The BC Treaty Commission and the treaty negotiations process were established in 1992 by agreement among Canada, BC, and the First Nations Summit (the Principals). Negotiations are guided by those agreements and the 1991 Report of the BC Claims Task Force, which is the blueprint for the made-in-BC treaty process. The Treaty Commission and the made-in-BC negotiations process were designed to advance negotiations and facilitate fair and durable treaties and agreements. First Nations have a right to self-determination and self-government, and will determine their own pathway. True reconciliation requires a sharing of sovereignty between First Nations and the governments of Canada and British Columbia. The negotiation of treaties and agreements can accomplish this.
Indigenous sovereignty is a foundational principle of Indigenous rights. Political negotiation is a constructive and practical means to address the complex issues related to Aboriginal rights and title. Under the BC treaty negotiations process, each Party may introduce any issue at the negotiation table that it views as significant to the new relationship.
In September 2019, the Principals of the BC treaty negotiations process endorsed the Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy for Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia ("Rights Recognition Policy" or "RRR Policy") after undertaking a comprehensive and collaborative review of the gaps in existing policies. This new treaty negotiations policy explicitly details how negotiations will be grounded in the recognition of Indigenous rights and ownership of their lands and resources. The RRR policy is ground-breaking: it is the first tripartite public policy for the recognition and protections of Indigenous rights in British Columbia. Prominent commitments include rights recognition, non-extinguishment, implementing the UN Declaration, support for Indigenous self-determination, and ensuring treaties are adaptable, living agreements. The policy encourages flexible, innovative, and collaborative approaches to the negotiation of treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements. The policy also unequivocally rejects the notion of extinguishment; completing a treaty through the BC treaty process does not extinguish Aboriginal rights and title.
The BC Treaty Commission supports tripartite engagement to recognize and protect First Nations title and rights, and reconciliation amongst the governments of Canada, British Columbia and First Nations in BC. Respecting and recognizing First Nations' right to self-determination and self-government.
In recent years, the Parties have been engaging in tripartite reconciliation discussions and negotiations in line with the new RRR policy and renewed recognition of Indigenous rights and nation-to-nation, government-to-government-to-government relationships.