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Increasing Demand for Critical Minerals Positions Canada’s Mining Industry for Success

January 24, 2020

VANCOUVER – Today, Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), in his annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, spoke of the state of Canada’s mining industry and how recent commitments to mining, particularly the new Canada-US Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration and the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP), show great promise for Canada’s mining sector.

“The United States is looking to Canada to be a supplier of critical minerals, essential to new, advanced technologies in major sectors of the North American economy, and the Government of Canada, as expressed in Prime Minister Trudeau’s most recent Mandate Letters to his Cabinet, is committed to meet US demands,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO. “Richly endowed with natural resources and with a globally leading mining sector committed to responsible mineral development, Canada is uniquely positioned to supply the US with critical minerals, representing a significant opportunity for new investment and growth in mining and mineral processing.”

Canada ranks among the top five countries in the global production of 15 minerals and metals. The new Canada-US Joint Action Plan will improve collaboration to ensure the responsible sourcing of the critical minerals that are essential to many different sectors, including clean technology and defense. In addition to the Canada-US Joint Action Plan, the CMMP, a federal-provincial initiative which includes measures that aim to enhance the sector’s competitiveness, stimulate innovation, advance the participation of Indigenous communities and promote Canada’s role as a global leader in the mining sector, also provides a vision that will position the industry for success in the years to come.

“Critical minerals are more than rare earth elements, and include several minerals and metals already mined in Canada, including cobalt, copper, precious metals, nickel and uranium, which are critical to low carbon electrification and new battery technologies in the automotive, space, defense and high-tech sectors,” continued Gratton. “It’s time to be ambitious. We have an opportunity to lay the foundation for a new era in investment and middle class job creation, not just in mining but in new, emerging downstream industrial and manufacturing sectors.”

Canada’s mining sector has long been a global leader in responsible mining practices. MAC’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program has emerged as a standard with significant international presence, adopted by mining associations in seven countries on five continents in the past five years. TSM focuses on enabling mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way through mandatory commitments to annually report and assure social and environmental performance with strong multi-stakeholder oversight.

“Looking forward, the opportunity for responsible growth is significant. And the obligation to grow responsibly has never been clearer,” continued Gratton. “Canadian metals come conflict free, mined meeting the highest environmental standards and a commitment to transparency unmatched anywhere. We are confident that with these sustainable standards and new government commitments, Canada’s mining industry has the tools and support to provide the responsibly sourced minerals vital to industries around the world.”

The mining industry is a major sector of Canada’s economy, contributing $97 billion to national GDP and responsible for 19 percent of Canada’s total domestic exports. Canada’s mining sector employs 626,000 people directly and indirectly across the country. The industry is proportionally the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada and a major customer of Indigenous-owned businesses.


About MAC

The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal and mined oil sands, and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit

For more information, please contact:

Cynthia Waldmeier, Director of Communications

The Mining Association of Canada

(613) 233-9392 x225, 613-894-2128 (cell) or


Mineral Exploration Closes the Market at Roundup 2020

TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2020 – Kendra Johnston, President & CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia, joined Chris Birkett, Director, Toronto Stock Exchange, to close the market from the exhibitor floor of Mineral Exploration Roundup 2020. Roundup is a premier technical mineral exploration conference that brings together geoscientists, prospectors, investors, suppliers and First Nation partners to share ideas that will help to shape the future of mineral exploration and development. Mineral Exploration Roundup 2020 takes place January 20-23 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East.


More than a sixth of all Central Okanagan children are living in poverty: report – KelownaNow

More than a sixth of all children in the Central Okanagan are living in poverty, a new report has found.

The 2019 BC Child Poverty Report Card showed that 17% of all children in the region live in poverty, compared to 15% of residents of all ages.

An astonishing 48% of all children in single-parent families in the Central Okanagan are living in poverty, according to the data, which come from Statistics Canada.

But only 8% of children in two-parent families are in poverty.

The total number of children in poverty in the region is 5,970.

