Territory, First Nations strike new royalty deal

The Yukon government and Yukon's self-governing First Nations have reached a new agreement on resource royalty sharing. The details, however, are thin.

The Yukon government and Yukon’s self-governing First Nations have reached a new agreement on resource royalty sharing. The details, however, are thin.

The release states that the new agreement could see First Nations receive up to $4.7 million annually over and above what they are entitled to under the Umbrella Final Agreement, the treaty that currently describes how the territory’s resource royalties are shared.

The details of how royalties will be calculated will be released when the new agreement is formally signed at the next Yukon Forum, said Premier Darrell Pasloski.

No date for that meeting has been set, but it may be held within the next month, said Pasloski.

Under the current agreement, Yukon’s First Nations that have signed onto the Umbrella Final Agreement can collect resource royalties in two ways.

If the development is occurring within the First Nation’s Category A settlement lands, it collects resource royalties directly from the company.

First Nations also are entitled to a share of the revenue collected by the territory for development anywhere in the Yukon. However, the government only pays out on the portion of royalties greater than what the First Nations receive directly.

For example, in 2010 the Selkirk First Nation received a $5.9-million royalty cheque for the Minto mine on their settlement lands.

In the same year, the Yukon only received $4.7 million in resource royalties.

As a result, the territory did not have to share with signed First Nations at all.

As of yet, it is unclear if the new sharing scheme will work to correct this imbalance.

“This is a really good news story,” said Pasloski. “As Yukon increases its resource revenues, so will First Nations also benefit more.”