2.3 Indigenous Considerations

over 1 year ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

Over the course of its journey from coast to coast to coast, the Panel heard from Indigenous Peoples about their fundamental connection to the land. This connection includes the relationship between humans and the landscape in a holistic, interconnected framework. The Panel heard about how the land and waters, and all the resources that flow from them, are not only the source of all life and Aboriginal rights and title, but also the source and keeper of their history, their future and their laws.

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Please tell us your thoughts on what the Expert Panel proposed in this section.

Northern Confluence over 1 year ago
The adoption of UNDRIP is essential and it's a relief to see that the Panel has made solid recommendations around the implementation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. It is absolutely vital that all aspects - from early Planning phase to collaborative decision making be adopted in a new environmental or impact assessment law.
Meg Sears for Prevent Cancer Now over 1 year ago
Indigenous knowledge is extremely important. We have also heard of reluctance (possibly stemming from similar origins) to participate in biomonitoring. If trust is engendered with renewed processes, if groups are well engaged and they are offered the opportunity, then they may see a benefit in the context of IA. This could be invaluable data of importance that may extend beyond a specific project to environmental challenges increasingly being faced in Canada.
Ruby Chapman over 1 year ago
I support the recommendations in this section. It is vital that meaningful consultation is initiated early in the planning stages.
Anna Johnston, West Coast Environmental Law over 1 year ago
We strongly support the Panel’s recommendations in this section, and in particular its recommendation that Indigenous peoples’ consent be required for project approval. With regards to resolving any nation-to-nation disputes, we urge the government to establish an independent tribunal to, among other things, facilitate multijurisdictional collaboration and provide dispute resolution services. Were the IA Commission to be responsible for those services, there would be a real risk of bias or perception of bias, and risk of less trust and accountability. The legislation should explicitly acknowledge Indigenous peoples authority and right to be involved directly in all stages of IA and decision-making. With regards to the fulfilment of the duty to consult, we note that there is a conflict between the IA Commission’s purported independence and its being an agent of the Crown. Further, while we support the Panel’s recommendation that Indigenous decision-makers take part in the determination of the adequacy of consultation, at the federal level the same Crown agency should not be responsible for both conducting consultation and determining its adequacy. More work will likely need to be done in order to arrive at a governance structure that will enable meaningful consultation and accommodation and enable IA to move Canada down the path of reconciliation. With regards to Indigenous knowledge, we support the Panel’s recommendations and further recommend that an independent expert advisory committee be established in the legislation that includes Indigenous members appointed by Indigenous peoples to advise the government or IA Commission on strategic issues, such as when RIAs, SIAs and PIAs should occur, and on the establishment of assessment guidance, policies and regulations.
Jess over 1 year ago
As noted by Prof Ben Bradshaw "though locals inevitably experience a disproportionate share of project impacts, regulatory systems governing resource extraction do not privilege locals in terms of capturing project benefits, even where those locals hold special rights". This merits further consideration in the "Impact And Benefit Agreements". While benefits may be largely regional or national, impacts are local and consequently local voices, especially local Indigenous voices, must have full consideration.
