Cooperation Agreements and Benefits Agreements with First Nations
The development of projects and business opportunities, particularly in the natural resource industries, requires government decision making, from the issuance of resource tenures, through environmental assessment of proposed works and activities, and through licences, permits and authorizations. Before making decisions authorizing works and activities which may impact on Aboriginal rights and interests, governments must meet legal requirements for consultation and accommodation respecting those rights and interests.
The legal requirements for consultation and accommodation will be dependent on a number of factors including the location of the proposed project and activities, the nature of the project and activities, the status of Aboriginal rights and interests (which can range from unresolved claims, historic treaties, and modern land claim agreements), and the potential impacts.
A number of both strategic and practical issues which will arise in the process of negotiating and concluding cooperation agreements and benefits agreements are discussed in this paper.