1. Introduction

The Province of British Columbia and the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (appended herein for reference) on 22 March, 1993 regarding local government participation in the negotiation of aboriginal treaties.

The MOU recognizes that local government constitutes a unique and special government interest in the negotiation of modern day treaties, and the province commits itself to ensuring that BC local governments (municipalities and regional districts) are represented in the negotiation process as respected advisors of provincial negotiating teams in a manner to be determined for negotiation of each claim.

This Protocol is meant to set out the general framework for the implementation of the MOU.

2. Structure

There are six stages of the treaty negotiation process set out in the Policies and Procedures of the BC Treaty Commission:

Stage 1: Filing a Statement of Intent to Negotiate a Treaty

Stage 2: Preparing for Negotiations and Assessing Readiness

Stage 3: Negotiating a Framework Agreement

Stage 4: Negotiating an Agreement in Principle

Stage 5: Negotiating a Final Treaty

Stage 6: Implementing the Treaty

This agreement deals with the first four Stages of the Treaty process.

For each stage of the Treaty process the Protocol sets out the shared objectives of the Province (the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs - MAA) and the UBCM and the undertakings of each party in relation to that stage.

3. Stage One: Statements of Intent


The first stage in the treaty process is the filing by a First Nation of a Statement of Intent to Negotiate a Treaty. The Statement sets out the basic information related to the First Nation and its claim, usually including a map of the claimed traditional territory, the mandate it has received from the aboriginal people it represents and what overlaps it has, if any, with other First Nations.

When the Treaty Commission has accepted the Statement as being complete, it forwards the Statement to the federal and provincial governments and must then schedule a meeting with the First Nation within 45 days.

The Treaty Commission will release those Statements of Intent which the First Nations involved have agreed can be made public.


The UBCM and the MAA agree that, where appropriate, it is in the best interests of all parties that all local governments affected by a Statement of Intent are notified in a timely fashion and provided with complete information regarding the Statement of Intent.


UBCM will distribute all available information to local governments and ensure that MAA is informed of all local governments within the relevant First Nation's traditional territory and that MAA's data base is updated in a timely fashion. UBCM will assist Canada and MAA in organizing Regional Consultation Meetings with local government. UBCM and Local Government may assist Canada and MAA in organizing community information meetings regarding the treaty process.

d) MAA

Canada and B.C. have committed to a Regional Consultation Process in the B.C. Treaty Commission Agreement and in the Canada/B.C. Cost Sharing Agreement.

As part of that third party consultation process MAA will participate and help organize Regional Consultation Meetings with Canada and local governments to provide information on the treaty process, status of the process and, with the assistance of UBCM, the role of local governments.

4. Stage Two: Preparing For Negotiations and Assessing Readiness


The Treaty Commission's Policies and Procedures sets out an extensive process for preparing for negotiations and assessing readiness, including the identification of issues to be negotiated, a time frame, a work plan, budgets and a formal commitment to negotiate from all par-ties.

From a local government perspective there are three key outcomes or tests for "readiness" in this stage of the treaty process: the identification of major issues for negotiation, the identification of all Local Government interests which may be affected and the implementation of mechanisms for consultation with non-aboriginal interests. These are the obligations of Canada and the Province.

In addition, readiness calls for all parties having their mandates to negotiate in place, a workplan developed for Stage 3, the dedication of resources and approval of budgets, a ratification procedure, a time frame, agreement on procedure, a workplan for public education and information and a process for resolving overlaps. The Treaty Commission assesses readiness.


The MOU calls for a process for local government representation to be established during the readiness phase, before Framework Agreement negotiations commence. UBCM agrees to assist the Province in developing these processes.

UBCM and MAA share the objectives of identifying all relevant local government interests which may be affected and establishing a comprehensive process for consultation with local governments in each treaty area. Both parties wish to cooperate to ensure that these objectives are met in a timely, efficient and effective manner.


UBCM proposes the following model for local government participation in the treaty process, recognizing that local governments themselves will make the final determination as to process.

Proposal For Local Government Participation

Recognizing that Local Governments will make the final determination of how to organize themselves for treaty negotiations, at the readiness stage the UBCM, where appropriate, will assist local governments in the establishment of Regional Local Government Treaty Advisory Committees ("TAC"s). These TACs will be set up generally following the boundaries of First Nations' traditional territories for negotiation purposes, or where appropriate, following the boundaries established for a particular negotiation by the governments and First Nations.

