Series GR-3555 - Executive briefing notes

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Executive briefing notes

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  • 2005 - 2006 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
  • 1995 - 2006 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Ministry of Attorney General
  • 1995 - 2001 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs

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1 m of textual material

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Biographical history

The Ministry of Attorney General was established in 1871 under its first name, the Attorney-General’s Department of the Province of British Columbia, by authority of the Constitution Act of 1871 (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, from 1863 to 1866, the origins of the ministry were in the offices of the Attorney-General for the Colony of Vancouver Island and for the Colony of British Columbia. In 1866, the colonies united to form one colony, with one Attorney-General, who remained in place until British Columbia became a province of the Dominion of Canada in 1871.

The Attorney-General was the official legal advisor of the Lieutenant-Governor and of the Executive Council. He was responsible for the settlement and approval of all documents issued under the public seal of the province and for the supervision of magistrates, police, and the constabulary. In 1899, the department was reconstituted by the Attorney-General’s Act (SBC 1899, c. 5), which expanded the duties and powers of the Attorney-General to include: management and direction of correctional institutions, the British Columbia Police, and the administration of public affairs; provision of legislative and legal advice to the representative of the Crown and the heads of government departments; administration of justice within the Province; and regulation of all litigation for and against the Crown and public departments within the jurisdiction of the Legislature. At various times several different agencies have been under the direction of the Attorney-General, such as the Industrial Schools for Boys and for Girls, Factories Inspection Branch, Electrical Energy Inspection Branch, Mothers’ Pension Board, Municipal Branch, Provincial Board of Health, Prohibition Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and Superintendent of Neglected Children. In most instances these agencies have later been placed under the management of other departments, absorbed into new organizations, or abolished altogether.

On Oct. 28 1976, the Dept. of the Attorney-General was renamed Ministry of the Attorney-General (OIC 3199/76 and CNAF). The name changed again in 1979 to Ministry of Attorney General (SBC, 1979, c. 23).

In 2001, the Ministry was renamed The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and a new Ministry of Attorney General was created (OIC 565/2001). The mandate in 2001 continued with the Attorney General as the chief law officer for the province and official legal advisor to Cabinet. The ministry is responsible for the administration and delivery of justice services, except for youth corrections. Its programs are divided into five areas: criminal, civil/family, administrative, human rights, and regulatory.

Between 2012 and 2017 the Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Justice. After 2017 the name returned to Ministry of Attorney General.

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Biographical history

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs was established in 1991 as the successor to the Ministry of Native Affairs (OIC 1370/91). The purpose of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs was to:

(a) develop policy related to various native issues,
(b) coordinate inter-ministry work on program issues related to native affairs,
(c) establish and maintain liaison with Indian groups, local communities and the federal government respecting native affairs,
(d) administer the First Citizen's Fund Special Account.

In 1999, the Minister was charged with the administration of the Nisga'a Final Agreement Act. In the same year, the Minister was also charged with oversight responsibilities for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

In 2001, the core functions of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs were transferred to the newly-created Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services. Treaty negotiation functions were transferred to the Ministry of Attorney General (OIC 565/2001).

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The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation is established on June 16, 2005 (OIC 450/2005). Functions of the Ministry of Attorney General in respect to Treaty Negotiations were transferred to this ministry along with the functions of the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services. The mandate of this Ministry is to close the socio-economic gap between Aboriginal groups and other British Columbians, build respectful relationships and reconcile Aboriginal rights and title through treaty agreements. The Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in 2017 (OIC 213/2017).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The records consist of briefing notes prepared for the executive of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and the Ministry of Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Treaty Negotiations. As such, the records consist primarily of summarized information on issues and recommendations for decisions related to treaty negotiation and other Aboriginal issues in British Columbia. Some files contain supplementary information on issues, such as: interoffice communications; correspondence (with law offices, First Nations groups, businesses, and other provincial bodies); relevant legislation; newspaper clippings; and reports. Although treaty negotiation and land claim issues are the primary subjects of the briefing notes, the notes also cover a variety of issues including cost-sharing initiatives between the federal and provincial governments and areas of responsibility, gaming and gambling, environmental issues, protests and blockades, and funding initiatives. Additionally, many of the records cover the McLeod Lake Indian Band, Nisga’a Nation, the Sechelt Indian Band [shíshálh Nation], the Skeetchestn Indian Band, and Treaty 8.

The majority of the records were created by the Ministry of Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Treaty Negotiations Office. The duties, powers and functions of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs respecting negotiations, negotiations support and treaty settlement and implementation costs were transferred to the Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Treaty Negotiation in 2001 (OIC 0565-2001), at the same time that the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs was disestablished. The Treaty Negotiations Office (TNO) reported to the Minister Responsible for Treaty Negotiations and was responsible for land claims negotiations, and interim measures, including treaty-related measures. The TNO is comprised of the same treaty teams as existed previously, as well as the Aboriginal Relations Branch, which has responsibility for non-treaty issues and works with First Nations outside of the treaty process. The TNO shares some corporate services with the Ministry for the Attorney General but is a separate agency. Some files also contain information on the Treaty Negotiations Office, including its mandate and primary functions. Geoff Plant served as Minister Responsible for Treaty Negotiations Office between 2001-2005 and Philip Steenkamp served as Deputy Minister.

Briefing notes created prior to June 2001 were created for the executive of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. Additional executive briefing notes related to Aboriginal issues can be found in GR-3538.

Files are comprised of briefing books or briefing binders. Generally, these files are arranged chronologically. Within each file or binder, records are arranged either chronologically or alphabetically. Most files contain an index of records.

Records correspond to ARCS 280-20: Executive briefing notes.

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British Columbia. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation in 2016 and 2017.


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These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts, and access is restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright belongs to the Government of British Columbia.

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General note

Accession number: 96-1210

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