B.C. raises forest revenue sharing amounts for First Nations in reconciliation move

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VICTORIA — First Nations in British Columbia will receive a $63 million increase in forestry income this year as part of a new revenue-sharing model that Indigenous leaders say is an encouraging step toward an expected higher share in the future.

Forests Minister Katrine Conroy says the increase signals the government's plan to co-develop with First Nations a new model for sharing forestry revenue as part of the province's goal to implement its United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples action plan.

The extra funds are the result of an increase in revenue-sharing rates from three, four or five per cent — to eight, nine or 10 per cent.

Several B.C. First Nations leaders attending a news conference with Conroy at the legislature say this year's increase, which could raise the revenue sharing total to more than $130 million, is a start, but they expect more in the future.

Lake Babine First Nation Chief Murphy Abraham says the extra money and the goal to reach a more lucrative revenue-sharing deal in the future provides hope to families in his northwest B.C. nation.

Chief Nicole Rempel of Vancouver Island's K'omoks First Nation says the current increase helps to close socio-economic gaps people in her community face, but a future agreement that provides a 50-50 revenue split between the province and First Nations is what she expects.

Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Council of Forest Industries, says in a statement the industry supports the increase in revenue sharing with First Nations and backs talks to co-develop a new fiscal sharing model.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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