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Province supports BCAFN Economic Development Strategy

Press Release

April 23, 2019

LHEIDLI T’ENNEH, PRINCE GEORGE – The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) will continue development and implementation of its economic development strategy, supported by $2.24 million in provincial funding over the next two years.

“This funding will ensure that capacity and innovation are available to BCAFN to support First Nations’ economic goals and improve our ability to collaborate with government, industry and each other,” said Terry Teegee, BCAFN Regional Chief. “First Nations communities must become economically self-sufficient and fully engaged in all aspects of activities on their traditional territories – we can advance and support this important work over the next two years.”

As it moves forward, the BCAFN strategy will include economic reconciliation and governance efforts that will support economic development among First Nations, including exploring ways to promote Indigenous efforts, through discussion papers, draft policies and regional forums. BCAFN will also look at creating an economic development secretariat to facilitate partnerships with First Nations and identify best practices.

“We support the important work of the BCAFN to help First Nations become full partners in a strong and equitable economy,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “This new provincial government funding will help the BCAFN build on achievements and further tangible results for economic reconciliation.”

Among the accomplishments of the BCAFN’s Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy, since it began in 2016, are the creation of a First Nations Economic Development Toolkit, called the Black Books, and annual hosting of a provincewide First Nations Economic Development Forum that brings together First Nations, industry and government to discuss opportunities and wealth creation in B.C.

In addition, the BCAFN has been engaged with the Business Council of BC through a memorandum of understanding, which includes the establishment of the BCAFN-BCBC Champions Table, comprised of First Nations Chiefs and industry CEOs. Through the Champions Table, discussions around economic reconciliation with First Nations have been made possible, as well as the creation of the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program.

“One of BCAFN’s significant achievements is the development of the Black Books, which support communities with a new resource to plan, grow and develop their prosperity and wealth in the territories,” said Teegee. “In addition, through the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program, Indigenous graduates are provided with the opportunity to hold meaningful employment within a company in B.C. for two years. Building capacity by ensuring opportunities for youth will create future Indigenous leaders who are involved in the British Columbia economy.”

The Black Books will be printed and distributed to First Nations next month. The Black Books feature best practices, concepts and tangible tools for First Nations to improve their economic development strategies and operations.

“We applaud the B.C. government in their leadership to support reconciliation with First Nations in British Columbia,” said Teegee. “B.C. can grow the economy as a national and international leader in partnership with First Nations, as we explore innovation and clean growth in a way that respects First Nations rights for the benefit of all British Columbians.”

BCAFN will continue its engagement with the Province and industry to support First Nations’ involvement with provincial initiatives, such as CleanBC and trade missions. BCAFN’s work is mandated by resolution from First Nations Chiefs in B.C. (Resolution 21/2018 – Support for the Development and Implementation of the Deliverables of the BCAFN Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy).

Quick Facts:

  • BCAFN’s Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy will move forward with a focus on:
    • economic reconciliation and governance;
    • engagement and collaboration with the Province and industry;
    • tools and data for First Nations business leaders; and
    • a First Nations economic development secretariat.
  • Funding in the 2019 agreement will be made in instalments of $1.12 million each in 2019-20 and 2020-21, supporting BCAFN in work begun in 2016 when the Province committed $2.5 million over three years.
  • Work done as part of the Champions Table has also been supported by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, which in 2018 provided $420,000 over three years for 150 post-secondary graduates in the Indigenous Intern Leadership Program.
  • The BC Assembly of First Nations advocates to advance the rights and interests of First Nations peoples in British Columbia.

Learn More:

BC Assembly of First Nations:

A backgrounder follows


Annette Schroeter
Communications Officer
BC Assembly of First Nations
778 281-1655

Tania Venn
Communications Manager
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250 208-6183



BCAFN economic strategy will build on existing success

What follows is a snapshot of past successes of the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) Sustainable Economic Development and Fiscal Relations Strategy, which supports future planning:

First Nations Business and Governance Forums:
BCAFN hosted its two-day Business Forum in Lheidli T’enneh Territory in February 2019. More than 150 participants heard from a variety of panels on experiences and best practices. As well, keynote speakers included Alan Winter, B.C.’s innovation commissioner; and Gitxsan member Bill Lomax, vice-president of Goldman Sachs Investment Management Division. In 2019-21, the BCAFN will work with partners to organize four First Nations business and governance forums to showcase the latest information for First Nations on economic development and governance initiatives.

Develop discussion papers and draft policies:
BCAFN will work with partners to prepare discussion papers regarding the linkages between governance and economic development, including identifying the legal and regulatory barriers that inhibit and/or support investment. First Nations have identified a gap in policies related to economic development, investment practices and business/financial operations. The BCAFN will work with First Nations in B.C. to create relevant economic development policies that support this need.

Engagement and Partnership Building with Government and Industry:
BCAFN will seek to renew its relationship with the Business Council of BC (BCBC). Many positive outcomes have been created from this relationship, including the Champions Table (made up of 11 Chiefs and 11 CEOs), the Indigenous Internship Initiative and pilot projects with First Nations. The BCAFN will also include B.C. in some of the BCBC discussions to identify policies and approaches that are needed to improve opportunities for economic reconciliation with First Nations.

Black Books updates and implementation support in the regions:
BCAFN has created a guide for First Nations interested in improving their economic development strategies and operations. First Nations have asked for technical and political support from BCAFN for specific projects and initiatives related to economic development. Black Books updates will include the latest best practices and information to support First Nations specific projects, highlighting provincial programs, services and initiatives.


Annette Schroeter
Communications Officer
BC Assembly of First Nations
778 281-1655

Tania Venn
Communications Manager
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250 208-6183
Connect with the Province of B.C. at:



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