Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. WHAT IS THE INTERIM BC FIRST NATIONS GAMING REVENUE SHARING AND FINANCIAL AGREEMENT?

It is an interim 2-year financial agreement to direct a portion of total net gaming revenues collected annually across the province to BC First Nations communities until a long-term revenue sharing agreement is put in place. The Interim BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing and Financial Agreement was negotiated between the Province of British Columbia and the First Nations Gaming Commission as directed by the First Nations Leadership Council. It was signed on August 2, 2019.

2. What is the LONG-TERM REVENUE SHARING AGREEMENT?

In February 2019, the Province of British Columbia committed to 25 years of gaming revenue sharing with BC First Nations. The Interim BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing and Financial Agreement provides for the transfer of the first 2 years of payments to eligible BC First Nations. The long-term revenue sharing agreement will provide for a further 23 years of gaming revenue sharing. The Province and the First Nations Gaming Commission are working together to introduce legislative amendments to the Gaming Control Act in fall 2019 which, coupled with the long-term agreement, should provide BC First Nations the certainty of a long-term 25-year gaming revenue sharing arrangement.

3. HOW MUCH WILL BC FIRST NATIONS RECEIVE?

Eligible BC First Nations will share in 7% of total net gaming revenue collected annually across the province. This commitment means approximately $3 billion in shared provincial revenue over the next 25 years to support First Nation communities.

4. IS THE BC FIRST NATIONS GAMING COMMISSION SATISFIED WITH THE INTERIM REVENUE SHARING AGREEMENT?

The First Nations Gaming Commission has negotiated this significant agreement that will see substantial new funds made available to BC First Nations to pursue priorities in their communities. The agreement is an important first step in addressing and resolving long-standing issues regarding gaming. The BC First Nations Gaming Commission will continue to negotiate with the Province to put in place a long-term agreement and to address the 25-year legacy gap related to this agreement and other issues regarding direct participation of BC First Nations in gaming opportunities.

5. WHO is eligible to RECEIVE a share OF GAMING REVENUES?

All First Nations communities (Indian Bands, Treaty First Nations, and Self-Governing First Nations Established by Statute) situated in British Columbia will be eligible for gaming revenues. Once First Nations become partners in the limited partnership, they will receive a share of the gaming revenue which is collected by the Province and then transferred to the limited partnership for distribution.

6. ARE THERE CONDITIONS FOR HOW THE MONEY MAY BE SPENT BY FIRST NATIONS?

Eligible BC First Nations will determine their own priorities for these funds, which may be spent within six categories of approved purposes:

  1. Health and wellness;

  2. Infrastructure, safety, transportation and housing;

  3. Economic and business development;

  4. Education, language, culture and training;

  5. Community development and environmental protection; and

  6. Capacity-building, fiscal management and governance.

Direct distributions to individuals are not permitted.

Reimbursements to BC First Nations members participating in programs and services, such as education and training programs, are permitted. Audited financial statements at fiscal year-end should demonstrate that the funds were administered through a program or service.

Eligible BC First Nations may pool their funds in order to jointly further a project that falls within one of the above categories.

7. HOW WILL REVENUE BE DISTRIBUTED AMONG BC’S FIRST NATIONS?

The First Nations Gaming Commission has developed an interim distribution model, approved by resolutions at the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and to be reviewed after 5 years.

Funding will be distributed to communities based on the following formula:

    1. 50% base funding (divided equally among partnered and eligible BC First Nations);

    2. 40% based on registered population; and

    3. 10% for geographically remote communities.

This formula will ensure that all eligible First Nations receive a share of the funding and that larger eligible First Nations are provided with additional funding, based on their registered population. The 10% to be distributed among remote communities recognizes the higher costs of developing infrastructure and bringing services and economic activity to those communities.

8. WHAT IS THE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP?

The First Nations Gaming Commission established the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership to receive, manage and distribute funds. The limited partnership is an apolitical flow-through entity through which the gaming revenue sharing funds are received, managed and distributed in a transparent manner. All eligible BC First Nations will be invited to become limited partners in the limited partnership. Gaming revenue will be transferred from the Province to the limited partnership for distribution. The limited partnership is governed by an Indigenous corporate board of directors appointed by BC First Nations. The general partner will be responsible for receiving, managing, distributing and reporting on gaming revenue on behalf of all participating BC First Nations.

9. IS THERE A DEADLINE FOR FIRST NATIONS TO SIGN ON AS PARTNERS IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A SHARE OF THE FUNDING?

No, there is no deadline for signing on as a partner, although all eligible First Nations partners are encouraged to join as soon as possible so they can receive their share of the funding when it becomes available. Funds earmarked for a First Nation that experiences a delay in signing, or chooses not to join right away, will be held in trust for three years until they become a partner in the limited partnership. If an eligible First Nation does not join the limited partnership within three years, its funds will be disbursed among the limited partners. Funds will then once again begin to accrue and be held in trust for that eligible First Nation, with unclaimed amounts being released to the limited partners every three years unless and until the eligible First Nation joins the limited Partnership.

