printable versionPrint this page

Tsawwassen First Nation Agreement-in-Principle

Date: 1 January 2004
Sub Category:Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada) | Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) (Canada)
State/Country:British Columbia, Canada
Subject Matter:Land Transaction | Land Settlement | Compensation | Self Government | Cultural Heritage | Environmental Heritage
Summary Information:
The Tsawwassen Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) was signed on 15 March 2004. It forms the foundation for a final treaty between the Tsawwassen First Nation, the Canadian Government and the Government of British Columbia. Included in the AIP are details of land, capital, resource management, culture and governance provisions. The AIP is not a legally binding document.

About 427 hectares, or 1055 acres of provincial Crown land will constitute the land package in the Final Agreement. The current Tsawwassen reserve will also become treaty land.

The federal government will transfer (CDN) $10.1 million to the Tsawwassen. Further funding includes $4.1 million for the fisheries, forests and economic development purposes.
Detailed Information:
History of Negotiations

In December 1993, the Tsawwassen First Nation entered the treaty process. In 1999, the Tsawwassen presented their proposal for land and capital transfers. This was followed by a counter-claim by British Columbia and fisheries proposal by Canada in 2001. In 2002, public meetings were held in relation to a draft agreement-in-principle of which copies made available to the public. This draft was initialled in July 2003 and it was recommended that the AIP be approved. 73.5 percent of Tsawwassen First Nation voted in favour of ratifying the AIP. In March 2004, the AIP was formally signed.

Final agreement negotiations toward a treaty are now proceeding.

Components of the Agreement-In-Principle


The AIP proposes that Tsawwassen First Nation lands will consist of 365 hectares of provincial Crown land and the existing Tsawwassen lands.
Lands will be held in fee simple, which will provide the Tsawwassen First Nation with the flexibility to manage its lands and generate long-term economic benefits.
Terms and conditions of existing interests, such as leases and licences, will be respected on the lands that form the settlement.
Sub-surface and forest resources will be owned and managed by Tsawwassen First Nation.

Capital Transfer

The federal government will make a cash transfer of $10.1 million to the Tsawwassen First Nation.
In addition to the capital transfer, the Tsawwassen First Nation will receive one-time payments of:
$100,000 to acquire forest resources;
$1 million for economic development purposes;
Up to $1 million for cultural purposes;
Up to $1 million for the establishment of a Tsawwassen First Nation Fisheries Fund; and
$1 million to increase commercial fishing capacity.


The AIP provides that the Tsawwassen First Nation will have their own constitution.
The AIP sets out provisions concerning matters such as the nature of the Tsawwassen First Nation government, law making authorities and Tsawwassen First Nation membership.
The relationship between Tsawwassen First Nation and other people and governments will be included in a treaty related measure.


The Tsawwassen First Nation will have domestic allocations of fish, and these fish may not be sold.
Commercial fishing opportunities will be provided outside the treaty to the Tsawwassen First Nation.
While fisheries will be managed by federal and provincial governments, Tsawwassen First Nation will be involved in management committees and will internally regulate their fishing grounds.

Environmental Protection and Resource Management

The Tsawwassen government will be able to make environmental protection laws on treaty lands that are compatible with province-wide standards of resource management.
The Tsawwassen First Nation will be consulted on the creation and naming of parks.

Culture and Heritage

The AIP sets out a process to reclaim artefacts and ancestral remains.
Geographical features may be renamed in recognition of the Tsawwassen First Nation's historical ties to the region.

Related Entries

  • Government of British Columbia - Signatory
  • Tsawwassen First Nation - Signatory
  • Government of Canada - Signatory

  • References

    Maureen Gulyas (2004) Historic step for treaty
    Government of Canada (2004) Tsawwassen First Nation Agreement In Principle


    Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) (Canada) | Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada)

    Top of page

    Was this useful? Click here to fill in the ATNS survey