September 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the creation of the BC Treaty Commission and on October 10, 2012, the BC Treaty Commission released its annual report titled “Learning from our Success”. The report includes a reflection of the successes and challenges the BC Treaty Commission has seen over the past 20 years. Since 1992, the BC Treaty Commission has seen two final treaties implemented, one with the Tsawwassen First Nation and one with five Maa-nulth First Nations. In addition, there are currently three completed treaties, with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, Tla’amin Nation, and Yale First Nation that are going through the ratification process. Looking forward, there are two First Nations currently engaged in advanced Final Agreement negotiations (In-SHUCK-ch Nation and Yekooche Nation), one First Nation has completed its Agreement-in-Principle (K’omoks First Nation) and the following nine First Nations are in the advanced stages of negotiating their Agreements-in-Principle:

  • Homalco First Nation
  • Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Council
  • ‘Namgis Nation Nazko First Nation
  • Northern Shuswap Tribal Council
  • Te’Mexw Treaty Association
  • Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations
  • Tsimshian First Nations
  • Wuikinuxv Nation

Treaties can have significant effects on potential projects located within traditional First Nations territories. For example, treaties may affect surface and sub-surface rights; rights of access for roads and transmission lines and other rights of way; water rights; taxation; regulatory requirements; and processes for project review and approval. Project proponents should monitor treaty negotiation and ratification processes carefully to be aware of any potential impacts on their existing or potential land and resource rights and consider whether or how those rights can be legally protected.