Tsawwassen First Nation
: The Tsawwassen First Nation treaty came into effect on April 3, 2009. It is the first urban treaty in the history of British Columbia and the first modern treaty negotiated under the British Columbia Treaty Commission process.
Negotiating affiliation: Negotiated independently with Canada and British Columbia.
Location : On the Strait of Georgia near the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, approximately 25 km south of Vancouver.
Total band members
: 358 [Tsawwassen First Nation figures based on eligibility and enrolment provisions of the final agreement]
In the fall of 2002, chief negotiators for the three parties agreed to work towards the completion of a draft Agreement-in-Principle (AIP). In July 2003, the draft was initialled, and in March, 2004, the Tsawwassen First Nation, British Columbia and Canada signed the Agreement-in-Principle (AIP). Substantive progress continued at the treaty table and negotiators reached a tentative deal on a Final Agreement in October 2006 and initialed it on December 8, 2006.
The Tsawwassen First Nation members voted on the Final Agreement on July 25, 2007. The ratification process required a positive endorsement from 50 per cent plus one of the members on the registered voters list. Of 187 registered voters, 69.5 per cent voted in favour of the treaty.
On November 7, 2007 Tsawwassen First Nation treaty settlement legislation passed third reading in the provincial legislature; on November 22, it received Royal Assent.
On December 6, 2007 the Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation Kim Baird, federal Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl and Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Michael de Jong signed the Final Agreement at a ceremony in Ottawa. Settlement legislation was then introduced in the House of Commons and given first reading. On June 26, 2008, Bill C-34, an Act to give effect to the Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, was given Royal Assent by Parliament.
The Tsawwassen First Nation treaty legally took effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 3, 2009, establishing certainty with respect to Tsawwassen First Nation’s Aboriginal rights and title and providing economic benefits to the Lower Mainland region. This represented the sixth and final stage, in the BC treaty process.
The treaty provides Tsawwassen First Nation with payments, settlements and other funds to help build Tsawwassen’s future. These include a capital transfer and other one-time cash payments of $33.6 million and self-government funding of $2.9 million annually over the first five years of the treaty. The land component includes approximately 724 hectares, of which 434 hectares are provincial Crown land and 290 hectares are former Indian reserve.
The Tsawwassen treaty operates within the framework of the Constitution of Canada. Within that framework, Tsawwassen First Nation has the constitutional authority to make laws in many areas of jurisdiction that are traditionally federal, provincial and municipal in nature.
The treaty and related agreements present Tsawwassen First Nation with modern governance tools, coupled with funds, to generate increased economic vitality. It makes Tsawwassen First Nation an equal partner in government-to-government relationships with Canada and British Columbia, and provides for strong and workable interactions with these partners.
The Tsawwassen First Nation treaty is the first urban treaty in the history of British Columbia and the first modern treaty negotiated under the British Columbia Treaty Commission process.