BRITISH COLUMBIA – The Province of BC 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.
This will lead to an immediate increase of $63 million for First Nations this year.
“I am encouraged by the new forestry revenue-sharing formula. 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,” said Chief Nicole Rempel of K’omoks First Nation.
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.
“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,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI).
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.
“Indigenous involvement in forest policy development, stewardship planning and operations is an important shared goal for First Nations and the province of BC 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 BC 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,” said Chief Jeff Jones of Pacheedaht First Nation.
BC 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 BC with 7 per cent 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 per cent, 4 per cent or 5 per cent to 8 per cent, 9 per cent or 10 per cent.
There will also be an additional enhancement of 3 per cent 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.