Changes aimed to support First Nations communities
To ensure a stable, long-term source of revenue for B.C. First Nations, the provincial government has introduced the Gaming Control Amendment Act, which, if passed, will provide B.C. First Nations with seven per cent of BC Lottery Corporation’s net income for 23 years.
“The gaming control amendment act will allow government to finalize a long-term agreement to share approximately $100 million per year from provincial net gaming revenue with eligible First Nations. The agreement is expected to result in approximately $3 billion in revenues shared with First Nations by 2045,” outlined an Oct. 8 Ministry of Attorney General and Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation media release.
Earlier this fall, the province shared $194.84 million with First Nations under an interim agreement to cover the first two years of a 25-year commitment to share gaming revenues. The interim agreement ensured there was no delay in funding while this legislation was introduced.
Gaming revenue funds are received, managed and distributed by the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership, an organization set up at the direction of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
All First Nations communities in B.C. are eligible to become members in the limited partnership and receive distributions of revenue, the government news release said.
“Each First Nation that participates in the revenue sharing agreement can use the gaming revenue to support priorities for its community, such as enhanced social services, education, infrastructure, cultural revitalization and self-government capacity.”
The revenue may be used in six areas that support governance, capacity building and strengthened program and service delivery:
* health and wellness;
* infrastructure, safety, transportation and housing;
* economic and business development;
* education, language, culture and training;
* community development and environmental protection; and
* capacity building, fiscal management and governance.
Direct distribution of gaming revenue to individuals is not permitted, the ministries noted.