The prospects of a stronger future are most evident in First Nations communities, where access to new skills training and environmental stewardship programs is growing, in large part, as a result of B.C.’s LNG industry. The provincial government is reaching agreements that provide benefits – both immediate and long-term – to help communities achieve new economic heights.
To date, more than 90% of First Nations along B.C.’s proposed northern pipeline routes have signed agreements. That’s 62 agreements with 29 First Nations, for four proposed natural gas pipeline projects: Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT), Coastal GasLink (CGL), Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP) and the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission (WCGT) project.
Three Economic Benefit Agreements have also been completed with Treaty 8 First Nations, with negotiations still underway with other members.
For LNG facilities and marine shipping terminals, B.C. has completed a benefit agreement with Haisla Nation for Kitimat LNG. Discussions are underway with other First Nations related to other proposed LNG projects.
In addition to benefits from the provincial government, LNG proponents are also reaching their own agreements with First Nations, with contracting opportunities and employment commitments detailed in each.
Unemployment among First Nations is significantly higher than the general population, yet Aboriginal people are the fastest growing demographic in Canada. B.C. wants Aboriginal people to be poised for success in an expanding labour market.
In 2015, the Government of B.C. established the Aboriginal Skills Training Development Fund, providing up to $30 million over three years to support First Nations with the employment opportunities LNG is creating. By March 2016, 1,000 Aboriginal people have received community-based skills training.
The LNG Environmental Stewardship Initiative, co-designed with First Nations and industry, will provide a long-term environmental legacy from LNG that focuses on research, monitoring and education.
The Government of B.C. has allocated up to $30 million over three years, and so far the partnership has identified research projects in the Northeast, Omineca and Skeena regions of British Columbia.
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