10. What documentation must be submitted to register as a limited partner?

On August 12, 2019 an information package e-mail was sent out to all eligible First Nation’s with all the required documentation for registering your First Nation to the Partnership. In order to finalize your registration and qualify for the initial disbursement date, all of the documentation listed below must be received by the Partnership no later than November 20, 2019. Please find a list of all required documentation to finalize your registration below:

  • Joinder Agreement

  • Band Council Resolution

  • Bank Account Information Form

  • Auditor Contact Information Form

  • Cheque of $110.00 Payable to BCFN GRS GP INC.

Please find a detailed step-by-step application tutorial here.

11. WHEN CAN FIRST NATIONS EXPECT TO RECEIVE THEIR SHARE OF THE FUNDING?

The Interim BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing and Financial Agreement facilitated a transfer of $194.84 million, representing the first 2 years of payments, to the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership. In August 12 2019, all eligible First Nations were sent a comprehensive information package including step-by-step instructions on how to join the limited partnership. Funding for the 2019/2020 fiscal year is expected to be transferred out to newly registered limited partners beginning on December 1, 2019. Funding for the 2020/2021 fiscal year will be distributed during the month of May 2020.

12. WHAT ARE FIRST NATIONS’ REPORTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE AGREEMENT?

All gaming revenue recipients, such as municipal government and non-profit organizations, have reporting requirements for the use of funds from gaming revenue. Participating BC First Nations will be required to submit a short audited spending statement annually to the limited partnership, confirming how gaming revenue was utilized. These are in turn provided to the Joint Appointee, an independent third-party auditor jointly appointed by the limited partnership and the Province of British Columbia. The limited partnership will provide aggregated reports to limited partners and the Province each year. Neither the limited partnership nor BC First Nations are obligated to provide individual First Nations’ audited spending statements directly to the Province.

13. WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF FIRST NATIONS DO NOT COMPLY WITH THEIR OBLIGATIONS REGARDING USE OF FUNDs AND REPORTING?

The function of the limited partnership is to assist participating BC First Nations in meeting their obligations under the revenue sharing agreements. If a First Nation uses its funds outside of an approved purpose or if it does not submit its reports in a timely manner, the limited partnership may allocate a portion of the First Nation’s funds towards helping the First Nation meet its obligations under the agreements.

The general partner has the discretion to suspend payments in accordance with policy guidelines set by the general partner. If a First Nation remains non-compliant one year after its payments are suspended, the First Nation will forfeit its share of distributions and the general partner may distribute the funds among the remaining eligible First Nations.

14. WILL THE PROVINCE BE DECREASING FUNDING THAT SUPPORTS EXISTING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES NOW THAT BC FIRST NATIONS HAVE ACCESS TO ANOTHER SOURCE OF FUNDING?

There will be no reduction in provincial funding to First Nations as the result of the new gaming revenue sharing agreement. Funding provided through the new gaming arrangement will be incremental to all existing provincial funding that First Nation communities currently receive. Additionally, the agreements do not in any way reduce BC First Nations’ access to community gaming grants.

15. does the gaming revenue sharing arrangement have any impact on claims regarding jurisdiction over gaming, siting of gaming facilities or conduct of gaming?

The Interim BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing and Financial Agreement expressly does not affect, impact or detract from any asserted or determined Aboriginal or Treaty rights pursuant to section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Any long-term agreement will include a similar provision. First Nations may pursue claims in respect of gaming, however the gaming revenue sharing funds may not be used to further those claims.

16. If a first nation is unsure about whether a proposed expenditure falls within the approved purposes, who can THEY CONTACT for further information?

The six categories of approved purposes are broad. In determining whether an expenditure falls within an Approved Purpose, the general partner and Joint Appointee will interpret it within the meaning and scope of the cultures, traditions, values, beliefs, methods and practices of BC First Nations.

For further information, please contact the General Manager of limited partnership at info@bcfngamingrevenue.ca. Please allow 5 business days for a response.

17. MY COMMUNITY IS NOT CONSIDERED AN ELIGIBLE FIRST NATION. HOW CAN WE BECOME ELIGIBLE?

The criteria for determining eligibility of BC First Nations to participate in gaming revenue sharing was established by the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. As a matter of practical necessity, the initial list of Eligible First Nations started with all Indian Bands, Treaty First Nations and Self-Governing First Nations Established by Statute situated in British Columbia.

While it recognizes the right of First Nations to self-determine their governing entities, the limited partnership itself is apolitical and does not have the tools or authority to make determinations of eligibility.

In recognition of the right of self-determination, several mechanisms have been built into the partnership arrangements by which an ineligible First Nations community may become eligible to receive funds:

  1. If the ineligible First Nations community becomes an Indian Band, completes a Treaty or becomes a Self-Governing First Nation Established by Statute, at that time it will fall within the eligibility criteria and will become eligible to receive a revenue share.

  2. The limited partnership will follow a direction that it receives from an eligible First Nation to redirect a portion of funds to an ineligible First Nations community or to recognize it instead as the eligible recipient entity.

  3. The First Nations community may approach the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit or Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, or any limited partner, to propose its addition to the list of eligible First Nations. The limited partnership will add the entity to the list of eligible First Nations upon ratification by its limited partners.

For more information, please view the Backgrounder document on our website.