VICTORIA, B.C. – Through a historic revenue-sharing agreement between the Province and the First Nations Leadership Council, First Nations in B.C. will have a long-term source of funding to invest in their communities as part of Budget 2019.
Approximately $3 billion over 25 years will be shared with B.C. First Nations, starting in April 2019. Every First Nation community in B.C. will be eligible for between $250,000 and $2 million annually through the agreement.
Priorities for the funding will be determined by the First Nations communities which can be used for a wide range of benefits shared the Province, such as housing, infrastructure, training, environment protection, health and other uses.
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According to the Province, the agreement to share provincial gaming revenue was reached after decades of work and advocacy by the First Nations Leadership Council. Represented by the First Nations Gaming Commission, as directed through resolutions by Chiefs at assemblies of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. The Commission is establishing a new B.C. First Nations limited partnership to manage the funding, overseen by a First Nations-appointed board of directors.
“The B.C. government is finally implementing a long-awaited agreement to share gaming revenue that will enable First Nations the opportunity to prioritize critically important community issues that have long hindered their beneficial development,” said Grand Chief Joe Hall, former chair, BC First Nations Gaming Commission
An important step that puts reconciliation into action is sharing revenue with First Nations communities. The Province shares this agreement is part of B.C.’s commitment to creating a new fiscal relationship with First Nations, recognizing self-government and self-determination.
“First Nations have demanded a fair share from their territories for decades – our title and rights include an economic component that requires sharing in all sectors. The revenue-sharing agreement paves the way for First Nations to finally access a share of the provincial gaming revenue as well as access to community gaming grants that will support positive community change. We look forward to the upcoming Phase 2 of discussions on direct First Nations participation in gaming industry opportunities,” said Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
“This agreement will change lives for the better in every corner of the province. It means consistent, predictable and sustainable funding to support critical things every government needs, like improving infrastructure, implementing long-term planning and pursuing development opportunities to address the economic, social and cultural needs of Indigenous peoples on the lands that have belonged to them since time began. This is transformative for people, families and communities, and we’re very excited about that,” said Premier John Horgan
“This agreement is the result of decades of tireless work by the First Nations Leadership Council to ensure that the resources of our province are shared in a way that advances self-government and self-determination. I’m enormously proud of what we have accomplished together to ensure that communities have the resources they need and deserve,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance
“With this new source of funding, First Nations communities will have added resources to invest in important priorities that help communities flourish – social services, education, infrastructure, cultural revitalization and economic development. We are proud to put reconciliation into action by supporting the right of every First Nation in B.C. to self-government and self-determination,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation