Trans Mountain and the Simpcw First Nation signed a Mutual Benefits Agreement (MBA) on May 10 that will create meaningful employment, business opportunities and lasting benefits for the Simpcw people.

The agreement builds on the strong partnership that was formed in 2007 when Simpcw signed a benefit agreement with Trans Mountain regarding the first expansion phase, referred to as the Anchor Loop Project.

According to Nathan Matthew, Chief of the Simpcw First Nation, the agreement ensures its values will be respected and the Nation will benefit from the use of its Lands. He says it was important to Council to negotiate a deal where the benefits would reach every community member. He adds the partnership will ensure the community has a leadership role in conducting the environmental work within its territory, and the membership will benefit in a real way – whether it be from jobs, community infrastructure or contracting opportunities.

The agreement went to a Community Referendum on March 13, 2016, the results of which indicated overwhelming support. The agreement will provide Simpcw with milestone and annual payments, and contains significant commitments around environmental protection, employment and training and business opportunities.

The agreement also contemplates an emergency response strategy including associated training, equipment and infrastructure. Simpcw is currently working with the Province to ensure the strategy aligns with provincial standards and will be equipped to deal with emergencies throughout the Territory beyond those of the Project.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project team is building long-term relationships with Aboriginal communities along the proposed pipeline corridor to not only create new opportunities and shared prosperity, but to ensure the Project design and planning incorporates appropriate measures to protect Aboriginal interests in the lands and waters.

MBAs are confidential agreements that define a mutually beneficial long-term relationship between an individual Aboriginal group and Kinder Morgan Canada. They can include agreements on education and training related to pipeline construction and related job skills, enhancement of community lands, services or infrastructure, business opportunities and other benefits.