April 27, 2022
Victoria — British Columbia is more than doubling the forestry revenues that will be shared with First Nations as part of the work to co-develop a new forestry revenue-sharing model.
“We are co-developing a new fiscal relationship to bring immediate benefits to First Nations and enhance government-to-government relationships in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “We are moving away from the short-term transactional approach of the past toward a new fiscal framework that recognizes, respects and supports Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination.”
Katrine Conroy, Minister for Forests, said: “Our vision is for First Nations to be full partners in sustainable forest management and to receive meaningful benefits from forestry taking place on their territory. By immediately doubling the amount of forestry revenue shared with First Nations and starting work to co-develop to a new revenue-sharing model, we are taking another important step to realize this vision and expand opportunities for Indigenous Peoples across B.C.”
Forestry revenues are a significant component of resource revenues in the province, with most First Nations receiving benefits. However, the current forestry revenue-sharing model is “inadequate”. The Province has heard this feedback through various engagement initiatives with First Nations, including engagement on the BC First Nations Forest Strategy and the Forestry Modernization Intentions Paper.
Engagement on co-developing a new forestry revenue-sharing model is expected to take at least two years. The interim enhancements will be in place until a new forestry revenue-sharing model is finalized.
B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to recognize in law the international standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). The steps taken help achieve the commitments expressed in Actions 1.4 and 1.5 of the Declaration Act Action Plan 2022-27 to co-develop with Indigenous Peoples a new distinctions-based fiscal relationship that supports the operations of Indigenous governments and new distinctions-based policy frameworks for resource revenue sharing.
The first step in developing a new fiscal relationship began in 2019 with gaming revenue sharing, which provides all First Nations in B.C. with 7% per year of net provincial gaming revenues through 2045, which is approximately $123 million from 2019 to 2021.
- Under the existing forestry revenue-sharing program, First Nations received $58.8 million in fiscal year 2021-22.
- One hundred and twenty-six First Nations have Forest Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements (FRCSA) and 184 are eligible.
- The interim enhancement will be effective April 1, 2022 and will increase FCRSAs rates by five percentage points – from 3%, 4% or 5% to 8%, 9% or 10%.
- There will also be an additional enhancement of 3% on BC Timber Sales revenue.
- If all eligible First Nations enter an FCRSA with the enhanced rates, revenue sharing is expected to total up to $130.8 million in fiscal year 2022-23.
- FCRSAs were established in 2003.
- B.C. has long heard from First Nations that the language contained in FCRSAs is inconsistent with government’s commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- While B.C. works to co-develop a new revenue-sharing model, the Province will also work with agreement holders to update this language and address some of these concerns, with a focus on government-to-government relationships.
For more information on the Declaration Act and to download a copy of the action plan: https://declaration.gov.bc.ca/
List of current Forest Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-negotiations/forest-consultation-and-revenue-sharing-agreements
A backgrounder follows.
What people are saying about forestry revenue sharing
Chief Bill Williams, president and chair, B.C. First Nations Forestry Council –
“The First Nations Forestry Council is pleased to see this commitment toward meaningful sharing of forest revenues. This direction supports our recent work toward a First Nations forest strategy that includes sharing of economic benefits from forest, lands and resources derived from First Nation territories. We all benefit from a thriving sustainable forest sector that recognizes the key role First Nations play in the economic, the environmental and the social landscape.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) –
“We welcome the Horgan government’s tangible steps toward a jointly developed fiscal relationship with First Nations, as promised in the Declaration Act Action Plan. The UBCIC has been calling on the Province to work with First Nations on a jointly designed approach to forest and range decisions in their respective territories for more than a decade, and we are encouraged that this work is moving forward. As First Nations, we enjoy an economic component to our inherent Title and Rights, including our sacred forests, and it is essential for the Province to recognize this.”
Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit –
“Sustainable forestry revenues are a critical component of economic self-determination for First Nations in B.C. We look forward to working with the Province to co-develop a new fiscal model for forestry revenues in B.C., consistent with our shared commitment in 2018 to design and implement new models of fiscal relations in support of a sophisticated government-to-government relationship. We also acknowledge and commend the Province for the immediate interim uplift of forestry revenues shared with First Nations, as the new fiscal model is being co-developed. A new fiscal model must reflect a modernized government-to-government relationship that recognizes First Nations inherent title and rights, and recognizes that all governments, including First Nation governments, require multi-streams of revenues to support their capacity to serve their citizens. In doing so, we will be supported in our shared objective of closing the socioeconomic gaps faced by our communities.”
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations –
“As the Province shifts away from old colonial models of governance, laws and policies, and continues to lift up the pathway to reconciliation, First Nations will increasingly experience economic, social and cultural benefits from the resources that are being harvested on their traditional territories. I am pleased the Province is doubling the rate of forestry revenue being shared with First Nations which confirms their commitment to our new relationship and the recognition and accommodation of First Nations’ title and rights. I also look forward to the critical work that is being collaboratively done between First Nations and the provincial government to develop a new forestry revenue-sharing model, which must continue expanding the new fiscal relationship.”
Chief Nicole Rempel, K’omoks First Nation –
“I am encouraged by the new forestry revenue-sharing formula announced today. Forestry is a key economic driver for K’omoks First Nation and important for the entire region. Building a new fiscal relationship with the Province is a priority for K’omoks and this positive step will help lead us forward together as we continue our negotiations on a new treaty.”
Chief Murphy Abraham, Lake Babine First Nation –
“Forestry is a major focus of Lake Babine Nation’s 20-year Foundation Agreement with B.C. and Canada because for decades, our communities watched logging trucks haul trees from our territory for the benefit of others. Improved forestry revenue sharing is a milestone in our Foundation Agreement and one of the steps toward implementing our Aboriginal title. Lake Babine welcomes B.C.’s announcement today. Our Nation is keen to contribute to the development of a new revenue-sharing policy, one that supports our increased participation in the forestry sector and provides us with more revenue to address the pressing needs of all our citizenship, including the urban citizens who live away from our communities.”
Chief Jeff Jones, Pacheedaht First Nation –
“Indigenous involvement in forest policy development, stewardship planning and operations is an important shared goal for First Nations and the province of B.C. Pacheedaht First Nation welcomes the advance of this co-operation and commitment to increasing the distribution of forest revenues with this announcement, and looks forward to being involved in finding lasting solutions. We are encouraged that B.C. recognizes the need and urgency to overhaul the forestry revenue-sharing model to make it fairer and make progress toward recognition of Indigenous rights and title.”
Hegus John Hackett, Tla’amin Nation –
“I commend the Province’s commitment to co-developing a new forestry revenue-sharing model with First Nations. This important step toward reconciliation in the forestry sector will support self-determination and implementation of a new fiscal relationship with First Nations in B.C. that is based on mutual respect and recognition of inherent rights to land and resources. I look forward to working with the Province to move this work forward in a collaborative way.”
hiwus Warren Paull, shíshálh Nation –
“Forestry has been the bedrock of the economy in shíshálh’s swiya for many generations, but our Nation has seen little benefit from this activity. Improving the sharing of revenue generated from forestry is an important step, which we have long been calling for. We commend the Province for this important action. There is still much collaborative work to do to ensure the revenue-sharing model fully implements the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and we look forward to working with B.C. to complete this work.”
Dallas Smith, President, Na̲nwak̲olas Council –
“We appreciate this government taking this important step forward on revenue sharing. This initiative along with the other commitments around old growth, coastal revitalization and our Large Cultural Cedar protocol and integrated resource management plans will bring the needed paradigm shift necessary to restructure forest management in concert with our rights and title and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. We look forward to working together on this path.”
Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) –
“COFI and our member companies have long advocated for increased revenue sharing with First Nations for forestry activities taking place on their traditional territories and today’s announcement is a positive step in that direction. As government-to-government work advances to co-develop a new model, we will be here to support this process and remain committed to doing our part to support the path towards reconciliation.”