Land Transfers in Northeast British Columbia



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Engagement summary

The Province of British Columbia (the Province) and Treaty 8 First Nations in northeast B.C. are working together to transfer lands that are owed to Treaty 8 First Nations. Land transfers fall into two broad categories:

  1. Lands owed to Treaty 8 Nations since the signing of Treaty 8, and
  2. Lands to accommodate First Nations for the impacts of the Site C Clean Energy Project.

Please read below to learn more about land transfers, including the types of land transfers under consideration, and how you can provide feedback regarding land transfers.

About land transfers

The Province is building relationships and advancing reconciliation with Treaty 8 First Nations based on mutual respect and recognition of Treaty rights. Our government has a duty to uphold the honour of the Crown and implement historic treaties in ways that are fair and just. To support this, we are working to transfer lands which have been owed to Treaty 8 First Nations for more than 100 years, and to transfer land to accommodate those Treaty 8 First Nations that will have impacts on their treaty rights from the Site C Clean Energy Project.

The Province will fulfill land transfers through:

  1. Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) settlements,
  2. Site C Tripartite Land Agreements.

Land parcels have overlapping interests that need to be resolved before transfer can be completed. To keep selected parcels as clear as possible while the transfer process is happening, the Province may establish temporary protections (e.g., Land Act Section 17) on land selections while the land transfer processes are underway.

Parcels with temporary protections are still Crown lands and access remains open for activities such as hiking, hunting, and fishing. The protections simply hold the land in its current state during negotiations and stakeholder engagement. Once a land transfer is complete, permission to access the land is required from the landowners.

Transferring land is a lengthy process that does not happen right away.

Treaty Land Entitlement

Following the signing of Treaty 8 between 1900-1914, reserve land was allocated by the Government of Canada (Canada) to eight First Nations in northeast B.C., guaranteeing the signatories would receive land according to a population-based formula. Some Treaty 8 First Nations did not receive all the land they were entitled to under the signed Treaty, making them eligible to file a Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) claim with the Province and Canada.

The five Treaty 8 First Nations that currently have TLE claims are:

  • Blueberry River First Nations & Doig River First Nation (in a joint claim)
  • Halfway River First Nation & West Moberly First Nations (in a joint claim)
  • Saulteau First Nations

The TLE claims provides the Province and Canada an opportunity to right a long-standing injustice dating back more than 100 years. The Province is committed to working with Canada and the First Nations to reach settlements in a fair and equitable manner, consistent with our reconciliation goals and the needs of the First Nations’ communities.

TLE agreements are nearing conclusion for four of the Treaty 8 First Nations:

  • Blueberry River First Nations
  • Doig River First Nation
  • Halfway River First Nation
  • West Moberly First Nations

Public engagement is now closed for the land parcels included in these Lands Agreements.

Canada is expected to sign these agreements late in 2022, and the Province is working to implement the land transfers for parcels included in the Lands Agreements.

Saulteau First Nations are currently in TLE discussions with the Province, with Canada being included in the fall of 2022.


TLE Settlement and Lands Agreements

The Province has worked with Canada and the First Nations to reach settlements that consider the following:

  • the transfer of Crown land in BC:
    • Shortfall Land: land that will be transferred directly to Canada to become federal reserve land, as owed to the First Nations to make their reserves the size they should have been when the treaty was signed, and
    • Additional Land: land that will be made available for purchase by the First Nation, at fair market value, transferred fee simple* (as private land). Land transferred in fee simple would be subject to laws, bylaws, zoning regulations and property taxes- similar to any other private property. Some of these lands may be considered for additions to reserve through the federal Addition to Reserve (ATR) process.
  • Financial settlement from the federal government for lost opportunity for not having the Shortfall Land over the last 100 + years.

*fee simple = a way that real estate and land may be owned, considered the highest possible interest that can be held in real property.

Site C Tripartite Land Agreements

In 2013, Canada and the Province established a Joint Review Panel to examine – and hold a public hearing on – the Site C Clean Energy Project. The Panel’s final report in May of 2014 determined that Site C will have adverse impacts to the hunting, fishing, and trapping rights of some Treaty 8 First Nations.

The Province heard from Treaty 8 First Nations who are opposed to Site C, and their perspectives were an important part of the deliberations on a very challenging decision to move forward with the project.

The Province’s 2017 decision to proceed with construction of Site C was primarily driven by a determination that British Columbians should not have to take on $4 billion in debt with nothing in return for British Columbians and with massive cuts to the services they count on.

Through Site C Land Agreements (Site C Agreement), the Province is committed to accommodating Treaty 8 First Nations for adverse effects of the Site C Project on Treaty 8 rights.

