Right now until 3:00 pm, Friday, June 24th, the BC government is seeking input from British Columbians on their priorities for the 2023 provincial budget.
This is a critical opportunity for us to request funding that can make the government’s old-growth promises a reality. Please join us in calling on the BC government to commit at least $300 million in provincial funding in Budget 2023 to support Indigenous-led protected areas initiatives and at least $70 million for a Provincial Land Acquisition Fund to purchase and protect endangered ecosystems, including old-growth forests, on private lands.
See below for our suggested written submission points and our handy survey guide.
Written Submission Suggested Wording
*Note: Below are some suggested points but be sure to use your own words as much as possible. The more personalized, the more weight your submission will carry.
Recommendation 1 suggested subject:
Commit at least $300 million in provincial funding to support Indigenous-led protected areas initiatives.
Recommendation 1 suggested points:
- A fund of at least $300 million is needed to support the sustainable economic development and diversification of First Nations economies in lieu of old-growth logging and tied to the creation of new Indigenous Protected Areas.
- This is above and beyond the $185 million already committed in Budget 2022, which mostly focuses on industry/workers.
- First Nations make the final decision about whether old-growth deferral recommendations go forward or not in their territory, but many Nations now have a large economic stake in old-growth logging.
- Significant conservation financing is therefore needed in order to offset the economic impacts of old-growth deferrals on First Nations and forestry-based communities.
- The federal government has made hundreds of millions of dollars available for land conservation in BC, including in old-growth forests, which the province needs to embrace.
Recommendation 2 suggested subject:
Provide at least $70 million in Budget 2023 to create a Provincial Land Acquisition Fund
Recommendation 2 suggested points:
- Many of BC’s most endangered and biologically rich ecosystems, including ancient forests, are found on private lands.
- To be protected, private lands must be purchased.
- Local or regional governments, private land trusts, or community groups are unable to raise money fast enough to purchase and protect all the endangered private lands in BC that are under threat from logging, real estate, or other developments.
- The province should allocate at least $70 million in Budget 2023 to create a Provincial Land Acquisition Fund to systematically purchase private lands of high conservation, scenic, cultural, and recreational value.
- Ideally, this $70 million annual fund should increase by $10 million/year until the fund reaches at least $100 million/year.
Question 1. The cost of living is rising nationally as a result of global challenges linked to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the continuing impacts of COVID-19. What further actions do you think the province should take to support people facing challenges from the rising cost of living?
Please complete as you see fit.
Question 2. What actions do you think the Province should take to improve your and your family’s quality of life?
Please complete as you see fit. You may wish to include points regarding climate change and the benefits of standing old-growth forests. Speak from the heart. It goes a long way.
Question 3. Would you be interested in seeing more funding for actions that address climate change and help proactively prevent climate disasters?
Please put ‘Yes’
Question 4. Which areas do you think should receive more, the same or less funding?
Complete as you see fit. In the “other” category, you may wish to include “Old-growth protection” and/or “Indigenous-led protected area initiatives”
In October 2020, the province promised to work with First Nations to implement all 14 recommendations made by the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel, which if implemented, would result in a paradigm shift in how old-growth forests are managed in BC.
In order to facilitate this shift, the BC government must provide significant funding to relieve economic pressure in many First Nations communities so that temporary, and eventually, permanent protection can be placed on the most at-risk ancient forests.
The province has agreed in theory to defer (temporarily pause) logging in 2.6 million hectares of old-growth forests identified as the most at-risk of irreversible biodiversity loss by an independent science panel, the Technical Advisory Panel.
As a result, in Budget 2022, the government committed $185 million to largely support forestry workers affected by the deferrals (a smaller subset of which would go towards First Nations forestry workers) and $12.6 million to support First Nations’ land-use planning.
However, given that numerous First Nations have a significant economic stake in old-growth logging revenues and employment, an additional, dedicated fund of at least $300 million is needed to support Indigenous-led old-growth logging deferrals, land-use plans, and protected areas. This includes funding for Indigenous Guardians programs, offsetting the lost revenues for logging deferrals, and the sustainable economic diversification of First Nations communities in lieu of old-growth logging linked to the establishment of Indigenous Protected Areas.
Additional funding beyond the $300 million is also needed to support forestry workers and contractors, and legally defined compensation for major licensees, as well as to establish a Provincial Land Acquisition Fund to purchase and protect endangered ecosystems, including old-growth forests, on private lands.