Building Economic Partnerships with First Nations
Interfor’s operations in British Columbia fall within the territories of 60 First Nations. We respect the deep connection First Nations have to their territories and work with them to develop strong relationships that offer mutual benefits.
Our forestry operations are guided by our First Nations Partnerships: Objectives and Guiding Principles. This document outlines these goals:
- To recognize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP);
- To seek to uphold the Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and
- To commit to meaningful consultation and obtain, where possible, the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of First Nations before proceeding with developments.
First Nations play an integral role in the future of a strong, viable and sustainable forest economy in BC. Interfor is committed to seeking First Nations representation and participation in the forest industry and promoting socio-economic development opportunities across their communities. Interfor has relationships with 23 First Nations with whom we have signed agreements that support shared business opportunities, training and capacity building, and positive working relationships that are founded on these mutually recognized objectives:
- Long-term agreements for strong and stable participation of First Nations in the forest sector.
- Business-to-business partnerships that build capacity and support community development.
- Joint planning providing First Nations greater input into land-use planning within their territories.
- Certainty for our forest business in British Columbia.
- Predictable and cost-efficient access to areas where we hold harvest licences.
- Respect for First Nations’ culture.
- Addressing unique cultural, wildlife and environmental values in each territory.
2018 Achievements and Actions
- We developed our First Nations Partnerships: Objectives and Guiding Principles to inform our relationships and decision making, and reflect the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of First Nations.
- shíshálh Nation and Interfor developed a partnership that supports joint planning and management of all aspects of forestry operations in the swiya (territory). In recognition of Interfor’s work, company representatives were invited as industry partners to witness the shíshálh Nation’s historic Reconciliation Agreement signing with the provincial government.
- We facilitated the application for Rural Dividend Funding on behalf of a First Nation partner who was ultimately awarded $481,500.
- Homalco First Nation and Interfor signed a unique business-to-business agreement exchanging logs harvested in traditional Homalco territory for lumber the Nation will use for wood-frame construction projects.
- We provide employment and support training for First Nations. In 2018, this included employing eight members from five First Nations, awarding forestry and logging contracts to nine Nation-owned contractors, as well as supporting the Okanagan Indian Band/Okanagan College Forest Worker Training Program and the BC First Nations Forestry Workforce Strategy.
- We are committed to protecting culturally important areas, and this year we are working with the Okanagan Nation Alliance to identify these areas, hiring First Nations to conduct or observe the completion of archaeological assessments, and actively seeking First Nations participation in conservation planning in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest.
Compliance Reference List
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
- Canada Constitution Act, 1982, Section 25
- Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia 2014 SCC 44
- SFI 2015-2019 Forest Management Standard
- Recognize and Respect Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Objective 8
- Interfor First Nations Cultural Assessment Process
- BC Government
- Building Relationships with First Nations: Respecting Rights and Doing Good Business
- Objectives for cultural heritage resources – BC Forest Planning and Practices Regulation Section 10
- BC Heritage Conservation Act