Vancouver, B.C. – The Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Environment and Climate Change Canada have reached a landmark, first-of-its-kind agreement to co-manage the Burrard Inlet under ECCC’s Disposal at Sea Program. Representatives of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Tsleil‑Waututh Nation met at Whey-ah-Wichen/Cates Park in North Vancouver for a celebration and a traditional Tsleil-Waututh ceremony to recognize the progress made to date.
The disposal of any substance into the sea, even on the seabed, is not allowed unless a permit is issued. Only a small list of waste or other matter can be considered for disposal. Under the agreement between the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Treaty, Lands, and Resources Department and ECCC will work together to assess risks of disposal at sea applications. To support this important work, ECCC will provide a total of $500,000 in funds over the next five years.
This agreement recognizes the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s essential role as a partner with Canada in monitoring, protecting, and restoring the health of the Burrard Inlet and its long stewardship over the land. While Canada prevents pollution in oceans with initiatives such as the Disposal at Sea Program under its Canadian Environmental Protection Act, in Tsleil-Waututh law, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation has an obligation to protect the health of its lands and waters, which include the Burrard Inlet in the greater Vancouver region.
This important step on the path to reconciliation will ensure that disposal at sea in the Burrard Inlet is informed by Tsleil-Waututh science and deep knowledge of their traditional lands and waters. It will help to ensure the Burrard Inlet and its critical ecosystem are managed sustainably, safeguarding the health of local communities, and of the watershed, for generations to come.
“Tsleil-Waututh Nation are People of the Inlet, and have a sacred obligation to care for the lands and waters that we have lived in and stewarded since time out of mind. Tsleil-Waututh Nation is proud to celebrate the Agreement on Collaborative Decision Making Regarding Disposal at Sea and the collaborative work we’ve accomplished to get to this point. Our Tsleil‑Waututh people work diligently to protect the lands and waters to restore the health of the Burrard Inlet, because when the lands and waters are healthy, our people are healthy.” – Chief Jen Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation