First Nations Reconciliation

DRIPA Action Plan Item 4.39 Engagement Process

ETSI-BC is dedicated to empowering First Nations and rural communities in BC’s Southern Interior. We provide funding, resources, and training to foster sustainable growth and create opportunities that enhance community well-being.

We have embarked on a path towards  greater economic reconciliation with the 33 First Nations in our service area in 2024. First Nations communities in our region already receive funding from us; now there is an opportunity to be included in our governance & decision-making.

This path will lead to an enhanced governance structure, that ensures all our communities are involved in the governance and decision-making structures at ETSI-BC. For several years, we’ve been asking for our legislation to be changed to include the region’s First Nations in our governance structures. Now, as part of the Province of BC’s DRIPA Action Plan Item 4.39, this vision is becoming a reality. This Action Plan item says the Province will:

  • Work with the Province’s Economic Trusts and First Nation partners to develop a mechanism that ensures inclusion of First Nations at a regional decision-making level.

Our Service Area:

The 33 First Nations in our service area include: Adams Lake, Boothroyd, Boston Bar, Chawathil, Coldwater, Lower Nicola, Lower Similkameen, Neskonlith, Nooaitch, Okanagan, Osoyoos , Penticton, Peters, Shxw’ow’hamel, Simpcw, Skawahlook, Skwlāx te Secwepemcúlecw, Skeetchestn, Splatsin, Spuzzum, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, Union Bar, Upper Nicola, Upper Simalkameen, Westbank, Whispering Pines, Yale, plus ?akisq’nuk, ?aq’am, Lower Kootenay, Shuswap, Sinixt, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it.

Our Impact:

Since 2021, we’ve funded 33 First Nations-led projects:

  • collaborating with 24 different First Nations partner organizations,
  • providing over $1 Million in funding,
  • supporting 7 projects in the Columbia-Kootenay region,
  • and 26 projects in the Thompson-Okanagan region.

Project Overview:

Since our creation by the Province in 2006, 53 municipalities have been represented on our Regional Advisory Committees. By March 2025, we hope to inform the Province how our region wishes to include our 33 First Nations in our governance, so our Act can be updated.

Engagement Process:

Our engagement process will have two main phases. First, we will seek input from all First Nations in our service area on how ETSI-BC could update its governance structure to better serve all our communities. Second, we will find out how each First Nation would like to get involved.

Timeline: July – October 2024

Methods: In-person meetings, presentations to Chiefs and Councils, focus groups, surveys

Key Team Members:

  • Gail Joe, ETSI-BC Indigenous Outreach Consultant (Lower Nicola Band member)
  • Laurel Douglas, CEO, ETSI-BC
  • Paul Donald, Board Chair, ETSI-BC (Simpcw First Nation member)


Next Steps:

  1. Initial outreach by Gail Joe, ETSI-BC Outreach Consultant (July – October 2024)
  2. Engagement and feedback collection
  3. Development of recommendations
  4. Review and refinement of proposals
  5. Submission to the Province of BC (expected in March 2025)
  6. Provincial legislative change process (18-24 month process)

See what we have funded since 2021