Elsipogtog First nation over 1 year ago
Indigenous Considerations The Expert Panel makes a number of important recommendations geared towards better inclusion of Indigenous peoples and interests within environmental assessment processes. A number of these recommendations will require consultation between Indigenous peoples and the Crown if they are to be given meaningful effect and accommodate our concerns in a manner that is consistent with our nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown and the principles set out in UNDRIP. In this light, we offer the following comments on the Expert Panel’s Report. 1. Co-operative Decision-Making. The Expert Panel recommends that Indigenous peoples be included in decision-making within the context of environmental assessments through the exercise of "co-operative decision-making". How Indigenous Peoples will choose to exercise their decision-making authority will vary from one Indigenous group to the next. Consultation with Indigenous peoples is required to determine how they wish to exercise their decision-making authority within this context. At a minimum, collaborative decision-making within the context of environmental assessment processes should provide an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to exercise their decision-making authority in a manner that is consistent with their own laws and protocols. 2. Indigenous Jurisdiction. The Expert Panel recommends that there be coordination with Indigenous jurisdictions throughout the assessment process. However, many of the Panel's suggestions for reforming the federal environmental assessment process do not give proper recognition to our Indigenous jurisdiction and decision-making authority. For example, the Panel recommends that the Governor in Council be given final decision-making authority regarding the environmental assessment of projects. As well, decisions by Indigenous peoples to withhold their consent for a particular project will be subject to review for reasonableness. Indigenous jurisdiction includes the right to determine whether and how the lands and resources within Indigenous peoples' territory should be developed. It is not enough for Indigenous peoples to be involved in the environmental review of proposed development projects. We must also have a say in whether and how such projects will be developed. This includes final decision-making about whether we will consent to an activity and, if so, what mitigation, accommodation and / or justification measures are required. 3. IA Commission. The Expert Panel recommends that a single authority, the Impact Assessment Commission, be appointed by the Governor in Council to undertake environmental assessments, and that the Commission be authorized to fulfil the Crown's duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. We question the ability of a tribunal to properly and meaningfully fulfill the Crown's constitutional obligations to Indigenous peoples. Consultation requires an iterative process, which includes opportunities for Indigenous peoples to identify concerns about a proposed activity and provide information about the potential impacts of the proposed activity on their rights, and for the Crown to take steps to accommodate these concerns and attempt to justify infringements of rights and title. In general, environmental assessments on their own have proven insufficient to meet the Crown’s constitutional obligations to Indigenous peoples. The Crown must consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples and attempt to justify infringements consistent with the honour of the Crown over and above environmental assessment processes. We expect the Crown to fulfill any obligations that have not been fulfilled through environmental assessment processes. 4. Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The Expert Panel recommends that the IA Commission's decision about a particular project should be based on the project's net contribution to the improvement of the long-term well-being of Canadians, taking into consideration the project's impacts on environmental, economic, social, health and cultural factors. In addition, environmental assessment processes should require the assessment of impacts to asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights and interests. Projects that have the potential to infringe Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights cannot be justified simply because they offer "net benefits". The Crown has a constitutional obligation to justify the potential infringement of Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights and can only do so by demonstrating that the project contributes a compelling and substantial objective consistent with its fiduciary duty to Indigenous peoples. The project must be necessary, it must be designed to minimally affect Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights, and the adverse effects on Indigenous peoples cannot outweigh the benefits for the general public. 5. The Role of IBAs. The Expert Panel encourages proponents to collaborate with Indigenous communities to determine Indigenous interest in IBA negotiation and to seek Indigenous support for project development, noting that IBAs negotiated in good faith could help set the stage for free, prior and informed Indigenous consent. To be clear, IBAs are separate and distinct from the Crown's constitutional obligations to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. The negotiation of an IBA between an Indigenous community and a company should never be interpreted as discharging the Crown's constitutional obligations to the Indigenous community. Overall, we agree with the Panel's recommendation that broader discussions between Indigenous peoples and the Crown must take place in order to give effect to our nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown and the implementation of UNDRIP in the context of environmental assessments.
Pat Moss over 1 year ago
I support the recommendations in this section.
Elizabeth May over 1 year ago
I whole-heartedly support the recommendations that the principles embedded in UNDRIP guide the reviewed assessment process. This is an area in which non-Indigenous Canadians must stand back and support the views expressed by FN, Inuit and Métis peoples. I note that adequate time for review is a key requirement for effective and meaningful consultation and establishment of prior, informed consent. Therefore the early engagement at the planning stage is critical.
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade over 1 year ago
The Board of Trade fully supports indigenous participation in the Impact Assessment process, and the consideration of Indigenous knowledge in evaluation the impact of a project. We also agree that long-term and ongoing capacity is required for these groups.
Animakee Wa Zhing #37 over 1 year ago
We wish to flag a concern with the Expert Panel’s recommendations respecting the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate. The Panel recommended that “any IA authority be designated an agent of the Crown and, through a collaborative process, thus be accountable for the duty to consult and accommodate, the conduct of consultation, and the adequacy of consultation. The fulfillment of this duty must occur under a collaborative framework developed in partnership with impacted Indigenous Groups” (Report, at p. 31). Whether the Crown can rely on an impact assessment body to fulfill its duty to consult and accommodate is still a live issue, and is currently being considered by the Supreme Court of Canada in Hamlet of Clyde River, et al. v. Petroleum Geo-Services Inc. (PGS), et al and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v. Enbridge Pipelines Inc., et al. The hearing was held on November 30, 2016 and the Court has reserved judgment. These decisions will have an impact on the Panel’s recommendations. The duty to consult and accommodate is an important component of nation-to-nation dialogue and reconciliation, and should not necessarily be entirely subsumed by a regulatory body’s mandate. The Panel should specify more clearly how and to what extent the Crown can rely on the IA authority, and the circumstances where the Crown must be actively involved, because the duty to consult and accommodate is a Crown responsibility.
