FNLC Update on United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Legislation in BC

To provide an update on the status and progress of the commitment from the Government of British Columbia to introduce legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) in BC.

In the February 2019 Speech from the Throne, the Government of BC committed to introducing UN Declaration legislation in the Fall 2019. First Nation Chiefs supported the development of UN Declaration legislation in BC through resolutions of the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), the First Nations Summit (FNS) and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) (collectively the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC)). The resolutions mandated the FNLC to advance the legislation with the Province, with regular reports provided to First Nations at their respective assemblies. Since February 2019, political representatives from the FNLC, along with a legal and technical team, worked with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) to jointly develop draft legislation to implement the UN Declaration in BC.

A consultation bill has been prepared and First Nation Chiefs and Leaders have been invited to view the bill, based on the process of entering into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the Government of BC, as it remains confidential until introduced in the Legislative Assembly. The commentary and feedback will be gathered from each session and put forward to the legislative technical working group to ensure documentation and submission to the province.

First Nation Leadership had the opportunity to sign an NDA and view the bill during the UBCIC Annual General Assembly on October 3rd, and will have another opportunity during the morning of Thursday October 17th, in a side room at the First Nations Summit meeting, which is taking place at the Musqueam Community Centre.

It is expected that the Government of BC will introduce the bill at the fall session of the Legislative Assembly, which opened this week.


The importance of the UN Declaration as the framework for reconciliation has been emphasized in numerous reports and in work led by First Nations in BC. The 2016 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action included Action #43 that called upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the UN Declaration as the framework for reconciliation. The Government of BC, working with First Nations, has committed to respond to that Call to Action.

The Government of BC took the position that a provincial bill to implement the UN Declaration should be modeled after the federal Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration (the UN Declaration) on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bill C-262 was a private members bill put forward by NDP MP Romeo Saganash which was adopted by the House of Commons but was stalled during the Senate Committee review stage resulting in endless delay, eventually preventing the bill from receiving royal assent.

The UN Declaration was already woven into the work of the Government of BC through the several sources, including Premier Horgan’s Ministerial Mandate Letters, the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC NDP Caucus, the Commitment Document: Shared Vision, Guiding Principles, Goals and Objectives (“Vision”), and Concrete Actions: Transforming Laws, Policies, Processes and Structures (“Concrete Actions”).

In the 2019 Throne Speech, the Government of BC committed to jointly design, construct and implement legislation to implement the UN Declaration in BC and discussion has been underway for some time on this based on advocacy from First Nations. There have already been many citations and references to the UN Declaration by the courts, federal and provincial governments to date, including several recent agreements for reconciliation between First Nations and BC, and the new legislation that has begun to reference it in relation to specific areas of joint work.

The First Nations approach to UN Declaration legislation in BC was that the legislative framework must have particular focus to:

1)  Review and/or reform laws, regulations and policies to ensure that they are compliant with the UN Declaration based on a new collaborative process;

2)  Provide Indigenous Peoples the necessary resources and capacity to fully participate in the review of laws and policies and to engage First Nations title and rights holders;

3)  The development of an independent oversight and meaningful process to review and report on progress on implementation and create a clear action plan for the work required to shift from the colonial laws and policies imposed on First Nations peoples and governments in BC to one of collaboration and cooperation;

4)  A public education component providing information and knowledge of the UN Declaration and Indigenous peoples’ rights to BC Public Service Employees and the BC public at large.

The legislation would also allow for agreements between the Government of BC and First Nations for decision making on matters addressed in provincial statutes. This will create space for First Nations to have shared or sole decision making in key areas based on agreements with the Province, overcoming an impediment that has held back progress on many areas and has been identified as a priority at several negotiation tables.

The FNLC wants to ensure that all First Nation Chiefs and Leaders who want further information on the consultation bill can be provided that information. Briefing sessions to view the draft or consultation bill have been underway, and many Chiefs and leaders have participated to date. If you were not available to attend the UBCIC session and are not available to participate in the session scheduled for next week’s FNS meeting, and are interested in a briefing, please contact the FNLC and we can support you to be briefed and request government make appropriate arrangements in your circumstances..

The FNLC will be doing public education on the UN Declaration and the bill and wants to ensure that all First Nation Chiefs and Leaders are supported to explain and advance the importance of the UN Declaration at the local and community level, with your partners, other governments, business and civil society organizations.

