NEWS RELEASE · 3rd May 2012
Min of Aboriginal Relations
Provincial laws to regulate on-reserve development projects
Legislation introduced today will allow provincial laws and regulations to apply to major commercial and industrial projects on federal Indian Reserve Land for the first time, announced Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Mary Polak.
Bill 43, the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) Implementation Act, implements the federal government's FNCIDA initiative, which seeks to regularize development on Indian Reserves.
Under the Constitution, Indian Reserves are a federal responsibility.
The legislation allows B.C. to enter into agreements with Canada and First Nations to administer provincial laws on reserve lands for specific projects. Two projects have been brought forward at this time:
* The proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility on a Haisla Nation reserve near Kitimat.
* A proposed commercial and residential development on Squamish Nation reserve lands in the Lower Mainland.
The First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA) is federal legislation intended to close significant gaps in regulation on reserve and help facilitate economic development projects. The act was introduced in the House of Commons in 2005, came into force in 2006 and was amended in 2010 to specifically support the Squamish project.
Without FNCIDA, any First Nation can proceed with developments on-reserve, without being subject to the same provincial regulations that apply to off-reserve developments. Through the federal FNCIDA and the new provincial legislation, agreements and regulations will be put in place that fill regulatory gaps and apply provincial legislation to specified reserves, while creating greater certainty for investment capital and government regulation.
The projects with the Squamish and Haisla Nations are examples of how the FNCIDA Implementation Act can enable applicable provincial statutes and regulations (such as environmental laws) to apply to major commercial and industrial projects developed within Indian Reserves. In order for projects to be subject to this regime, the federal government will pass an implementing regulation under FNCIDA consistent with the agreements between the First Nations, the Province and Canada.
Quotes provided with this news release:
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Mary Polak - "The federal government's FNCIDA legislation sets the stage for B.C. to reach agreements with First Nations that will allow the more rigorous provincial rules to apply where they don't now."
"First Nations and local governments want to maintain cordial and respectful relationships as neighbours; FNCIDA agreements are a tool that can address local concerns regarding on-reserve development, including commitments to help defray the cost of infrastructure such as transportation and schools that can be associated with on-reserve development."
Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell - "We have been working in partnership with local, provincial and federal governments on this initiative because we believe it will enable our lands to compete on a level playing field in the marketplace."
Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation Ellis Ross - "The proposed LNG facility is a game-changer for the Haisla People, a vital opportunity to take our place in a fast-growing global industry. The legislation the B.C. government is introducing will help bring regulatory and investment certainty to a project that will benefit not only the Haisla People but many others in the North."
Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan - "The implementation of the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act will help the Haisla in addressing the regulatory requirements surrounding complex development."
District of West of Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith - "The District of West Vancouver looks forward to working with the Squamish Nation as they enter a new phase of economic development and prosperity. We will work together to develop a servicing agreement which is fair and equitable to both parties."
* The proposed LNG facility on Haisla lands will liquefy natural gas for export. The facility is projected to create more than 3,500 estimated person-years of construction employment (over four years) and approximately 500 permanent jobs and contracting positions over an approximately 20-year operating period. Also, as a result of the FNCIDA regulation, the BC Oil and Gas Commission will be the primary provincial regulator of the LNG facility.
* The Squamish Nation is planning residential commercial development for its reserve lands, in the Capilano (West Vancouver) reserve. The Squamish Nation FNCIDA agreement includes the First Nation's agreement to make a financial contribution to help defray the cost of infrastructure such as transportation and schools. The Squamish Nation has also agreed to negotiate local government service agreements to pay for the cost of local services delivery to its reserve.
* Through a federal regulation, a new land title system for the Squamish project will be created, to be administered by the provincial Land Title and Survey Authority on behalf of the federal government.
This will allow leases on Squamish land to be registered with the provincial Land Title Office.