Growing the role of First Nations in B.C. forestry
By First Nations Forestry Council
Jan. 18, 2017 - The First Nations Forestry Council (FNFC) and four B.C. pulp and paper companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and support the growing role and influence of First Nations in the B.C. forest sector. The four companies include: Catalyst Paper, Nanaimo Forest Products (Harmac), Paper Excellence Canada and Zellstoff Celgar Limited Partnership.
The MOU encourages the development of shared information on industry activity and First Nation participation in the industry. It also commits the parties to work together to promote projects, policies and regulations to benefit of First Nations and the participating companies.
"This agreement underscores our commitment to work closely with First Nations to develop strong relationships and create mutually beneficial economic opportunities," says Joe Nemeth, president and chief executive officer of Catalyst Paper.
The MOU has an initial term of 12 months with a provision to extend and calls for the creation of a working group to identify areas of mutual concern and a mandate to work together to advance solutions. In addition, the MOU anticipates additional agreements with individual participating companies and groups in specific regions of the province. This MOU is linked to the FNFC Compliance Management System which sets a new standard of relationship between industry and the FNFC by facilitating the sharing of information.
"The relationship between First Nations and the forest industry in British Columbia has been challenging as we seek recognition of our Aboriginal Title and Rights and Treaty rights in the region," says Chief Bill Williams. "This new direction is an effort to build stronger relationships and we are very grateful to see this industry leadership starting with an MOU and a commitment to our FNFC-Compliance Management System."
About the First Nations Forestry Council
The FNFC is now in its tenth year working as a non-profit society supporting all First Nations in their forestry activities. The Council has a board of directors appointed by the First Nations Summit, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The board governs the FNFC based on direction from communities. The FNFC is politically accountable to the First Nations Leadership Council and the First Nations of BC. The FNFC is guided and mandated by the BC First Nations Forestry & Land Stewardship Action Plan created in 2008 by our First Nation leadership. The Action Plan identifies the FNFCs key areas of service which include: Policy Development; Research and Education; Relationships; Support of Aboriginal Communities; Recognition and New Relationship; Economic Development; and Healthy Ecosystems.