The Central Okanagan’s poverty rates are, however, slightly below the British Columbia average.

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Open Letter: Vancouver Police Board Must Provide Immediate and Rigorous Oversight of BMO’s and VPD’s Racist Mistreatment of Indigenous Man and Granddaughter

January 23, 2020

Dear Vancouver Police Board,

It has been one month since an Indigenous man and his twelve-year-old granddaughter were racially profiled and wrongly handcuffed at a Bank of Montreal (BMO) branch in Vancouver. Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter, Tori-Anne, were subject to an appalling and traumatizing display of racism, one with roots in Canada’s colonial history of institutionalized discrimination and violence towards Indigenous peoples. In the days since, public statements by BMO have minimized the incident, framing it as “unfortunate” or as a learning opportunity.

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) strongly condemns the actions and inadequate, superficial responses of BMO and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). UBCIC calls on the Vancouver Police Board to provide its own thorough review of the case with the civilian oversight and governance it necessitates. Further, the UBCIC calls on the Vancouver Police Board to release the transcript of the call that BMO made to the VPD regarding Maxwell Johnson and Tori-Anne, as a matter of public interest. We are aware that the Vancouver Police Board will be listening to the audio of that call this afternoon.

To be criminalized and met with suspicion for simply opening a bank account is deplorable; it speaks to the prejudice and intolerance that pervades all levels of the society, and that the BMO and VPD have become enabling agents of. For Indigenous people to be labelled as ‘threats’ or ‘criminals’ by institutions based on their presence alone demonstrates the critical need for corporations and law enforcement agencies to not only be held accountable for racist misconduct, but for them to actively acknowledge and understand the lived experiences of Indigenous people. They need to exercise empathy and sensitivity and understand that the undue harm, trauma, fear, and humiliation they inflicted upon Maxwell Johnson and Tori-Anne is salt on a wound that spans generations. For an Indigenous child to be handcuffed and forced to witness her grandfather be wrongfully arrested re-enacts the horrific violence that defined the Indian Residential School System and the intergenerational trauma that stemmed from it. Johnson has spoken to how his treatment recalled the memories of Indigenous children being taken away from their families by the RCMP. This event further cements in the eyes of Indigenous people in B.C. how police act as colonizers, symbols of Indigenous subjugation.

The wrongful arrest of Johnson and Tori-Anne follows on the heels of the BC Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling that VPD officers discriminated against an Indigenous mother, Deborah Campbell, in 2016 when they physically and roughly blocked her from the arrest of her son. Just as with the Johnson and his granddaughter, the VPD reinforced harmful Indigenous stereotypes and used racial profiling to discount the validity of Campbell’s emotions and to position her not a concerned mother, but as an unruly nuisance.

The experiences of both Tori-Anne and Deborah Campbell also represent the lack of safety and ongoing oppression experienced by Indigenous women and girls at the hands of police. Numerous reports and public statements, including the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have highlighted this discrimination and called upon police forces for immediate systemic shifts to address the issue. In a society where Indigenous women and girls continue to be exploited, abused and murdered at alarming rates, it is unacceptable and deeply disturbing that the standard police response in these situations is to immediately treat Indigenous women and young girls as criminals.

In light of these disturbing and persistent incidences of racism and injustice, the UBCIC calls upon the Vancouver Police Board address the following concerns with an impartial, independent review of VPD and BMO member and staff conduct:

  1. The VPD’s response to the situation, that they acted according to “standard operating procedure,” has been inadequate, lacking the sensitivity and awareness of the racist dynamics at play that have been present within policing culture since the inception of colonialism.
  2. The BMO’s failure to obtain further information before reporting the supposed “fraud” is fundamentally racial profiling; their refusal to discuss the full account of what was said and what transpired during their reporting is also deeply troubling.
  3. A lack of empathy and understanding that Maxwell Johnson’s pre-existing panic disorder and anxiety was exacerbated by the actions of the BMO staff and police, and that further trauma for him and his granddaughter will occur and is a result of a legacy of police negligence and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples.
  4. The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has appointed the Delta Police Department to investigate the incident, and while an investigation is crucial, this poses a conflict of interest for police to be investigating their own on a matter of misconduct and racism.

