Shared Priorities Framework with Modern Treaty Nations

The Shared Priorities Framework was developed in 2022 out of multi-year collaborative discussions between the Province and the Alliance of BC Modern Treaty Nations (Alliance) to identify new pathways to renewing treaty relationships and advancing treaty implementation.

The Province works in consultation and co-operation with Modern Treaty Nations (MTNs) and the Alliance to advance the shared vision set out in the Shared Priorities Framework to ensure that:

  • Modern treaties are recognized, observed, and enforced; 
  • MTNs and the Province are resourced for a whole of government approach to timely and effective treaty implementation; 
  • The Province’s relationships with MTNs are distinct and reflect their established rights; and 
  • The Province’s relationships with MTNs are dynamic and evolve and improve over time.

The Declaration Act Action Plan states that progress to achieve the outcomes of the Shared Priorities Framework will be included in Declaration Act annual reports.

Highlights in 2023/2024

Shared Priority One: Establishing fiscal arrangements to fulfill treaty rights and obligations

In the reporting period, MTNs and the Province:

  • Completed co-development of a new lands and resource funding model and brought it forward for consideration through their respective approvals processes;  
  • Began preliminary discussions to explore potential options for replacing existing transfer mechanisms with new fiscal arrangements that align with the government-to-government relationship in modern treaties; 
  • Established a dedicated working group to co-develop policy approaches for forestry revenue sharing with MTNs; and
  • Completed co-development of a new approach to treaty property taxation that will broadly enable MTNs to self-determine property taxation on their Nisga’a Lands and Treaty Lands, including whether and how to exercise their own assessment and property taxation laws and policies. The new, collaboratively developed legislative framework was introduced in the provincial budget and fiscal plan 2024/25-2026/27.

Shared Priority Two: Establishing meaningful participation of Modern Treaty Nations in the Province’s legislative and policy initiatives

In the reporting period:

  • MTNs collectively reviewed and discussed over 90 provincial policy and legislative initiatives and their implications for modern treaties;
  • Actively participated in many provincial engagements, including the development of the anti-racism legislation
  • MTNs and the Province planned and began developing guidelines for public servants on engaging MTNs; and
  • Initiated planning discussions to work collaboratively to develop modern treaty-specific distinctions-based approach guidance.

Shared Priority Three: Establishing organizational and policy changes in the provincial public service to advance a whole-of-government approach to treaty implementation

In the reporting period, MTNs and the Province:

  • Held the 2023 annual leadership meeting between the Province and Modern Treaty Nations (Premier’s Forum) and began planning the 2024 forum; 
  • Worked collaboratively to develop an instructional design plan for a treaty implementation course for public servants; and 
  • Engaged on the development of the Indigenous-Crown relations essentials course for all public servants.

Modern Treaty Nations and the Declaration Act

The Shared Priorities Framework includes a priority outcome that the Declaration Act be implemented in a manner consistent with distinct modern treaty rights. 

Modern Treaty Nations are self-governing First Nations with established and constitutionally protected rights set out in the treaties. 

It is important that in implementing the Declaration Act, Modern Treaty Nations are included early and often, as supported by Article 37 of the UN Declaration which states that:

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
  2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

“Our treaties are fundamental to our work as governments and as Nations — they provide the blueprint for true government-to-government relationships between Modern Treaty Nations and the Province of B.C. The Shared Priorities Framework provides additional tools to strengthen our relationships and advance treaty implementation.

Progress to achieve our shared priorities has not always been smooth and has not been consistent across government. However, we do believe that we’re headed in the right direction together. Our Nations and the Province have worked collaboratively to identify key priorities under the framework and we have set the stage for more meaningful engagement, education of public servants, and improvements to our fiscal relationship.

Continued success will be dependent on the increased awareness and understanding of modern treaties from the B.C. Government, woven together with continued momentum of the work to date, shaped into substantive actions and transformative change. This is the important work we look forward to continuing in collaboration with our treaty partners. We must move forward together as one, or in the hun’qumi’num language – Nautsa Mawt.”