Q'ul-lhanumutsun Aquatic Resources Society over 1 year ago
The Panel has made lofty Indigenous Considerations recommendations that the GoC really needs to consider in order to align with the principles set out in the UNDRIP. As the Panel recommends, First Nations need to be informed early and timelines need to be determined based on existing information required to make a decision, the time required to collect any missing information, and time to process based on the volume of data and the community consultation requirements. Although a lot of time may be required in the immediate future for the GoC to re-build relationships of trust and to learn how to work with Indigenous Communities and respect Indigenous Knowledge, once trust is established, processes will proceed efficiently. Currently, often proponents and governments are unclear on how to consult with Indigenous Peoples and thus Indigenous communities enter the process late and less informed than necessary and on the defensive. Communities are left feeling cheated, rushed and taken advantage of, and this often leads to expensive court cases costing impoverished communities and the GoC. This needs to be rectified as soon as possible and the Panel provides some recommendations to do so. This section is extremely important for the GoC to consider in order to make the CEAA more effective and efficient. Further, these recommendations should extend beyond the CEAA to all federal policies and programs.
Manitoba Infrastructure over 1 year ago
2.3.1 - Each First Nation may have different laws and customs and would need to be clearly understood at the start of the process. Management of engagement records is crucial as both elected community officials and government staff may change during the course of the IA process. 2.3.2 - Funding, timelines and roles and responsibilities need to be defined at the beginning of the IA. Any Federal IA agency must be sufficiently funded and staffed.
Northern Health Authority of BC over 1 year ago
Northern Health supports the following recommendations made by the Expert Panel regarding “Indigenous Considerations”:- That Indigenous Peoples be included in decision-making at all stages of IA, in accordance with their own laws and customs.- That any IA authority increase its capacity to meaningfully engage with and respect Indigenous Peoples, by improving knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and their rights, history and culture.- That a funding program be developed to provide longterm, ongoing IA capacity development that is responsive to the specific needs and contexts of diverse Indigenous Groups.-That IA-specific funding programs be enhanced to provide adequate support throughout the whole IA process, in a manner that is responsive to the specific needs and contexts of diverse Indigenous Groups.-That IA legislation require that Indigenous knowledge be integrated into all phases of IA, in collaboration with, and with the permission and oversight of, Indigenous Groups.-That IA legislation confirm Indigenous ownership of Indigenous knowledge and include provisions to protect Indigenous knowledge from/against its unauthorized use, disclosure or release.
Ian Thomson, Oxfam Canada over 1 year ago
Oxfam Canada strongly supports the Expert Panel’s recommendations to ensure the IA process conforms to the principles and standards in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Article 44 of the UN Declaration affirms the principle of gender equality in its application. The IA process must ensure that Indigenous women and men are able to exercise their rights and freedoms equally.The safeguard of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), which is referenced several times within the UN Declaration, should be fully implemented in the IA process. As recommended by the Expert Panel, Oxfam believes “Indigenous peoples must be included in decision-making at all stages of IA, in accordance with their own laws and customs.” The IA Commission should work with Indigenous Peoples to determine how the FPIC safeguard is implemented in a manner that assures gender equity and the full participation of Indigenous women and men.Gender equity must be a guiding principle for all IA-related capacity building programs for Indigenous Groups. Funding programs to provide long-term, ongoing IA capacity development must be accessible to Indigenous women’s organizations and delivered in a manner that addresses their specific needs and contexts. The Expert Panel found that “consent should be provided under a collaborative framework which would include dispute resolution processes at decision points. Parties would have various options available to them to review the reasonableness of all decisions, including the reasonableness of Indigenous Groups withholding their consent.” As a safeguard of human rights, FPIC must be examined within a broader human rights framework. The reasonableness test must be firmly guided by international human rights principles and consider balancing conflicting human rights.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) over 1 year ago
The structure and mandate of the proposed IA Commission should demonstrate the federal government’s commitment to enacting the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The new process should contribute to reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples.
