Weighing Benefits and Risks

Legal Context and Rights

The Issue

This issue brief provides a general overview of some of the legal issues and context that affect First Nations that are involved in BA negotiations for LNG projects in BC. This is not a comprehensive resource and is based on a review of available academic and policy work on BAs that have predominantly been implemented in the mining sector.

Within Canada, there is no single legislative or policy framework that governs the negotiation of BAs (Gibson and O’Faircheallaigh, 2015, 34; Hummel, 2019, 371). In some jurisdictions, they can be required by legislation or by modern treaty and land claims agreements; however, most emerge voluntarily as a consequence of the entrenchment of Aboriginal and treaty rights in the Canadian constitution in 1982.

For a general overview of the current legal and political context within which BC’s LNG sector is developing, readers may wish to consult the fact-sheet produced by the First Nations LNG Alliance entitled “First Nations issues and development of BC’s LNG industry”. The fact sheet sheds light on exclusionary patterns of colonial resource development that historically and contemporarily prevented Indigenous people from participating in and benefitting from the resources sector.


Further topics of relevance include the Crown’s Duty to Consult, Illustrative legislation and regulations, the International recognition of Indigenous Rights, Modern Land Claim Agreements and distinctions between Stakeholders and Rights Holders.


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