Colin Braker, Communications Director, First Nations Summit (cbraker@fns.bc.ca)
Maureen Buchan, Senior Policy Advisor, BC Assembly of First Nations (maureen.buchan@bcafn.ca)
Andrea Glickman, Policy Director, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (andrea@ubcic.bc.ca)


FNHA: New All Nations Room at West Coast General Hospital provides a culturally safe space for all families, patients

PORT ALBERNI – Members of the Nuu-chah-nulth communities gathered today to celebrate the grand opening of a culturally-safe space inside West Coast General Hospital that is welcoming to Indigenous patients and families.

The All Nations Room is a space where families can gather to share traditional healing practices and ceremonies, such as prayer and ritual cleansing. A special grand opening event was held today to celebrate the opening of the room for all who want to make use of it.

“The All Nations Room will increase the representation of the Nuu-chah-nulth people and culture in the physical environment of the West Coast General Hospital, and will support First Nations people to feel more at ease in the hospital setting. We proudly stand with our communities on this day of celebration and raise our hands to our partner (Island Health) for their commitment to creating a culturally safe space,” said Brennan MacDonald, FNHA’s Executive Director for Vancouver Island. “This project builds on the commitment to address cultural safety and humility in health-care services under the Partnership Accord between the First Nations of Vancouver Island, the First Nations Health Authority and Island Health.”

“We are committed to providing health-care that is culturally respectful and addresses the needs of Indigenous patients and their families,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Port Alberni-Pacific Rim. “I’m proud to see the opening of the new All Nations Room and hope that it helps Indigenous patients feel comforted and supported on their healing journey.”

“The creation of the All Nations Room is a result of a partnership between First Nations, the First Nations Health Authority, and Island Health,” said Ian Knipe, Director of Aboriginal Health for Island Health. “The All Nations Room reflects a commitment from Island Health to ensure that First Nations people and other Indigenous peoples feel welcomed and respected when they come to West Coast General Hospital.”

The West Coast General Hospital Cultural Saf ety Committee proposed an All Nations Room at West Coast General Hospital in 2014. Representatives from the Tseshaht, Hupacasath, Uchucklesaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, three local health service providers, Island Health and the First Nations Health Authority worked together to turn this into reality. The West Coast General Hospital Foundation generously provided $10,000 to furnish the space.

“The West Coast General Hospital Foundation is pleased to have contributed furnishings to the All Nations Room as an expression of our support for diversity and inclusivity in our community,” said Foundation business director Chris Francey. “We trust this new space will provide any family in need of a safe and welcoming environment within the hospital to gather together and share their feelings during challenging times.”

The All Nations Room in West Coast General Hospital is a comfortable space with a small kitchen area, tables and reclining chairs.

About FNHA:

The FNHA is responsible for planning, management, service delivery and funding of health programs, in partnership with First Nations communities in BC. Guided by the vision of embedding cultural safety and humility into health service delivery, the FNHA works to reform the way health care is delivered to BC First Nations.

About Island Health:

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 794,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 21,000 staff and over 2,000 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: Public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.

Media Inquiries:

Island Health
Dominic Abassi



First Nations Health Authority
John Moody




Applications for grants to build safer communities being accepted

Oct. 11, 2019

VICTORIA – Organizations throughout the province working to make B.C. communities safer are invited to apply to the 2019-20 Civil Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Remediation grant program.

Details of the grant submission process, which is open from Oct. 11 to Nov. 18, 2019, are available online:

This year’s funding streams focus on a number of government priorities, such as:

  • community-led crime prevention;
  • healing and rebuilding in Indigenous communities;
  • restorative justice;
  • addressing violence against women and children, including:
    • sexual assault and domestic violence;
    • domestic violence prevention/intervention programming for those who commit violence in intimate-partner relationships;
    • human trafficking, sexual exploitation and vulnerable women in the sex trade; and
    • child and youth advocacy centres;
  • police responses, specialized equipment and training.

As in past years, the overall amount of funding available for grants will depend on the value of cases concluded by British Columbia’s Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) during the current fiscal year, with grants awarded by the end of March 2020.

The CFO works to remove the profits from unlawful activity by taking away the proceeds and assets used in crime, and reinvesting them in community safety and crime prevention. The vast majority of cases are linked to drug, gang and organized crime.