Shane Borchardt over 1 year ago
It is reasonable for affected Indigenous group to be involved in the assessment. However, this should be done as a cooperative exercise to be undertaken by both the proponent and the affected Indigenous group, not as an assessment completed solely by the indigenous group.
Kari Toews over 1 year ago
I do not agree with increased decision-making authority by Indigenous Peoples that is inconsistent with Canada’s constitution and legal framework.I do not support that the assessment of impacts to asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights should be undertaken solely by impacted Indigenous groups. However, I do support a cooperative exercise to be undertaken by both the proponent and the affected Indigenous group(s). Where the proponent has a robust, well-funded stakeholder engagement program in place, I do not believe proponent should be responsible to support additional funding of long-term capacity development and adequate support throughout whole IA process. Further, I do not support that Indigenous knowledge should be treated differently than other studies used in the assessment. Baseline studies and data are treated as the confidential information of the proponent and are protected from unauthorized disclosure through the use of confidentiality agreements.
Wayne Summach over 1 year ago
I do not agree with increased decision making a authority by Indigenous people that is inconsistent with Canada's legal framework. I do not agree that established aboriginal rights should be undertaken only by Indigenous groups. I do support a cooperative process undertaken by both the proponent and the affected Indigenous group. Indigenous knowledge should NOT be treated differently that other studies used in the assessment.
Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation over 1 year ago
The Expert Panel makes a number of important recommendations geared towards better inclusion of Indigenous peoples and interests within environmental assessment processes. A number of these recommendations will require consultation between Indigenous peoples and the Crown if they are to be given meaningful effect and accommodate our concerns in a manner that is consistent with our nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown and the principles set out in UNDRIP. In this light, we offer the following comments on the Expert Panel’s Report. 1. Co-operative Decision-Making. The Expert Panel recommends that Indigenous peoples be included in decision-making within the context of environmental assessments through the exercise of "co-operative decision-making". How Indigenous Peoples will choose to exercise their decision-making authority will vary from one Indigenous group to the next. Consultation with Indigenous peoples is required to determine how they wish to exercise their decision-making authority within this context. At a minimum, collaborative decision-making within the context of environmental assessment processes should provide an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to exercise their decision-making authority in a manner that is consistent with their own laws and protocols. 2. Indigenous Jurisdiction. The Expert Panel recommends that there be coordination with Indigenous jurisdictions throughout the assessment process. However, many of the Panel's suggestions for reforming the federal environmental assessment process do not give proper recognition to our Indigenous jurisdiction and decision-making authority. For example, the Panel recommends that the Governor in Council be given final decision-making authority regarding the environmental assessment of projects. As well, decisions by Indigenous peoples to withhold their consent for a particular project will be subject to review for reasonableness. Indigenous jurisdiction includes the right to determine whether and how the lands and resources within Indigenous peoples' territory should be developed. It is not enough for Indigenous peoples to be involved in the environmental review of proposed development projects. We must also have a say in whether and how such projects will be developed. This includes final decision-making about whether we will consent to an activity and, if so, what mitigation, accommodation and / or justification measures are required. 3. IA Commission. The Expert Panel recommends that a single authority, the Impact Assessment Commission, be appointed by the Governor in Council to undertake environmental assessments, and that the Commission be authorized to fulfil the Crown's duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. We question the ability of a tribunal to properly and meaningfully fulfill the Crown's constitutional obligations to Indigenous peoples. Consultation requires an iterative process, which includes opportunities for Indigenous peoples to identify concerns about a proposed activity and provide information about the potential impacts of the proposed activity on their rights, and for the Crown to take steps to accommodate these concerns and attempt to justify infringements of rights and title. In general, environmental assessments on their own have proven insufficient to meet the Crown’s constitutional obligations to Indigenous peoples. The Crown must consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples and attempt to justify infringements consistent with the honour of the Crown over and above environmental assessment processes. We expect the Crown to fulfill any obligations that have not been fulfilled through environmental assessment processes. 4. Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The Expert Panel recommends that the IA Commission's decision about a particular project should be based on the project's net contribution to the improvement of the long-term well-being of Canadians, taking into consideration the project's impacts on environmental, economic, social, health and cultural factors. In addition, environmental assessment processes should require the assessment of impacts to asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights and interests. Projects that have the potential to infringe Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights cannot be justified simply because they offer "net benefits". The Crown has a constitutional obligation to justify the potential infringement of Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights and can only do so by demonstrating that the project contributes a compelling and substantial objective consistent with its fiduciary duty to Indigenous peoples. The project must be necessary, it must be designed to minimally affect Aboriginal title, rights and treaty rights, and the adverse effects on Indigenous peoples cannot outweigh the benefits for the general public. 5. The Role of IBAs. The Expert Panel encourages proponents to collaborate with Indigenous communities to determine Indigenous interest in IBA negotiation and to seek Indigenous support for project development, noting that IBAs negotiated in good faith could help set the stage for free, prior and informed Indigenous consent. To be clear, IBAs are separate and distinct from the Crown's constitutional obligations to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. The negotiation of an IBA between an Indigenous community and a company should never be interpreted as discharging the Crown's constitutional obligations to the Indigenous community. Overall, we agree with the Panel's recommendation that broader discussions between Indigenous peoples and the Crown must take place in order to give effect to our nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown and the implementation of UNDRIP in the context of environmental assessments.