Each local government within the area of that negotiation will nominate one representative to the TAC. The TAC will then identify one individual (the "TAC Representative") to be the liaison and spokesperson for that TAC in the treaty process.

Canada and B.C. will establish Regional Third Party Advisory committees and Local Government representatives will be part of those committees.

d) MAA

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs agrees that the TAC in each treaty area will be the primary point of contact with local government interests. The MAA negotiating team for each negotiation will identify one person who will act as the local government liaison. That person will be responsible for liaison with the TAC.

At Stage 2 (Readiness) the provincial team and TAC representatives will engage in discussions related to the role of the TAC Representative and the TAC in negotiations. Wherever possible and appropriate the First Nation(s) and the federal government will be involved in those discussions.

The Province and the UBCM agree that in each negotiation:

1 The TAC Representative shall be a member of the Province's Regional Caucus and present at the main table negotiations with the same privileges and responsibilities of other Regional Caucus members and at all times will follow the directions and instructions of the Province's Treaty Negotiator conducting the negotiations. This will include full access to the negotiation agenda and complete knowledge of the issues on the negotiating table.

2 The TAC through the TAC Representative to the Regional Caucus will be responsible for identifying and determining what issues "directly affect Local Government" (as outlined in the MOU) and providing advice and recommendations through the Regional Caucus to the Provincial negotiators as to the Local Government interests in those issues.

3 Currently members of the Regional Caucus are comprised of line ministry and agency staff, officials and consultants with specific related experience and expertise which is relevant to the treaty negotiations. The TAC Representative on the Regional Caucus should be a staff person or an official with similar technical expertise to bring to the negotiations. The TAC Representative who participates on the Regional Caucus will be someone other than the Local Government Representative(s) on the Regional Third Party Advisory Committee.

4 The TAC Representative and the TAC will be subject to, any and all rules of confidentiality that may be agreed to by Canada, the Province, and the First Nation for the full duration of each set of negotiations and as agreed to in the March 22, 1993 Memorandum of Understanding between the Province of B.C. and the UBCM.

5. Stage Three: Negotiation of a Framework Agreement


At the Framework Stage an agenda is negotiated which identifies what is to be negotiated, what issues are on the table and any special procedural arrangements are settled.


UBCM and MAA share the objective of ensuring that all identified local government interests have been carefully considered and taken into account in the Province's mandate development process and in negotiations. The role of local government in the negotiation process will have been settled prior to the conclusion of a Framework Agreement.

Wherever appropriate and possible, the Province will seek to establish a process whereby the Province, Canada and First Nations will sit at side tables to the main negotiation table, along with TAC representatives to discuss and resolve local government issues and concerns. "Side-table" means a negotiation process or working group, which is separate from but adjunctive to the "main table" negotiation process, and is designed to deal with a specific genre or sub-set of issues and includes the principal parties to the main negotiation table and, in this case, local government representatives.


UBCM will assist local governments in the interest identification process and wherever appropriate, act as liaison between MAA and local governments in the treaty area.

UBCM will play a "consultant" role for local governments in the negotiation process. The TAC will be responsible for identifying and articulating local government interests in the specific treaty negotiation.

d) MAA

The MAA negotiating team, through the team representative and the TAC, will be responsible for ensuring that local government interests are carefully considered and taken into account in the government's mandate development process and in negotiations.

6. Stage Four: Negotiation of an Agreement in Principle


At this Stage the parties reach the major agreements which will form the basis of the treaty.


UBCM and MAA share the objective that treaty issues related to local government interests will, wherever possible, be resolved in a manner that addresses the interests of the TAC, for inclusion in the Agreement in Principle (AIP).


The TAC Representative will report out to the full TAC on matters relevant to local government. The TAC will have the responsibility of ensuring that the provincial team is fully aware of local government's interests and that those interests have been considered in the Agreement in Principle negotiations.

Again, wherever possible, the TAC and provincial team will attempt to resolve local government issues with the First Nations and Canada at a side table.

d) MAA

MAA will make every effort to ensure that local government interests have been adequately addressed in the negotiations leading to the Agreement in Principle.

Original signed by

Original signed by

John Cashore

Bill Trewhella



John Cashore

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs



Mayor Bill Trewhella

President Union Of British Columbia Municipalities

Original signed by


Darlene Marzari

Signed September 19, 1994



Darlene Marzari

Minister of Municipal Affairs



Memorandum Of Understanding On Local Government Participation In Aboriginal Treaty Negotiations

Click MOU (PDF Version)