Our Story

In the early 1990s, residents, local officials and representatives from regional districts and tribal councils joined together to successfully negotiate with the Province for a share of the Treaty revenues and to secure benefits for the people of the Basin. In July 1995, the Columbia Basin Trust Act was passed into BC Government legislation.

We honour those who saw an opportunity to create this unique, regional organization that would support the efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being in the region most affected by the Treaty.

No one could have imagined all that was possible. Thank you to those who persevered towards the idea, the dream, and participated in meetings, conversations and symposia, and to those who represented and honoured the desires of all Basin residents to create a new future through Columbia Basin Trust.

The Trust was created in 1995 to support efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being in the Canadian portion of the Columbia River Basin—the region most affected by the Columbia River Treaty.

During the creation of the Columbia River Treaty Basin residents weren’t adequately consulted for their views, concerns or solutions. In the early 1990s, residents, local officials and representatives from regional districts and tribal councils joined together to coordinate efforts, forming the Columbia River Treaty Committee. Reflecting the desires of the people of the Basin, the committee approached the Province of BC and successfully negotiated:

  • that funds be allocated to the region, representing a fair share of the ongoing benefits being realized outside of the Basin as a result of the Columbia River Treaty.
  • that a regional organization, governed by a board of Basin residents, be created to manage those funds.

A binding agreement was established resulting in the Province providing:

  • $276 million to finance power project construction
  • $45 million, which the Trust used as an endowment
  • $2 million per year from 1995 to 2010 for operations.

Watch the video From Treaty to Trust that explains the origins of Columbia Basin Trust and its purpose.

The Trust is governed by the Columbia Basin Trust Act and our work is guided by the Columbia Basin Management Plan, which was developed in consultation with Columbia Basin residents in 1997.

The Columbia Basin Management Plan states that:

  • funds be allocated to the region, representing a fair share of the ongoing benefits being realized outside of the Basin as a result of the CRT
  • a regional organization, governed by a board of Basin residents, be created to manage those funds.

Columbia Basin Trust works toward a long-term vision for the future where:

  • The Columbia River Basin is a place where social, environmental, and economic well-being is fostered.
  • Collaborative relationships and partnerships are established across the Basin.
  • A healthy environment is the basis for social and economic activities.
  • The economy of the Basin is diverse, resilient and energized.

Over the past 25 years, your input has guided the Trust and our connections with the Basin have deepened. We have tried to:

  • Grow ideas together with communities – from concept to plan to action.
  • Help people make their own choices on issues that affect their future, and see those choices result in positive outcomes.
  • Manage our assets responsibly to ensure that both present and future generations benefit from those assets.
  • Invest so that future generations can receive the same level of support as current ones.
  • Engage more closely with First Nations communities.
  • Support a healthy, renewed natural environment.
  • Collaborate with youth in the Basin through events, programs and leadership development.
  • Partner with Basin organizations with shared values and objectives – from colleges to local government to non-profits to co-operatives to businesses.
  • Ensure we have a presence around the Basin through our Board and staff.
  • Work alongside federal and provincial governments on common goals.
  • Bring together partners to tackle regional needs.
  • Share information on issues and topics that matter to communities and facilitate access to expertise.
  • Engage Basin volunteers on our committees, boards and working groups.
  • Celebrate our unique and shared cultures.