Feb. 19, 2019
Honoured Chief and Council,
We are excited to write to you about a historic new revenue-sharing agreement between B.C. and First Nations, announced in the provincial budget today. This is the largest agreement with First Nations in B.C. history. Starting this year, 7% of net provincial gaming revenues will be shared with First Nations through a new First Nations-established and managed limited partnership.
The new 25-year gaming revenue-sharing agreement, to be signed in April, will mean access to a stable, long-term source of revenue to support nations’ self-government and self-determination. British Columbia joins Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia in sharing gaming revenue with First Nations.
Over the 25-year term of the agreement, we expect that about $3 billion will be transferred to First Nations through the limited partnership, as much as $100 million per year in new revenues. First Nations will determine their own priorities for the funding, which can be used for a wide range of benefits, including: health and wellness, housing, infrastructure, training, environmental protection, economic development, governance capacity and other uses.
All First Nations communities in B.C. are eligible and invited to become partners in the new BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership. The limited partnership is currently being established by the First Nations Gaming Commission and will be operational in April 2019. Overseen by a First Nations-appointed board of directors, the limited partnership will be responsible for managing and distributing gaming revenue to First Nations governments.
The agreement to share gaming revenue with First Nations was reached after decades of work and advocacy by First Nations, who directed the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC), made up of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. The First Nations Gaming Commission negotiated the agreement with the Province on behalf of the FNLC, as directed by First Nations through resolutions at meetings of the three organizations.
This substantial new stable revenue stream will mean that Nations can plan for the long-term and invest in the types of services and capacity that each of your communities decides are needed. As a Nation, you will decide on your priorities for the new funding. This agreement will benefit people in all B.C. First Nations communities and beyond, bringing more prosperity to every part of the province.
You can find some additional information here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/indigenous-people. The limited partnership is still being established, and we may not yet have answers to all of your questions, but we will continue to post additional information as it becomes available. More information on how to become a partner in the limited partnership to access your nation’s share of the gaming revenue will come to you directly from the limited partnership once it has been established in April 2019.
We are honoured to bring you this news about such a historic new agreement that directly supports self-determination and truly puts reconciliation into action.
Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Grand Chief Joe Hall, First Nations Gaming Commission
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
Grand Chief Ed John, First Nations Summit
Cheryl Casimer, First Nations Summit
Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Union of BC Indian Chiefs