Shared Priorities Framework
Progress to achieve the outcomes of the Shared Priorities Framework will be included in future annual Declaration Act annual reports.
In the first year of implementing the Shared Priorities Framework, which was signed in 2022, the Province and the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations (Alliance) have:
- Made significant progress on a lands and resources management model at the Collaborative Fiscal Process Table and is expected to go forward for government decision this fiscal year
- Established the Shared Priorities Working Group allowing for co-ordination of implementation efforts and established a collaborative approach for project management and tracking progress in implementing the Shared Priorities Framework
- Hosted the second annual leadership meeting between the Alliance and the Province to support relationship building and communication between the parties to identify and advance shared interests, and organized the third meeting
- Collaboratively identified key priority projects, including:
- Exploring, through the collaborative fiscal process, approaches to block funding
- Developing engagement guidance to support provincial staff to meaningfully work with Modern Treaty Nations and the Alliance on strategic initiatives, policy and legislation, and
- Initiating a project to develop education for public servants to support timely and respectful treaty implementation.
Also, as part of the Ministry of Finance’s work to collaboratively develop a new approach to treaty property taxation, Budget 2023 introduced amendments to the Treaty First Nation Taxation Act and the Nisga’a Nation Final Agreement Act to enable Modern Treaty Nations to self-determine exemptions from property tax for their members/citizens on treaty lands.
- Established fiscal arrangements to fulfil treaty rights and obligations that ensure:
- Modern Treaty Nations are appropriately resourced to fully implement their treaties
- The Province’s fiscal mechanisms reflect the jurisdiction and autonomy of Modern Treaty Nation governments and the tripartite nature of treaties, and
- Modern Treaty Nations can meaningfully participate in the development of new fiscal policies and programs.
- Established meaningful participation of Modern Treaty Nations in the Province’s legislative and policy initiatives to ensure:
- Early consideration of modern treaty rights in the development of policy and legislation so that modern treaty rights are recognized, observed and enforced
- The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is implemented in a manner consistent with distinct modern treaty rights, and
- Effective communication and engagement mechanisms that facilitate co-development and implementation of policy and legislation.
- Established organizational and policy changes in the provincial public service to advance a whole-of-government approach to treaty implementation which will ensure:
- Provincial accountability and oversight to uphold modern treaty rights to ensure timely, effective and appropriately resourced treaty implementation
- Provincial staff and elected officials understand and enforce treaty rights and obligations and uphold the government-to-government relationship between the Province and Modern Treaty Nations, and
- Formalization of communication channels between the Alliance and the Province to identify and advance shared interests.
How are we working together?
The Province works in consultation and co-operation with Modern Treaty Nations, through the Alliance, to advance the shared vision set out in the Shared Priorities Framework to ensure that:
- Modern treaties are recognized, observed and enforced
- Modern Treaty Nations and the Province are resourced for a whole-of-government approach to timely and effective treaty implementation
- The Province’s relationships with Modern Treaty Nations are rights, and
- The Province’s relationships with Modern Treaty Nations are dynamic and evolve and improve over time.
Consultation and co-operation occur across distinct and reflect their established ministries through working groups, forums and tables focused on specific initiatives and priority projects that advance the outcomes set out in the Shared Priorities Framework.
The Collaborative Fiscal Process Table is a leading example of where consultation and co-operation with the Alliance is occurring to collaboratively determine expenditure needed for treaty lands and resource management.
For overall coordination, there is also a Shared Priorities Framework Working Group between Alliance and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) that tracks overall progress and identifies new implementation priorities.
Are there challenges?
While the signing of the Shared Priorities Framework was a major milestone between the Province and the Alliance, challenges remain in ensuring successful implementation of the Framework.
One challenge is that Modern Treaty Nations find they must frequently use their staff resources and policy capacity to educate provincial leaders and staff on modern treaty rights and jurisdiction. When provincial staff do not take early steps to consider the impacts of their program, policy and legislation changes have on treaty rights and jurisdiction, there are risks of interruptions and delays to provincial initiatives as work is done to meaningfully engage Modern Treaty Nations. For Modern Treaty Nations, the risks can include potential infringement of rights and delays to the important work of Nation-building.