Martin Ignasiak comments extensively in the Financial Post on why the historic Blueberry River First Nations Implementation Agreement could spell greater certainty for proponents of development projects on treaty lands throughout Canada.

The agreement was a response to last year's British Columbia Supreme Court judgment in the case of Yahey v. British Columbia.

"The court recognized that it's hard to protect historical rights when they are being assessed on a project-by-project, piecemeal basis," says Martin. "The important thing about the agreement is BRFN's recognition that it meets the court's requirement for managing cumulative impact developments while ensuring constitutional rights."

Martin also says that, "The Agreement is intended to manage the cumulative impact of industrial development while creating certainty about where development can take place by the creation of clearly understood no-go zones. In principle, that's a lot better than having projects go through 10 years of regulatory processes."

Martin also comments on:

  • Why the agreements, "will also likely result in greater legal and regulatory certainty associated with both the process of obtaining approvals and their recognition once obtained."
  • What happens when the rubber hits the road: "There's a legitimate question about how we're going to create a process that is workable for industry timelines. It's all premised on satisfactory input, but it's no secret that the rubber will hit the road when there are diametrically opposed views and no room for resolution."
  • Why more provincial agreements like this one can be expected in Canada, with the B.C. model as the template. "They open the door for development to proceed on a timely basis."