It is not enough to have half-hearted apologies and promises of “moving forward” and “learning.”  We want concrete action – a transparent civilian review of Johnson’s case by the Vancouver Police Board, and a true understanding of how this event will remain in Tori-Anne’s mind as an indelible memory of confusion, fear, and shame. She will remember how she and her grandfather were singled out and dealt injustice based on a debilitating framework of racism.

We ask that the transcript of the BMO call to the VPD be made public because we believe it is a matter of public interest.  The public needs to know what was said in order to have in informed conversation and dialogue, and to work toward collectively and concretely addressing racism. Ultimately, with every incident of discrimination made public, there are promises made that it will not happen again. These promises mean little without the systemic change to counter the racism that built these institutions.


Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Chief Don Tom

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson

CC:      Mayor Kennedy Stewart

Vancouver Police Board
2120 Cambie Street
Vancouver BC V5Z 4N6
Via Email:


Band opens new cannabis shops – Oliver Chronicle

January 24, 2020

It’s the Osoyoos Indian Band’s turn to jump into the cannabis dispensary business.

The band recently opened Indigenous Bloom in Senkulmen Business Park (next to Tim Hortons), and soon plans to open another shop in Osoyoos.

Chief Clarence Louie said they have partnered with Indigenous Bloom to sell medicinal and recreational cannabis under the band’s Community Cannabis Bylaw. He stated their standards meet or exceed those imposed by the federal and provincial government.

“Economic prosperity and job creation are our clear objectives,” Louie said.

Robert Louie, executive chairman of Indigenous Bloom, said their goal is creating partnerships with Indigenous peoples on reserve land.

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SFU: Researchers use ‘two-eyed seeing’ to improve Indigenous children’s health

A $1 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) supports collaborators in combining strengths of Western science and Indigenous approaches.

Researchers in Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) are teaming up with the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC) and the First Nations Health Authority’s (FNHA) to lead a new project aimed at improving Indigenous children’s development and health.

The project is part of a global initiative to reduce adult and child onset chronic disease and foster health and wellness. Called Hishuk-ish tsawalk (everything is one, everything is connected): Using two-eyed seeing to optimize healthy early life trajectories for Indigenous Peoples, its goal is to optimize health and wellness among Indigenous children by optimizing development from conception through infancy to adolescence.

Optimizing children’s early environment will help to reduce the risks of chronic disease outcomes including mental health, anxiety, depression, substance use and suicide, and cardio-metabolic diseases, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The project is being led by NTC Director of Health Lynnette Lucas, who is also an SFU FHS adjunct professor, and NTC Manager of Nursing Services Jeannette Watts, together with SFU FHS researchers Pablo Nepomnaschy, Jeff Reading, Charlotte Waddell and Scott Venners, and FNHA Chief Medical Officer Evan Adams.

Says Lucas: “As Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall describes, ‘two-eyed seeing’ is an approach that uses the best strengths of both Indigenous and Western scientific ways of knowing for the benefit of all.

“Two-eyed seeing will inform all of our work. We are also guided by the FNHA’s strengths-based perspective on health and wellness, which encourages us to acknowledge challenges such as the ongoing legacy of colonialism, while also building the conditions for fostering resilience.”

She says the NTC’s support and leadership for the project builds on a long history of research and ethical advocacy. Combining resources from the FNHA, SFU and other academic institutions, she adds, helps to integrate First Nations’ ancient ways of knowing and creating knowledge, with academic health sciences and health services.

The project is designed from the bottom up, respecting the nation-based and community-driven principles of the FNHA’s approach to work.

All agree that Indigenous children’s early environments should include immersion in traditional knowledge, culture and language in community and on the land, and in early childhood education.