Site C Agreements have been negotiated between:

  • BC Hydro
  • Province of British Columbia
  • Treaty 8 First Nations:
    • Doig River First Nation
    • Halfway River First Nation
    • McLeod Lake Indian Band
    • Prophet River First Nation
    • Saulteau First Nations

Commitments under the Site C Agreements related to land transfers include:

  • Crown land in BC being transferred to First Nations, as private land (fee simple *), which would be subject to laws, bylaws, zoning regulations and property taxes – like any other private property.
  • First Nations may apply to the federal government to add these land selections to an existing reserve through the federal ATR process.

*fee simple = a way that real estate and land may be owned, considered the highest possible interest that can be held in real property.

Partner engagement

Read the What We Heard from Stakeholders Report (November 2021)

Why We Engage

To share information about the land transfer process and proposed land selections, and to hear comments and feedback from partners for consideration as part of decision-making. Some interests and concerns may identify areas to be avoided or mitigated as well as possibly help inform changes to parcels.

How We Engage

The Province engages with the following partners:

  • Tenure holders (with permits/leases/licenses/tenures that overlap parcels proposed for transfer)
  • Local governments
  • Interest groups (industry, recreation, conservation)
  • Public

Engagement is conducted through in-person open houses, the govTogether website, correspondence (e-mail and letters) and the Northeast Roundtable. The Roundtable is a place for local governments, interest groups and First Nations to meet and discuss the identified land selections. It is also a place to help build awareness of government’s work on reconciliation and partnerships with First Nations. The Roundtable has been meeting since 2018 and continues to meet to discuss regional and provincial land and resource initiatives in Northeast BC.

Read the What We Heard from Stakeholders Report (November 2021)

Read the notes from the Charlie Lake open house held March 11, 2020

Read the notes from the Red Creek open house held March 12, 2020

Read the Land Transfer Fact Sheet 

Read the Questions and Answers Sheet 

Visit the Northeast Roundtable website for land transfer updates

Land parcel information

Click the links in the table to open overview maps, parcel-specific maps and spatial files (.KMZ) for use in Google Earth. Note that these parcel areas are subject to changes while the land transfer process is underway.

For information on importing KML/KMZ map data into Google Earth.


Selections Under Review

The Province will comprehensively engage stakeholders on new Crown land selections designated for transfer of ownership to First Nations; currently these include parcel selections from Saulteau First Nations.

Once all overlapping tenures and stakeholder concerns have been addressed, the land parcels will be finalized for transfer. The Province will continue to engage with stakeholders on new land transfers.

Detailed maps and spatial data are available below.

Saulteau First Nations
Parcel OverviewOverview Map
TLE ParcelsDetailed Selection Map
Site C ParcelsDetailed Selection Map
Spatial DataTLE KMZ file

Site C KMZ file

Final Selections

At this time, public engagement has closed for the land parcels currently selected as part of the TLE Lands Agreements for Blueberry River, Doig River, Halfway River and West Moberly First Nations. However, engagement may continue to resolve the overlapping third party interests (such as permits, licenses, leases, and tenures).

Although these land parcels are closed for comment, there may still be some changes to parcel areas as a result of steps in the land transfer process, such as survey.

Detailed maps and spatial data of these parcels are available below.

Blueberry River First NationsDoig River First NationsHalfway River First NationsWest Moberly First Nations
Parcel OverviewOverview MapOverview MapOverview MapOverview Map
TLE ParcelsDetailed Selection MapDetailed Selection MapDetailed Selection MapDetailed Selection Map
Site C ParcelsDetailed Selection Map
Spatial DataKMZ fileKMZ fileKMZ fileKMZ file

How to provide feedback

Members of the public are invited to provide written comments about how they may be impacted by proposed land transfers for both TLE settlements and Site C Land Agreements.

Comments may be submitted by letter or e-mail to:

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
370-10003 110th Avenue
Fort St. John, BC V1J 6M7
E-mail: MIRR.Northeast@gov.bc.ca

How your feedback will be considered

We will compile your feedback in a detailed record, which will be used to inform decisions of the transfer of Crown lands through TLE settlements and Site C Land Agreements.

The Province may use tools, such as Land Act Notation of Interests, Section 16, and Section 17 withdrawals, to establish temporary protections on land selections while the land transfer processes are underway. Parcels with temporary protections are still Crown lands and access remains open for activities such as hiking, hunting and fishing. The protections simply hold the land in its current state during negotiations and stakeholder engagement.

At this time, public engagement has closed for the land parcels currently identified in the Final Land Selection section (selections associated with the TLE Lands Agreements for Blueberry River, Doig River, Halfway River and West Moberly First Nations). This ran from May 30, 2019 to January 30, 2022.

For lands identified in the New Lands Selection, engagement is ongoing.

Details of the Engagement

Date: October 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023

Category: Government

Status: Ongoing

Location: Northeast

Type: Email, Mail