Learn More:

B.C.’s civil forfeiture program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/crime-prevention/civil-forfeiture-office


Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Media Relations
250 213-3602

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect


The Power of 3: Native Women’s Association of Canada, UN Women and World Indigenous Business Network Join Forces for Empowerment

(Vancouver, BC): One organization can work towards progress, but three organizations will ensure that progress happens.

Today, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) joined forces with the World Indigenous Business Network (WIBN) and UN Women to create a historic partnership that will empower Indigenous women entrepreneurs, both here in Canada and throughout the Americas. This partnership, says NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx, will not only give Canada’s Indigenous women access to information, resources and knowledge sharing, but also encourage them to exchange ideas, make investments, conduct market research and create sustainable partnerships.

The announcement was made today at the World Indigenous Business Forum, being held this week in Vancouver, BC. The forum is sponsored by WIBN, an online community that connects, inspires and mobilizes organizations and entrepreneurs to promote Indigenous prosperity through economic growth. UN Women supports UN member states as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, with one strategic priority centred on income security, decent work and economic autonomy.

As the political voice for Canada’s Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people, NWAC serves to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies. “A key pillar is to build the leadership capacity of Indigenous women and gender-diverse people,” says Ms. Groulx.

“Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people have the right to improve their economic conditions through employment, entrepreneurship, education and training. For our communities, barriers to employment are numerous,” she adds. Ensuring that Indigenous women have better access to training and education programs that will improve their participation is key.

“NWAC is committed to helping further the economic independence of Indigenous women and their communities. Our business training programs and networks and our newly created Social and Cultural Innovation Centre are designed to give Indigenous women the tools they need to achieve economic stability, security and independence,” says NWAC president Lorraine Whitman.

“Indigenous women create change and should be recognized for their participation in worldwide economic growth. NWAC is delighted to enter into a partnership agreement with WNIB and UN Women. This partnership will help us strengthen the leadership and economic capacity of Indigenous women in Canada,” Ms. Whitman added.



BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee hosting First Nations Business Forum in Vancouver Today

(xwməθkwəy̓ əm, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations  shared territories, BC, Oct. 11, 2019) – BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) Regional Chief Terry Teegee is hosting the BC First Nations Business Forum in Vancouver. Chiefs, leaders, economic development administrators, entrepeneurs, and youth are gathering at the Marriott Pinnacle Vancouver Hotel to attend this event. The theme, Reawakening Indigenous Trade and Economic Relationships in the Era of Reconciliation, has shaped a unique schedule of speakers who will explore international trade, community innovation, governance and more. The BCAFN is mandated to advance the First Nations Sustainable Economic and Fiscal Relations Strategy, by working to explore opportunities for economic growth, First Nations capacity and highlighting the extensive talent and knowledge held by BC First Nations.Regional Chief Teegee also holds the national Assembly of First Nations (AFN) economic development portfolio.

“First Nations’ business ventures in BC are growing significantly in every sector of the local, regional, and national economies. Now, we are exploring ways to reestablish and grow our once extensive traditional trade partners and routes which have been diminished or erased over many decades by colonization,” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “From major projects to partnerships, financing, capital and even trade, the possibilities for our communities, our businesses and our entrepreneurs are limitless.”

The BC First Nations Business Forum being held today is the second event this year and immediately follows the 10th World Indigenous Business Forum that was held in Vancouver this week. In February, the BCAFN hosted a forum in Prince George and highlighted the vast experiences and knowledge held by First Nations women and youth in business. The First Nations Business Forums are supported by the British Columbia government and the British Columbia Business Council (BCBC).

This forum is for First Nations Chiefs, leaders, economic development administration, entrepreneurs and youth interested in learning more about the latest in the economic potential of First Nations and their people. Tickets for the event are sold out but it can be viewed LIVE online HERE

The next First Nations Business Forum will be held in Prince George, BC on January 31, 2020.

Event website


For further information, contact:
Derek Hansom, Economic Development Policy Analyst, derek.hansom@bcafn.ca
Annette Schroeter, Communications Officer, phone (778)281-1655.


New First Nations partnership wants in on LNG – JWN

Oct. 11, 2019

Four First Nations in northwest B.C. are planning to get in on the LNG industry, and they are framing their effort as a climate change initiative.

The Nisga’a, Haisla and two Coast Tsimshian bands – the Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla – have partnered in an initiative called the Northwest First Nations Collaborative Climate Change Initiative (FNCCI).

They signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday, October 9 in Vancouver to cooperate in the “planning, management, construction and ownership” of new LNG projects.

First Nations that are already participating in LNG and associated pipeline projects see the industry as a way out of poverty.

Read More: https://www.jwnenergy.com/article/2019/10/new-first-nations-partnership-wants-lng/

Burnaby Village Museum’s new Indigenous learning week ‘long overdue’: programmer – Burnaby Now

October 11, 2019

About 500 Burnaby Grade 4 and 5 students are learning about the history and culture of local First Nations this week – from people who belong to them.

All week long, classes have been visiting Burnaby Village Museum during the inaugural Burnaby Indigenous Week of Learning.

Once on site, they have been rotating through four different stations, learning about local First Nations languages, weaving, Coast Salish art, plus local plants and their traditional uses.

Museum programs coordinator Sanya Pleshakov said the week grew out of relationships the museum has been working on with local First Nations and the school district over the last few years.

Read More: https://www.burnabynow.com/news/education/burnaby-museum-s-indigenous-learning-week-called-long-overdue-1.23974353

VanPlay master plan sets course for Vancouver’s next 50 years

VanPlay will give this Board—and Boards well into the future—the powerful tools, lenses and rationale to build an equitable and connected parks and recreation system.

Stuart Mackinnon, Chair, Vancouver Park Board

October 10 2019 –

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has endorsed the final two reports of VanPlay, the city’s parks and recreation services master plan. The plan, developed over the past three years with input from thousands of residents, stakeholders, partners and consultants, outlines the bold moves that represent a new way of thinking, with equity, asset needs and connectivity at the core of Park Board planning and decision-making.

“VanPlay is the map and compass that will guide us as we plan and grow parks and recreation opportunities for the next 50 years,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “More importantly, VanPlay will give this Board—and Boards well into the future—the powerful tools, lenses and rationale to build an equitable and connected parks and recreation system.”

The approval of VanPlay represents a significant and defining moment for the Park Board; a commitment to the equitable delivery of parks and recreation opportunities in a connected, efficient manner which celebrates the unique history of the land, place, and culture.

The VanPlay strategy will have positive and sweeping implications for much of the Vancouver Park Board’s day-to-day operations, as well as park and facility planning. Most notably, three Strategic Bold Moves PDF file (38 MB) (Equity, Asset Needs, and Connectivity) will enable staff to focus resources, projects, and capital planning outlooks in a more purposeful way.

Decisions driven by equity

Bold Move 1: Equity provides staff and the Park Board with tools to begin to address imbalances in the delivery of resources such as trees, parks, land use and infrastructure. The community and stakeholders were clear that equity, inclusion, and access are top priorities for the future, with a focus on increased transparency around decision-making and priority-setting.

Using the Initiative Zones equity tool, historically under-served areas of the city can be identified. By focusing projects, resources, funding, and effort on these areas of the city, over time, provision will become more equitable.

Assets to meet Vancouver’s growing and changing needs

Bold Move 2: Asset Needs, takes stock of the Park Board’s assets – which include park space, sports fields, ice rinks, and urban forests, to name a few, and considers future needs through goal setting to provide service excellence. Targets provide the ability to measure goals over time, prioritize investments, and align funding.

A vision for a connected parks and recreation system

Bold Move 3: Connectivity, intends to create vibrant, healthy communities by encouraging the connection and integration of parks and facilities with the neighbourhood, the city, and the region. The connected network will create places to play, exercise and socialize while providing pathways for the movement of urban wildlife and rainwater, with direct and intuitive connections for pedestrians and cyclists of all ages and abilities.

The concept is based on Vancouver’s famous seawall, a pathway that provides connections with a park-like experience and also reflects First Nations principles such as a strong sense of belonging on the land, relationship to the water, and the importance of gathering spaces and places to heal.

The plan to get us there

VanPlay also includes a Playbook Implementation Plan PDF file (6 MB), which identifies foundational tasks and approaches for action such as setting clear policy, supporting effective communication, and building robust data and mapping resources, which will ease the implementation of the entire suite of VanPlay recommendations.

VanPlay is the culmination of three years of intensive and unprecedented engagement with Vancouver residents, stakeholders, park and recreation partners, staff, Board members and industry consultants. In all, over 30,000 conversations took place, including more than 4,000 during a tour of the city with a pop-up playground. Nearly 4,000 surveys were completed, and more than 600 people attended the VanPlay Smart City talk series to hear dozens of speakers explore potential ideas for the future of parks and recreation in Vancouver.

