Province Wide Breaking News

A historic, landscape altering, legislative amendment is open for public consultation, and we are not just talking about the Dock Management Plan. The Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, (Responsible Minister, Nathan Cullen) is proposing a legislative amendment to the Land Act of BC. If approved this will be rolled out Province wide. Currently, the DMP is just policy, full implementation requires the activation of Section 7 (1) of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (“DRIPA”) and legislative amendments to the Land Act of BC. 

This will provide a mechanism for our elected officials to abstain from carrying out their responsibilities and functions as an erosion of governmental oversight. The Waterfront Protection Coalition is not against UNDRIP or reconciliation. WPC is against the way our elected politicians have implemented the DMP and UNDRIP behind closed doors, without meaningful consultation with their constituents.

As we all know the DMP is the result of negotiations between the Province and the shishalh Nation (the “SFN”). During the development of the DMP there has been no meaningful input sought from stakeholders directly impacted by the implementation of the DMP. Most people are still trying to have their voices heard by their elected officials.

In Canada, all levels of government make decisions and pass laws only after public debate. The elected members of these governments are responsible to the people who elect them. The current DMP, impacts thousands of people and businesses, yet British Columbians who disagree with it or are impacted by it have little, if any recourse. What you might not know is that under the proposed Province wide legislative amendments, it is very likely they will have none.

Section 7 Decision-making Agreements

7 (1) For the purposes of reconciliation, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may authorize a member of the executive council, on behalf of the government, to negotiate and enter into an agreement with an Indigenous governing body relating to one or both of the following:

 a. the exercise of a statutory power of decision jointly by

i. the Indigenous governing body, and

ii. the government or another decision-maker.

b. the consent of the Indigenous governing body before the exercise of a statutory power of decision

Note that when s. 7 (1) (b) is implemented it will give a veto over all Crown Land and Aquatic Crown Land use decisions within the swiya. There are already significant concerns with approval and management of salt and freshwater tenures, but if implemented, the DMP will also involve regulations and requirements. If we connect the dots and reflect on a popular question: “what happens if we do not comply with the DMP”, the answer is typically vague and similar to: “we encourage those with docks that are non-compliant to apply and get your dock into compliance”.

We do not know what the Province will look like after full implementation of s. 7. It seems to be a work in progress with no security for British Columbians. It is very possible that different areas of the Province will have different legal frameworks, depending on which Indigenous governing body the government enters into agreements with. It will do the same for other Crown Land use decisions such as Provincial Parks

To implement Section 7, legislative changes to the Land Act are necessary.  The province is seeking input regarding possible legislation until March 31, 2024.  Link here:

The province plans to introduce and pass the legislative changes at the spring session. If the Legislature approves changes to the Land Act to activate Section 7, it will not just be applicable in the shishalh swiya, but rather province wide. 

We are working extremely hard to help educate British Columbians on this very important topic, by not only illustrating how these amendments will affect the DMP, but also how they will create uncertainly for our natural resources, foreshore tenures, Provincial Parks, and create geographical divides throughout British Columbia.

For more information and analysis, please visit the following link:

BC Government Consulting on New Law to Give Indigenous Groups Control over Crown Land Decisions - McMillan LLP

If you are as concerned as we are, we ask that you:

Send this message to as many people as you can, create awareness and submit your comments on the proposed legislative amendments via the govTogetherBC portal before March 31, 2024.

Together, we are standing strong and bringing a united voice.