VANCOUVER – BUSINESS – The introduction of the new BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act by the government of British Columbia provides a framework for the government to make provincial laws and policies consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). AME supports the goal of the legislation to advance reconciliation with First Nations and the objective to reduce uncertainty for users of the land base.
For the BC mineral exploration and development industry, we expect minimal immediate change. The majority of companies in our industry are leaders when it comes to building relationships and early engagement with First Nations. We know that collaborative relationships with Indigenous Nations and governments create improved investment certainty. In today’s volatile global economic market, encouraging certainty and clarity regarding project approvals is vital. Over time, as provincial laws are brought into alignment with UNDRIP, we are cautiously optimistic that this legislation and its implementation will lead to a clear, transparent and timely project review process to attract the capital needed to develop our natural resources for the benefit of all British Columbians.
The Association for Mineral Exploration’s (AME) President and CEO, Kendra Johnston, noted: “We expect that with a thoughtful and balanced approach to implementation, the alignment of our laws with UNDRIP will support wider reconciliation, fostering clarity and certainty for our members. The implementation of action plans, policies and regulations supported by this legislation will be crucial and must set conditions for a transparent, timely and fair regulatory regime for all British Columbians. There are many important details to be worked out, and AME looks forward to working with government and Indigenous leaders on the implementation of the legislation.”
Rob McLeod, Chair of the Board of Directors for AME, commented: “Mineral exploration and development companies operating in BC have been leaders, working with federal and provincial governments in engagement and consultation with First Nations. Our inclusiveness in decision making through exploration and permitting has already benefited both proponents and Indigenous People. We are optimistic that this legislation will further strengthen our industry’s practices with greater benefit to all stakeholders.”