On April 1, 2011, a treaty was implemented between Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the five Maa-nulth First Nations. This is the first modern treaty to be concluded on Vancouver Island, home to more than 50 First Nations. It is also the first multi-nation treaty concluded under the BC Treaty Commission process. Implementation of the treaty concludes more than 15 years of negotiations and is a significant achievement in the BC treaty process.
The Maa-nulth Final Agreement will provide a capital transfer of $73.1 million, annual resource revenue payments averaging $1.2 million for 25 years and a land transfer totalling approximately 24,551 hectares to the five First Nations.
The Province of British Columbia was represented by the Ministry of Attorney General and Stikeman Elliott LLP. The Stikeman Elliott team included Richard Jackson, Bruce Woolley, QC, and Natalie Marach. Stikeman Elliott advised on the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement and acted as escrow agent for all parties involved.
Stikeman Elliott also advised the Province of British Columbia on the implementation of the Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement, with Miller Thomson LLP acting as escrow agent.
In addition, Stikeman Elliott acted in connection with the $500 million Nisga'a treaty, the first modern-day Aboriginal land claim treaty in British Columbia involving the transfer of around 2,000 square kilometres of land in northern British Columbia.
Legal counsel for the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General involved in closing the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement included Keith Brown, Sandra Benson, Darlene Leavitt and Geraldine Hutchings.
Government of Canada, Treaties and Aboriginal Government, Negotiations West and Specific Claims, was represented in-house by Lorne Beiles, Gloria Chao and Cindy Henderson.
Four of the Maa-nulth First Nations were represented by Ratcliff & Company LLP with a team that included Gary Yabsley, Brent Lehmann, Kristy Pozniak and Elizabeth Browne. The Huu-ay-aht First Nations were represented by Rob Botterell and Arlene Henry, QC.