No new royalty deal for First Nations

Despite the Yukon government celebrating a revised sharing deal with Ottawa, First Nations' requests to amend their current agreement with the territory have been turned down.

Most Yukon First Nations aren’t seeing much, if any, of the royalties collected from mining in the territory.

Despite the Yukon government celebrating a revised sharing deal with Ottawa, First Nations’ requests to amend their current agreement with the territory have been turned down.

“I’m not considering a change in the Umbrella Final Agreement,” Premier Darrell Pasloski told the News on Wednesday.

That agreement caps First Nations’ 50/50 share of the territory’s royalties at $2 million. The territory’s aboriginal leaders have been asking Pasloski to renegotiate those terms since February.

Under the territory’s new deal with Ottawa, the Yukon’s cap has been lifted to $6 million, from $3 million. The territory also has the option to later switch to another formula, which would see the territory and Ottawa equally split resource revenues.

But the deal offers nothing new to Yukon’s First Nations. By comparison, the Northwest Territories’ revised devolution agreement offers its aboriginal governments a 25 per cent share of royalties.

Pasloski said he isn’t willing to open up the Umbrella Final Agreement because it “is a document that took a long time.”

But the same could be said of the territory’s devolution agreement, which was just amended.

“Not to the same extent, I would believe,” said Pasloski. “My point is that I don’t think that has to be the vehicle to look at what we do with First Nations,” he said. “There are other ways to do it … You could come up with a new agreement that’s over and above or outside the UFA.”

Pasloski said his government continues to discuss royalty sharing with First Nations.

As it stands, the entire share of mining royalties allowed to flow to First Nations is being consumed by the Selkirk First Nation. It profits from Capstone’s Minto mine being on its Category A lands.

In 2010, Capstone cut a royalty cheque worth $5.9 million for the First Nation.

That’s more than the $4.7 million the territory collected in resource revenues that year. The Yukon government only needs to share with First Nations if it collects more royalties than aboriginal governments do.

But no matter what the cut is for Yukon First Nation governments, all Yukoners – including First Nation citizens – will benefit from the territory’s new deal, said Pasloski.

“It’s revenue that comes to the government that allows us to build schools and pay for teachers and pay for doctors and all of those things that all Yukoners benefit from every day.”

Self-government was intended to one day see Yukon First Nations do all these things for their own citizens. But the Umbrella Final Agreement was signed nearly 20 years ago.

“Back when land claims were being negotiated, no one foresaw how big the mining revenues were going to be,” said Chief James Allen, of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, back in April. “Between Canada and the Yukon, they have looked at a new formula for royalty sharing and we, as First Nations, would like to see a new formula developed between ourselves and the territorial government, too.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read