Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA)
There is a long and rich history of land claim negotiations and agreements in the Yukon tracing back to the beginning of the twentieth century.
Yukon’s First Nations leaders worked tirelessly for decades to create awareness about the injustices done to indigenous peoples and ensure the federal government’s recognition of their rights.
This effort laid the groundwork for creating the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA).
On May 29th, 1993, the Council for Yukon Indians (now the Council of Yukon First Nations), the Government of Yukon, and the Government of Canada signed the UFA.
The UFA is not legally binding itself. Instead, it serves as a political understanding between Yukon First Nations signatories and the territorial and federal governments. This historic and precedent-setting agreement serves as the framework that guides the negotiations for all other First Nations land claim agreements in the territory.
Between 1993 and 2006, 11 of Yukon’s 14 First Nations signed Final Agreements making them self-determining and self-governing bodies.
When a Final Agreement is signed, the rights outlined within the agreement become legally binding and constitutionally protected. This provides the First Nations signatory with the powers and tools to make laws and decisions about its land, citizens, and governance.
The UFA forever changed Yukon’s social and political structure by making First Nation land ownership and self-determination provisions. And by creating an environment and infrastructure that ensures indigenous peoples co-manage Yukon’s land and resources.
The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board (the Board) is created under Chapter 16 of the UFA. More specifically, section 16.7.1 establishes the Board as “the primary instrument of Fish and Wildlife Management in the Yukon.”
(Ch. 16 Objectives, Yukon Final Agreements)
18.104.22.168 To ensure Conservation in the management of all Fish and Wildlife resources and their habitats;
22.214.171.124 To preserve and enhance the renewable resources economy;
126.96.36.199 To preserve and enhance the culture, identity and values of Yukon Indian People
188.8.131.52 To ensure the equal participation of Yukon Indian People with other Yukon residents in Fish and Wildlife management processes and decisions;
184.108.40.206 To guarantee the rights of Yukon Indian People to harvest and the rights of Yukon First Nations to management renewable resources on Settlement Land;
220.127.116.11 To integrate the management of all renewable resources;
18.104.22.168 To integrate the relevant knowledge and experience both of Yukon Indian People and of the scientific communities in order to achieve Conservation;
22.214.171.124 To develop responsibilities for renewable resource management at the community level;
126.96.36.199 To honour the Harvesting and Fish and Wildlife management customs of Yukon Indian People and to provide for the Yukon Indian People’s ongoing needs for Fish and Wildlife;
188.8.131.52 To deal fairly with all Yukon residents who use Fish and Wildlife resources in the Yukon; and
184.108.40.206 To enhance and promote the full participation of Yukon Indian People in renewable resources management.
Powers and Responsibilities
16.7.11 The Board, acting in the public interest and consistent with this chapter and taking into consideration all relevant factors including recommendations of the Councils, may make recommendations to the Minister, to Yukon First Nations and to the Councils, on all matters related to Fish and Wildlife management, Legislation, research, policies, and programs.
16.7.12 Without restricting 16.7.11, the Board:
220.127.116.11 May recommend to the Minister policies for the management of Fish and Wildlife and their habitats;
18.104.22.168 May make recommendations to the Minister on the need for and the content and timing of all Yukon Fish and Wildlife management plans for species included in international agreements, threatened species or populations, species or populations declared by the Minister as being of a territorial, national or international interest, and Transplanted Populations and Exotic Species;
22.214.171.124 May review and make recommendations to the Minister and to Yukon First Nations on management plans recommended by the Councils, specifically the population goals and the management options contained within those plans;
126.96.36.199 May, where required by species or population management plans, recommend to the Minister a Total Allowable Harvest for a species listed in 188.8.131.52 in accordance with 16.9.0;
184.108.40.206 May review and recommend to the Minister adjustments to Basic Needs Levels in accordance with 16.9.8;
220.127.116.11 May make recommendations to the Minister on the need for, and on positions on, interjurisdictional agreements that affect the Conservation and Use of Fish and Wildlife resources in the Yukon;
18.104.22.168 After Consultation with the affected Councils, may recommend to the Minister restrictions on methods and practices of harvest for reasons of Conservation, public health, public safety and, in exceptional circumstances, for protection of the renewable resources economy associated with the Use of Fish or Wildlife resources;
22.214.171.124 May, at the request of the Council, assist a Council in the performance of its duties;
126.96.36.199 May, subject to approval of the Minister and the Council, delegate the performance of its responsibilities to a Council; and
188.8.131.52 May, in Consultation with the Councils and subject to Yukon First Nation Final Agreements, identify new opportunities and recommend to the Minister management measures for commercial Uses of Fish and Wildlife.
16.7.13 The Board shall have standing as an interested party to participate in the public proceedings of any agency, board or commission dealing with matters that affect the management and Conservation of Fish and Wildlife and their habitat in the Yukon.
16.7.14 The Board shall communicate to the Councils its recommendations and decisions approved in accordance with 16.8.0 within a reasonable time.
16.7.15 The Board shall meet not less than annually with the chairpersons of the Councils.
16.7.16 Before the amendment or introduction of Legislation for Fish and Wildlife in the Yukon, the Minister shall Consult with the Board on the matters to be addressed in that Legislation.