The Commission has a responsibility, once the parties reach Stage 3, to monitor the progress of negotiations. Monitoring enables the Commission to encourage timely negotiations, maintain a public record of the status of negotiations, and report to the Principals on the progress of negotiations.
- Documents to be provided to the Commission
Any records provided to the Commission that are confidential to a party or to the table will be received by the Commission in confidence. Such documents must be appropriately marked as “Confidential”.
The parties are expected to provide the Commission with the following documents on a routine basis: 1
As requested by the Commission, where additional information is considered necessary for effective monitoring:
- a tripartite progress report (a sample Framework Agreement Progress Report is attached as Appendix B);
- copies of side table and working group documents such as meeting agendas, reports and recommendations to main tables and tripartite records of decision where these are produced;
- copies of draft sub-agreements and agreements under discussion;
- individual reports from the parties as needed.
- Attendance at negotiation meetings and chairing by the Commission
In addition to reviewing documents and reports, a Commissioner or staff member may attend a negotiation meeting as an observer, after giving notice to all parties. Generally, Commissioners or staff will attend meetings for the following reasons:
- routine, periodic monitoring,
- where the Commission determines a particular meeting to be critical, or
- as chair, where requested by the parties.
a) Routine monitoring
The Commission has a responsibility to monitor the progress of each negotiating table. Commissioners and staff must observe and report regularly to the Commission on the status of each table, and advise on any problems that are or may be an impediment to progress.
b) Critical meetings
Commissioners or staff may also attend any meeting that they have determined may be critical in the negotiations. One or more of the parties may alert the Commission to critical issues, or the Commission may determine this through routine monitoring. In either case, the Commission will consult with all the parties before it decides that attendance in addition to routine monitoring is warranted.
c) Chairing meetings
Commissioners or staff are available on a limited basis and may agree to chair negotiation sessions according to the following guidelines:
- one or more of the parties requests in advance of the meeting that the Commission act as chair,
- all three parties agree,
- there is a demonstrated need in the Commission’s view for it to chair the session, and
- the parties provide the Commission with copies of the meeting agenda and any relevant documents within a reasonable time in advance of the meeting.
The Commission will review the progress of negotiations based on its review of these documents, reports and observations. If problems arise which may impact on progress, the Commission may investigate and make a report to the parties, or to the Principals where the issues have wider applicability, identifying what those issues are and recommending ways to resolve the problem. Where requested by the parties, the Commission will provide facilitation services and will assist the parties to obtain further dispute resolution services.
During Stage 2, each party is required to confirm to the Commission how it received its mandate and its process for developing and revising it during all stages of the negotiations. The process of approving a Framework Agreement should enable the parties to confirm, modify or expand their negotiators’ mandates.
The Commission expects that each party will have the necessary mandates to commence Stage 4 negotiations once the Framework Agreement is approved by all the parties, and the authority to develop and refine those mandates as those negotiations progress.
- Resolving First Nation overlaps
The First Nation is expected to implement its agreed process for resolving overlaps. If it is anticipated that overlaps will impact heavily on Agreement in Principle negotiations, the First Nation will be expected to focus on these issues early in the process. The general policy on Dispute Resolution applies to overlap disputes.
Where an overlap dispute has been resolved, the First Nation must provide the Commission with a copy of its agreement once it has been approved and signed. The Commission will inform Canada and British Columbia when this occurs.
Where overlaps are unresolved at the end of Stage 3, the First Nation must provide the Commission with a written report on the overlap. This report should generally describe the type of territory and traditional uses, identify the extent of the overlap in relation to the traditional territory, assess the potential impact on the negotiations, and explain how its dispute resolution process is working and the potential for settlement.
Transitional: Those First Nations currently in Stage 3 that completed Stage 2 in accordance with the Commission’s previous Policies and Procedures (March 28, 1996), must comply as soon as practicable with Stage 2 criterion 7 set out in this document. Commission staff will be monitoring these requirements throughout Stage 3.
- Canada’s and B.C.’s Consultation mechanisms
The consultation mechanisms initiated during Stage 2 should become fully operational in Stage 3. Where regional and local advisory committees have been established, all members should be appointed and their work coordinated in a timely way with the treaty negotiations and mandate development processes of Canada and British Columbia.
Canada and B.C. must advise the Commission of the full membership and structure of their advisory committees, and any changes to the consultation mechanisms. They must also provide the Commission with the agendas for meetings of the Treaty Negotiation Advisory Committee and each regional and local advisory committee.
- Local and regional Public Information Program
The B.C. Claims Task Force recommended that the parties in each negotiation jointly undertake a public information program. It is expected that these local or regional programs be fully operational during Stage 3.
The parties may decide among themselves on the best manner to carry out this task. Public information activities should be undertaken in communities within the First Nation’s traditional territory, and elsewhere as the parties may agree.
The parties must periodically advise the Commission by letter of the activities of their joint public information program.
- Tripartite workplan
The parties must develop a tripartite workplan for Stage 4 activities. This is the parties’ plan which lists the tasks to be undertaken during Agreement in Principle negotiations, how those tasks will be carried out and the time required for each. It should be a realistic plan with sufficient detail to be a useful tool for the parties and for the Commission. The workplan must include a meeting schedule and a target time frame for completing Stage 4. The Commission will assist the parties to develop a workplan where required. It is recognized that the workplan is a working document that will need to be regularly revised as negotiations proceed.
The parties must file with the Commission copies of their tripartite workplan for Stage 4, as amended from time to time. The workplan will give the Commission an outline against which to monitor the progress of the negotiations. A sample workplan is attached as Appendix C.