“It is very exciting to see Indigenous perspectives and approaches placed at the center of health research, the benefits of this will be felt for generations to come,” says FNHA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Evan Adams.

The research team will build on Nuu-Chah-Nulth’s strengths and promote resilience by using both Indigenous knowledge and Western scientific methods to evaluate existing early child health and parenting programs, and to inform the development and evaluation of new programs.

As well, students and community researchers involved in the project will obtain training while participating in public health research and policy development, which creates opportunities for future leadership.

The project has received one of three Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectory Initiative (I-HeLTI) team grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

With more than $1 million in funding over two years, researchers from SFU, UBC and the University of Victoria will collaborate with the FNHA and other partners, including the Indigenous Health Education Access Research Training Centre (I-HEART) and UBC-Providence Health’s Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI).

Says Lucas, “We hope that our findings will benefit all children and families in our NTC communities, as well as Indigenous and other children and families more broadly.”


Judith Sayers, president, Nuu-chah-hulth Tribal Council, 250.724.5757 ext 231;

Pablo Nepomnaschy, SFU health sciences professor, 778.782.8493;

Shradhha Sharma, SFU Media Relations, 778.782.3035;

John Moody, FNHA media relations, 604.693.6650;


BC introduces 6 skills training programs for Indigenous communities – Canadian HR Reporter

‘These new programs will create pathways to tens of thousands of in-demand jobs’

The Industry Training Authority (ITA), a government agency in British Columbia, is investing $7.5 million to support six two-year training programs meant to help Indigenous communities get into the workforce.

The programs will address community priorities and opportunities with courses ranging from exploratory and introductory trades to construction and electrical training. An estimated 48 people will receive introductory trades training that will pave the way to apprenticeships.

“ITA’s committed to building strong partnerships with industry, training providers and Indigenous communities to create innovative programs that enable Indigenous people to gain exposure to the skilled trades and find meaningful careers,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “These new programs will ensure more individuals have opportunities to access training and become apprentices while giving them the tools to be successful.”

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BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee demands Urgent Correctional Justice Reforms acroos Canada

(xwməθkwəy̓ əm/Musqueam Territory, Prince George, BC – Jan. 23, 2020) – Regional Chief Terry Teegee presented at the First Ministers Meeting on Justice and Public Safety in Victoria, BC to a receptive audience. He noted the stark contrast between the honest commitment to legal reform in the justice system and on-the-ground failure that is occurring in Canada’s increasing incarceration rates of Indigenous Peoples. The Regional Chief is demanding immediate action on correctional justice reforms for First Nations in British Columbia and Canada in response to the recent release of Canada’s Correctional Investigator, Ivan Zinger’s, report. Indigenous men and women are being imprisoned at a rate that is now surpassing 30 per cent, even though Indigenous people make up less than 5 per cent of the total Canadian population. Indigenous women account for a shocking 42 per cent of the women inmate population. Despite previous alarms on the issue of Indigenous incarcerations in Canada raised over and over again for many years, the rates have continued to increase and are now at a staggering and shameful level.

“Racism and apathy within the Canadian justice system and correctional institutions must be confronted and reversed immediately. Too many Indigenous lives and souls are lost to prisons. Reconciliation words are meaningless when incarceration rates almost double. This is a shame on all Canadians, but we have no choice but to rise to this challenge for our Peoples. For this reason, I stand in complete support of approaches such as the BC First Nations Justice Council’s strategy. It is a constructive path and it is one where the Indigenous Peoples walk as constitutional partners. We must accept that the status quo is failing us all and have the humility to embrace constructive change.” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

A key action to reversing the incarceration trend is the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into federal legislation. The declaration includes articles affirming the right of Indigenous peoples to create their own social systems and participate in all decision-making that affects their interests. Indigenous responsibility, control and resources for laws and justice in their own communities will begin to break down the immense task of over-incarceration.

The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) representing the 203 First Nations in British Columbia. BCAFN representation is inclusive and extends to First Nations currently engaged in the treaty process, those who have signed modern treaties, and those who fall under historic treaty agreements which include the Douglas Treaties and Treaty 8.

