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B.C. regulator says Indigenous communities should have right to set up own utility companies – The Globe and Mail

Indigenous communities should have the right to set up their own utility companies without provincial interference, the B.C. Utilities Commission has concluded.

The BCUC – the independent regulator of public utility services – is one of the first arms of the province to offer action on the government’s political promises to adopt internationally recognized human rights of Indigenous people.

Last month, the B.C. government introduced legislation that aims to enact the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The implementation process will take years, but in a new draft report the regulator isn’t waiting for the legislative framework to be completed. It is interpreting that commitment to mean First Nations should be given the opportunity to self-regulate when it provides utility services on its reserve land, in much the same way municipalities and regional districts do.

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