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B.C. increasing forestry revenue-sharing with First Nations

Click to play video: 'B.C. increases forest revenue-sharing with First Nations'
B.C. increases forest revenue-sharing with First Nations
British Columbia unveiled a new forestry revenue-sharing model Wednesday that will more than double revenues shared with First Nations. Legislative bureau chief Keith Baldrey has the details and reaction. – Apr 27, 2022

British Columbia has unveiled a new forestry revenue-sharing model more than doubling revenues shared with First Nations.

The interim measure will lead to an increase of $63 million for First Nations this year.

“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,” Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin said.

Read more: B.C. First Nations make deal with Western Forest Products to defer old-growth logging

“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.”

First Nations communities across the province were concerned the current revenue-sharing was inadequate.

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Click to play video: 'B.C. First Nations reach deal to defer old-growth logging'
B.C. First Nations reach deal to defer old-growth logging

A long-term new forestry revenue-sharing model is expected to take at least two years to develop. 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 laid out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Read more: B.C. hears from 161 First Nations on plans for old-growth logging deferrals

Under the existing forestry revenue-sharing program, First Nations received $58.8 million in the fiscal year 2021-22.

One hundred and twenty-six First Nations have Forest Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements and 184 are eligible.

Click to play video: 'B.C. unveils plans to defer logging of old-growth forests'
B.C. unveils plans to defer logging of old-growth forests

“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,” Forests Minister Katrine Conroy said.

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“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.”

The interim enhancement will be effective April 1, 2022 and will increase rates by five percentage points.

Read more: B.C. logging company won’t dispute First Nation land claim, lawyer tells court

There will also be an additional enhancement of three per cent on BC Timber Sales revenue.

“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,” B.C. First Nations Forestry Council president Chief Bill Williams said.

“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.”

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