For further information, contact:
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, phone (250)981-2151, BC Assembly of First Nations.


Team BC 14U male basketball team will have a big presence on the court

Team BC 14U male team will have a big presence on the court

When it comes to basketball height matters and fortunately for the Team BC 14U male team, that will compete at the Halifax 2020 North American Indigenous Games, they have it.

“I have three traditional point guards and many players six feet or taller and all are pretty good ball handlers, which is impressive,” said head coach Kenneth Monture, who will lead the team at NAIG from July 12-19. “All the players are solid skill-wise and overall we are quite tall for our age group.”

While height might get players the first look from coaches, ultimately it comes down to skill when facing some of the top athletes from Canada and the U.S.

“Size plays such an important role at this age and at the calibre we will be playing at when we go to NAIG. The way the game is played now you need to formulate styles but having the basics in your toolkit of shooting, passing, ball-handling and good basketball IQ fits in well to any system you come up with,” said Monture.

Basketball has been one of Team BC’s strongest sports at the last two NAIG’s. Team BC had 10 different basketball teams (spread across different age groups) that represented the province at the 2014 and 2017 Games. They combined for a total of nine medals. The multi-sport event involves Indigenous athletes (aged approximately 13 to 19 years old) from Canada and the U.S. and has been staged intermittently since 1990.

The 14U male coaching staff are looking forward to seeing how the team comes together for the 2020 NAIG. Already they have a big presence with what Monture calls one of the best point guards for his age in the province in Liam Stevens (Richmond). He helped his team win the 2019 Junior All-Native Basketball Tournament. They are also expecting big things from Willis Stanley (Burnaby), Calvin Collison (Masset) and Levi Burton (Skidegate). Monture said Kwimcxn Waardenburg (West Kelowna) has also stood out because of his foundational skills and understanding of the game.

Coach Monture brings NAIG experience, having competed in Cowichan 2008 on the 14U basketball team. While they defeated the eventually gold medal winner (Arizona) in pool play, it was a point differential that cut their run to the podium short.

“It was a cool experience and it was the first time I played in an international competition. I later played in the U.S. for a summer and it really prepared me for what to expect when you are playing the best athletes from their province or state,” Monture said of the Games which are held every three years.

His experience at NAIG played a role in shaping his coaching career. After playing two years at the college level, Monture jumped into his passion of working with youth on the court.

“It started with basketball camps and seeing kids grow over the years at tournaments,” said Monture. “I get to work with some really talented players and have an impact on their growth and lives – even if you are only with them only for a short period of time like the run up to the Games.”

He is looking forward to getting to experience another NAIG, which promotes and encourages the cultural, spiritual and traditional values of the peoples it is representing.

Monture said the 14U squad is aiming to try and get into one tournament to develop their chemistry before heading to NAIG.

For more Team BC NAIG 2020 basketball articles, click here.

To view all the rosters for Team BC basketball and the development squads, click here.

For more information on Team BC contact:

Kristi Patton
Team BC Communications Coordinator


The Coastal GasLink dispute highlights the complicated, essential need to balance rights – The Globe and Mail

Sam Adkins is a lawyer with a focus on Indigenous law, based in Vancouver.

Private landowners in Richmond, B.C., might be surprised to learn that there is currently an aboriginal title claim winding its way through the courts that affects hundreds of private properties. More surprisingly, the court does not want them to know about it. Should they be concerned? Probably not, but the reasons why are complicated.

So goes Canadian Indigenous law, a complex and deeply political area of law that is quietly transforming Canada. It bubbles to the surface when pipelines are concerned, and a lot of ink is spilled about Indigenous consent, consultation and veto. The reality is that almost all of B.C. sits on unceded Indigenous land. Yet no one seriously questions the right of non-Indigenous British Columbians to live here. We implicitly understand the need to balance and reconcile important but conflicting rights to land.

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