In July, 2018, the Board approved the Inventory and Analysis report, which describes the current state of parks and recreation in Vancouver, including findings from community, staff, and stakeholder engagement relating to current challenges and opportunities for the future, and 10 Goals to Shape the Next 25 Years, which sets out aspirational objectives to position the Park Board to respond to challenges and opportunities.

The last parks and recreation master plan was completed over 25 years ago. Vancouver has changed dramatically in the intervening years, and this new city-wide parks and recreation services master plan will do much to enhance long-range planning, policy, and service goals. VanPlay recognizes Vancouver’s parks and recreation system’s many challenges, including inequity, increasing and varying community needs, climate change, aging infrastructure, stretched resources, and ever-shifting urgent priorities.

– 30 –

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation are stewards of a network of over 240 parks and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, sports fields, golf courses, and street trees. Its mission is to provide, preserve, and advocate for parks and recreation services to benefit all people, communities, and the environment.


Vancouver library looking for Indigenous storytellers – Vancouver Sun

The 2019 Indigenous storyteller in residence, Joseph Dandurand, said his time at the VPL was transformative.

The Vancouver Public Library is inviting Indigenous storytellers to apply for the position of Indigenous Storyteller in Residence, a program that runs at the VPL from February until May 2020.

The 2019 Indigenous storyteller in residence, Joseph Dandurand, said his time at the VPL was transformative.

“Before the residency, I called myself a poet and playwright. When I got my badge to get into the library and saw the words ‘FN storyteller’, I realized I am also a storyteller. My stories came to me as poems and plays, and now I could share them in a new way.”

Dawn Ibey, the director for library experience, said the program, which has been in place since 2008, has featured a wide variety of Indigenous storytellers working in diverse mediums, including filmmaking and oral traditions, and has been very well received.

Read More: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/vancouver-library-looking-for-indigenous-storytellers

BC Government: Minister’s statement on World Mental Health Day 2019

Oct. 10, 2019

VICTORIA – Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, has issued the following statement regarding World Mental Health Day:

“Today marks an important opportunity for people around the world to bring mental health issues out of the shadows and into the light.

“This year, the focus of World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. The impacts of suicide are devastating for families and friends in communities large and small. Indigenous peoples, especially youth, are over-represented as they have shouldered an intolerable burden of mental health and addictions challenges, and intergenerational trauma – the legacy of residential schools, racism and colonialism.

“Many people do not come forward and ask for help because of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. This must change.

“People often feel stereotyped or judged, and as a result are far less likely to reach out for help. But slowly that is changing. People are transforming the way they talk and think about suicide, depression and people living with mental health challenges. More and more, people are starting to see that mental health issues are not moral failings; they are health conditions. And they deserve to be treated that way.

“Suicide is preventable when we work together as a community and as a province to build stronger connections to one another and when we break down the walls of silence that keep people from reaching out.

“Earlier this year, we launched ‘A Pathway to Hope,’ our roadmap to improving mental health and addictions care for everyone in B.C. We’re putting an initial three-year priority on transforming mental health and substance use care for young people: improving services, integrating services and bringing services to meet youth and their families in their homes, communities and schools. We know that if we start early, we can prevent challenges from becoming bigger down the road.

“Our roadmap includes increasing access to counselling services with $10 million in grants to community agencies that offer no-cost or low-cost counselling. Because access to mental health care should not depend on the size of your bank account.

“It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, which is why conversations are key. Reaching out to people with compassion and understanding is the best way we can work together to support people in need.

“If you are worried about someone who is showing warning signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviour, it is important to reach out, talk to them and help connect them to professional supports.

“Together we can create healthier and stronger communities, and that begins with providing early supports to those who need it. It’s going to take all of us working together, so we can get to a place where everyone, regardless of age or income, can ask for the help they need and receive it when and where they need it.”

Supports for suicide prevention:

  • Crisis Association of B.C., a network of crisis lines available 24/7: 1 800 784-2433
  • Kids Help Phone, open 24/7: 1 800 668-6868
  • In partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, KUU-US Crisis Response Service provides 24/7 access to culturally safe crisis support to all Indigenous peoples in B.C.: 1 800 588-8717.


Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
250 883-2941 (media line)

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect


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