The Six Stage Negotiation Process
Stage 1 – Statement of Intent
The Process begins when a First Nation submits a Statement of Intent with the BC Treaty Commission. To be accepted, the Statement of Intent must identify for treaty purposes the First Nation’s governing body, the people it represents and show that it has a mandate from those people to enter the process. The statement must also identify the First Nation’s traditional territory in BC and identify any overlaps with other First Nations.
Stage 2 – Preparation for Negotiations
Within 45 days of the Statement of Intent, the First Nation, Canada and BC conduct their initial meeting to exchange information, consider the criteria that will determine the parties’ readiness to negotiate, and identify issues of concern. When the BC Treaty Commission has determined that all three parties meet the readiness criteria, it will confirm that the treaty table is ready to move to Stage 3.
Stage 3 – Negotiation of a Framework Agreement
The parties negotiate the framework agreement which identifies the content for negotiations and establishes procedures and a time table for negotiations. It is essentially a “table of contents” for the negotiation of a comprehensive treaty. At this stage the parties are also expected to embark on a program of public information and education which is pertinent to their table. This public information program is to continue throughout the negotiations process.
Stage 4 – Negotiation of an Agreement in Principle (AIP)
This stage marks the beginning of substantive negotiations. During Stage 4 the parties examine in detail the elements of the framework agreement. The Agreement in Principle will identify and define a range of rights and obligations, including existing and future interests in land, sea and resources, structures and authorities of government, regulatory processes, amending processes, dispute resolution, and fiscal arrangements. The AIP will also outline the ratification process and implementation plan for the treaty.
Stage 5 – Negotiation to Finalize a Treaty
The Treaty will formalize the new relationship among the parties and embody the agreements reached in the AIP. Any technical and legal issues still present will be examined and resolved by the parties. The treaty will be signed and formally ratified at the conclusion of this stage.
Stage 6 – Implementation of a Treaty
Plans to implement the treaty are carried out. All aspects of the treaty will be realized and with continuing goodwill, commitment and effort by all parties, the new relationship will be brought to maturity.