First Nations’ Resource Policies

Shared-Decision Making Protocols

In 2005, First Nations representatives and the BC provincial government signed the “New Relationship” agreement committing to a new government-to-government relationship. The agreement includes commitments for the development of shared decision-making processes and institutions for land and resources.53 Protocols for shared-decision making and collaborative working have today been incorporated into numerous First Nations’ resource policies.54 The right to maintain and develop First Nations’ decision-making institutions is also recognized under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.55 By outlining First Nations’ government decision-making procedures for assessing proposed resource activities, resource policies provide First Nations with a way to exercise this right.56

First Nations resource policies commonly list specific requirements for agreements with proponents and shared-decision making processes with other levels of government, including other First Nations.57

Several First Nations’ resource policies specify decision-making procedures for the following activities:

  • preliminary evaluation;58
  • exploration activities;59
  • development activities;60
  • environmental assessments;61
  • agreements with proponents;62 and
  • agreements with other levels of government.63

Resource policies can require that, at each stage of decision-making, the decision be consistent with the policy’s objectives and guiding principles.64 For example, a First Nation may choose not to decide in favour of an activity where the proponent has not provided the information necessary for the community to give its free, prior and informed consent. A First Nation may also choose to consent to an activity that has economic or employment benefits so long as it does not conflict with the resource policy’s guiding principles (for example, environmental stewardship).

Learn About Mining

Problems and Solutions


A Community Resource