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Tahltan, B.C. sign new agreement under Declaration Act

The Province and the Tahltan Central Government have announced that it has entered into the first consent-based decision-making agreement under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s Act.

According to a news release, this agreement will honour Tahltan’s jurisdiction in land management decisions in its territory in recognition of Tahltan’s rights and title.

Additionally, this agreement advances reconciliation as well as provides clarity and predictability for the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project.

This agreement will also outline consent-based decision-making related to the environmental assessment of the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project.

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The province added that the two governments will be working together to change B.C’s traditional approach to environmental assessments and permic authorizations by placing Tahltan values and rights at the forefront.

Premier John Horgan said that this agreement is inspiring to have the opportunity for focused economic development.

“This will mean less uncertainty, more reconciliation. It will remove restrictions through economic growth and it will help us to build investor confidence,” he said.

The province added that the shared intent is to create a model for sustainable mining and the world-class environmental practice standards.

The agreement will help advance reconciliation with the Tahltan Nation, while providing certainty for the project.

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President of Tahltan Central Government Chad Norman Day said that he feels honoured that the Tahltan are the first First Nation to sign an agreement like this.

“ It’s extremely important that moving forward that Tahltan rights, Tahltan decisions, Tahltan values are at the heart of all of these projects. It’s important that we build these structures and that we do it properly,” he said.

Additionally, the province said that the agreement demonstrates that reconciliation and economic development can go hand in hand by supporting strong environmental, social and governance standards as guided by the Tahltan people.

Section 7 of the Declaration Act provides a mechanism for B.C to recognize in law Indigenous jurisdiction and decisions with the provincial statutory decision-making framework.

Meanwhile, Section 7 of the Enviornmental Assessment Act provides the enabling legislation required under the Declaration Act for the decision-making agreement between the Tahltan and the Province.

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