General Provisions

The Final Agreement will be the full and final settlement between British Columbia, Canada and the Nisga’a in respect of the aboriginal rights and title of the Nisga’a Nation. This Agreement will be the basis of all future dealings between the Province, Canada and the Nisga’a.

The Nisga’a aboriginal rights under Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution are modified into treaty rights. These rights are exhaustively defined in the Final Agreement. To the extent that any aboriginal rights or title that the Nisga’a have, or may ever have, differ from those set out in the treaty, those rights are released by the Nisga’a.

 
 
The General Provisions apply to the entire Nisga’a Agreement and deal with matters of special importance such as aboriginal rights, certainty and overall interpretation of the Agreement.

The Final Agreement will be a land claims agreement and a "treaty" under section 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Final Agreement reaffirms the Nisga’a Nation as an aboriginal people of Canada.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will apply to the Nisga’a Government.

The Final Agreement will be the full and final settlement between British Columbia, Canada and the Nisga’a in respect of the aboriginal rights and title of the Nisga’a Nation. This Agreement will govern all future dealings between the Province, Canada and the Nisga’a and all parties will agree not to challenge the validity or enforceability of any provision of the Treaty.

The Nisga’a aboriginal rights under Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution are modified into treaty rights. These rights are exhaustively defined in the Final Agreement. To the extent that any aboriginal rights or title that the Nisga’a have, or may ever have, differ from those set out in the treaty, those rights are released by the Nisga’a.

The rights of other aboriginal people will not be affected and treaties with other First Nations cannot adversely affect Nisga’a rights.

The Nisga’a, British Columbia and Canada agree that if any part of the Treaty is found by a court to be invalid or unenforceable, the provision will be severed and the remainder of the Treaty will be enforceable by all parties. This includes disputed overlaps with other First Nations. All parties will agree to make "best efforts" to remedy or replace the invalid or unenforceable provision.
 
 
Amendment

The general rule is that all parties must agree to any amendment to the Final Agreement. The few provisions which affect only the Nisga’a and either Canada or British Columbia, for example, wildlife and fish allocations or lists of artifacts held by the Royal British Columbia Museum, may be amended by the two relevant parties.

British Columbia will consent to amendments by resolution of the Legislative Assembly. Canada will consent by order of the Governor in Council. The Nisga’a will consent by resolution of at least two-thirds of the elected members of Nisga’a Lisims Government.
 
 
Dispute Resolution

If the parties disagree over interpretation or implementation of the Agreement, they will have access to a dispute resolution process set out in the Agreement. The four-stage process consists of informal talks, collaborative negotiations, mediation and arbitration. If these efforts do not resolve the dispute, any one of the parties may take it to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for resolution.
 

Implementation

An Implementation Plan will set out the obligations and responsibilities of the Nisga’a, the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada in giving effect to the Agreement.
 

Ratification

After the Agreement is initialed by representatives of Canada, British Columbia and the Nisga’a, each party must ratify it to give it final affect.

The Nisga’a will be required to gain the support of at least fifty per cent plus one of Nisga’a citizens who are eligible to vote.

The Governments of Canada and British Columbia will introduce settlement legislation in the House of Commons and the B.C. Legislature. When passed, the legislation will give affect to the Final Agreement.

 
 
For further information on this or other topics, contact:

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
Communications Branch
4th Floor, 908 Pandora Avenue
Victoria BC V8W 1X4
Telephone: 1-800-880-1022