On February 15, 2011, the Maa-nulth First Nations Final
Agreement Act was declared in force. This is a unique
multi-nation agreement. It was negotiated by seven parties,
the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and
the five Maa-nulth First Nations made up of Huu-ay-aht First
Nations, Ka:yu:kth/Chektles7eth First Nations, Toquaht Nation,
Uchucklesaht Tribe and Ucluelet First Nation. This is a
self-government agreement with Treaty rights that are protected
under the Canadian Constitution.
The Maa-nulth lands are located on the West coast of Vancouver
Island. As a multi-First Nation final agreement, it sets out
some elements that are specific each to each First Nation, such as
each First Nation having its own constitution and its own
government and land base. Some elements of the agreement
however are aggregated; for example allocations of fish. With
the exception of determining Indian status and a transition period
for phasing out Indian Act tax exemption, the Indian
Act will no longer apply. The Final Agreement requires
Maa-nulth First Nations to have constitutions that provide for
governments that are democratically and financially
The fishery allocations for food, social and ceremonial purposes
reflect the average annual harvest and will provide for future
growth. The increase in the allocation over recent harvests
will be accommodated by the voluntary retirement of commercial fish
licenses. No priority commercial fishery has been
negotiated. The Agreement also refers to a separate harvest
agreement which is a contractual side agreement laying out the
terms and conditions for the issuance of commercial fishing
licenses under the Agreement.
The Indian Act tax exemption is phased out after 8
years for transaction sales taxes and 12 years for other taxes such
as income tax. Each First Nation government will have the
ability to levee direct taxes on its members and within the Treaty
settlement lands. In another side agreement between Canada
and four of the First Nations who reside near the national park
reserve, the parties have agreed to work cooperatively to plan and
manage within the national park reserve.
There were some amendments to the Final Agreement to address
overlapping claims, however future accommodation may be
necessary. The Final Agreement provides a remedy in the event
the courts determine an overlapping First Nation has Aboriginal or
Treaty rights that are adversely affected by the Maa-nulth First
Nation Treaty. The value of the capital transfer in the Final
Agreement is 73.1 million in 2006 dollars. The 90.9 million
amount includes interest payments that Canada will need to make to
the First Nations to account for the fact the capital transfer
amount will be paid out over a 10 year period.
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