Our goal is to provide expertise in forest policy to support First Nations in managing the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and advance First Nations rights and interests through active two-way communications with First Nations communities and organizations on forestry issues, legislative and policy development and reform, in our efforts to ensure First Nations interests and priorities are addressed in provincial forest programs, policies and practices.
Some of the current and past policy issues that the FNFC has reviewed are described below:
The First Nations Forestry Council in partnership with Vancouver Island University, Centre for Pre-confederation Treaties and Reconciliation has produced a report that reviews the legal relationship with forests from a Crown perspective and from an Aboriginal perspective. The report discusses Aborignal Title and the legal relationship with forests, how it amounts to full beneficial ownership and the concepts of consent, consultation and accommodation. Finally, implications for decision-making and forest management are considered.
Natural Resources Road Act
The Province of BC is proposing a change in legislation that will revise how roads are handled for the province. The Province has recently conducted information meetings and distributed materials related to the proposed changes. Based on the feedback and responses, the change in legislation is expected to go to government in the fall of 2013. The presentations are here for your review and consideration.
Recent Policy Changes in BC and Implications to First Nations
As it did in March 2011, the British Columbia First Nations Forestry Council (FNFC) has undertaken a review of recent forest policy changes that affect First Nations governments and / or organizations (FNFC, 2011). This paper was funded by the New Relationship Trust.
Policy Review 2010
The FNFC underwent a review of various policy changes made by the Province that in some way may impact forest activities and first nations. Check out the review findings which are summarized in our report Recent Changes in Forest Legislation (March 2011)
The FNFC has worked to understand the level of participation in the forest sector that FN hold and have continued to advocate for improvements in provincial tenure policy that would make First Nations held tenure more viable.
In December 2007 we submitted the Tenure Viabilities Paper to the Minister after a year of Working Group discussions with the province. Tenure Viability Report (Dec 2007)
Provincial Working Roundtable on Forestry (spring 2009)
The Premier of BC called on the Minister of Forests to conduct a review of the forest sector in 2008 and the resulting roundtable working group recommendations report was introduced in the Spring of 2009. The FNFC made submissions to the roundtable which lead to Priority Six: First Nations Becoming Full Partners in Forestry, and five recommendations in the report related to First Nations in forestry. Our communities were further represented on the Roundtable by Dave Porter and Chief Lynda Price. This report has been leading the Ministry of Forests in its activities and workplans for the past year and will continue to provide direction over the coming years.