|The British Columbia Treaty Commission was established as an independent and neutral body with the responsibility of 'facilitating treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC'. It was set up in 1992 through an agreement between the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and the First Nations Summit.
The primary role of the Treaty Commission is to oversee and mediate the negotiation of treaties in British Columbia and to 'ensure that the process is fair and impartial, that all parties have sufficient resources to do the job, and that the parties work effectively to reach agreements'. In addition it is responsible for funding these negotiations, and the provision of public resources and education on the treaty making process.
The Treaty Commission is headed by a chief commissioner, appointed by agreement between the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and the First Nations Summit. Four part-time commissioners also form the Commission, with two elected by the First Nations Summit, and one by each of the Federal and Provincial governments. The role of these commissioners is to:
accept First Nations into the treaty process and assess when the parties are ready to start negotiations;
monitor compliance with the fundamental principles of treaty making as set out in the Treaty Commission's Mission Statement;
monitor and report on the progress of negotiations and encourage timely negotiations by helping the parties to meet schedules and monitor deadlines;
chair key meetings at tables and offers advice to the parties, where requested;
assist the parties in developing solutions and in resolving disputes;
identify opportunities for progress and key overarching obstacles to progress (e.g., mandates, resources, capacity, etc.);
support pilot projects with the potential to promote progress in negotiations (e.g., community planning); and
develop and apply policies and procedures for the six-stage treaty process.
In order to achieve a fairer and more equitable negotiation process, the Commission also provides funding in the form of loans and contributions for First Nations to undertake the negotiation process. For every $100 of negotiation support funding, $80 is a loan from Canada, $12 is a contribution from Canada and $8 is a contribution from British Columbia.
Since the Commission's inception in 1993 the Treaty Commission has allocated approximately $362 million funding to more than 50 First Nations entering the negotiation process.
As of 2007, there were 58 First Nations participating in the Treaty negotiation process, some 2/3 of the First Nations in British Columbia.|