If so, the Province will ensure other opportunities for stakeholder engagement.
How to provide feedback:
MIRR.Skeena@gov.bc.ca at the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Skeena Region.
Dates and locations for open houses will be posted, once confirmed.
Details of the Consultation:
Type: Open houses, mail, individual meetings