Ontario Rivers Alliance over 1 year ago
It is imperative that Indigenous peoples are directly involved in decision-making, are able to select their own representatives to participate in the IA process, and apply their own institutions and customs in the process. ORA recommends that collaboration and co-management of the IA process and natural resources with Indigenous peoples are a necessity. The Panel also recommended establishing an independent tribunal in the Commission, but also designating it as an agent of the Crown, which interferes with this independence. The Commission would be responsible for both conducting consultation and accommodation, and determining if it’s adequate – this is not acceptable.ORA recommends creating an independent tribunal to resolve disputes, including challenges to the adequacy of consultation.
Campaign for the Protection of Offshore Nova Scotia over 1 year ago
CPONS supports the Report’s measures to enhance First Nation participation and consultation.
Alyse K over 1 year ago
I think including Indigenous People’s in the IA process is invaluable; however their involvement in the decision-making process should be consistent with Canada’s constitution and legal framework. Indigenous group’s involvement and assessment of their related impacts should be undertaken as a cooperative exercise that strengthens proponent’s relationship with affected Indigenous group(s). I do not believe proponents should be responsible for additional funding of long-term capacity development throughout whole IA process if proponents can demonstrate robust, well-funded stakeholder engagement.
David Suzuki Foundation over 1 year ago
These are the comments of the David Suzuki Foundation and are intended to complement joint submission of the Environmental Assessment Caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network (including the David Suzuki Foundation).We note as well the Panel’s recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights. In our view, recognition of environmental rights for all Canadians as a logical extension and a complementary rights-based framework for assessing environmental impacts.The review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act also an opportunity to establish requirements respecting environmental health equity (also referred to as environmental justice; environmental racism is a related concept). All Canadians should have the right to a healthy environment, but there is increasing evidence that disadvantaged and vulnerable communities bear a disproportionate burden of preventable environmental health hazards, such as pollution, environmental degradation and the effects of climate change. The concept of environmental health inequity describes “inadequate, unresponsive, and/or discriminatory policies that result in the concentration of multiple environmental risks, as well as inadequate access to environmental benefits among disadvantaged Canadian communities.” We appreciate the Expert Panel’s recognition that, “Indigenous Peoples bear a disproportionate burden of developmental impacts” (section 2.3) and agree with the recommendation for assessment of impacts to asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights and interests across all components of sustainability. We suggest the concept of environmental health equity as a useful framework for understanding and preventing disproportionate negative impacts.
Anne Gent over 1 year ago
Indigenous people, and other relevant stakeholders, should be be consulted throughout the impact-assessment process, but I disagree that indigenous groups should be able to solely determine the possible impacts to their aboriginal or treaty rights and interests. This determination should follow a collaborative decision making process between indigenous groups, the project proponent and the affected communities/stakeholders.Funding for support throughout the IA process sounds good in theory, but should be scaled to the size of the project, have a realistic cap to ensure some control, and consider any engagement agreements that may already be in place locally.
Robert Zurrer over 1 year ago
It is time to accept that the indigenous population already have too many freebies and too much power. If they cannot succeed with what they are already given, it is hopeless to attempt to appease them further
Charlene B over 1 year ago
I am supportive of a cooperative exercise between affected indigenous groups and project proponents and decision-making authority that is consistent with Canada legal framework and constitution. Some procedural aspects of the Duty to Consult could be delegated to proponents. The requirement to fund additional capacity development should not be required by the proponent when there is a robust stakeholder engagement program in place.
Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada over 1 year ago
We are glad to see the Panel take these issues seriously and recognize Indigenous jurisdiction and FPIC, as well as recognizing the capacity constraints that are a reality for all levels of organization. Likewise, the recognition of collective intellectual property of traditional knowledge-holders is a hugely important step.
Patrick Landine over 1 year ago
I am opposed to increased decision-making authority by Indigenous Peoples where it is inconsistent with our constitution and legal framework.I cannot agree that the assessment of impacts to asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights should be undertaken solely by the impacted Indigenous groups. I would support a joint exercise to be undertaken by both the proponent and the affected Indigenous group(s). I would agree with the delegation of certain procedural aspects to the Crown’s duty to consult to proponents. In the case where a proponent has a robust, well-funded stakeholder engagement program in place, I do not think they should have to support additional funding of long-term capacity development. Indigenous knowledge, where it is supported by evidence, should be treated equally to other studies used in the assessment. Studies completed by the proponent must be treated as the confidential information of the proponent.
John Takala over 1 year ago
While Indigenous Peoples, like other Canadians and levels of government, should be included in the IA process, their own laws and customs should not supersede or be used as the basis for the IA decision making process. All stakeholders need to be governed by the same process. I do not support the use of the IA process to assess impacts to asserted or established treaty rights and interests as this would dramatically expand the scope of an IA. Other existing mechanisms such as political action and the courts should continue to be used. Designating any IA authority has an agent of Crown with respect to the duty to consult is both a dramatic expansion of the IA process and arguably an abdication of government responsibility. The Panel recommendation for any IA authority to increase in capacity to meaningfully engage with Indigenous Peoples is inappropriate as it that all engagement is inadequate. There will always be requests for more funding, more engagement, but that does mean it is inadequate in all cases. This needs to assessed on case-by-case basis within reasonable guidelines established by the regulations. Indigenous knowledge should be used when appropriate, not required, and treated like any other source of knowledge. If there is a need to in some protect Indigenous knowledge this is a larger issue than the IA process and should be considered separately, likely through the amendment of existing laws.
Thevenot over 1 year ago
I do not agree that the assessment of impacts to rights should be undertaken by indigenous groups themselves, but rather through collaboration with the Crown. Participant funding should be available specifically for the incorporation and review of indigenous knowledge and assessing impact to rights, not necessarily for an in-depth review of the entire IA. I also believe that long-term partnerships with knowledge holders would be more useful than sporadic and time-sensitive requests for information.
Kirsten Ketilson over 1 year ago
I am supportive of decision-making authority for Indigenous Peoples that is consistent with Canada's constitution and legal framework. I am concerned that the process outlined in the Report goes beyond that framework, and that the IA process would bear an undue burden in achieving reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I think that there needs to be effective cooperation between proponents and Indigenous Peoples, both in assessing impacts to asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights and in incorporating traditional or Indigenous Knowledge into the IA process - I don't think this should be completed solely by Indigenous Groups. I don't see how any federal IA authority could both complete the duty to consult and then assess its adequacy - I think that creates a significant conflict of interest in the authority. I would support the continued delegation of certain procedural aspects of the duty to consult to proponents by the federal IA authority. I am concerned that a proponent who has a robust and well-funded program and is committed to capacity building with Indigenous groups would be unduly burdened by the requirement to support additional capacity building and involvement that is the responsibility of the government. I also think that Indigenous knowledge should be treated similarly to other studies in the IA process.
Jeff Pryznyk over 1 year ago
Having impacted groups assess the impact themselves is akin to having the fox run the henhouse. Independent assessment is necessary.
Ron Pask over 1 year ago
Get rid of the Native Ghettos. This land needs to be subdivided into 10 acre parcels and let each native choose a parcel to live on. They should pay tax like everyone else. Their land should be expropriated when necessary for important development.
Rebecca Peters over 1 year ago
Assessment of impacts to asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights should be cooperatively undertaken by the proponent and the affected groups. Decision-making authority by Indigenous Peoples in this process needs to be consistent with Canada's constitution and legal framework. Indigenous knowledge should be considered no differently than other studies or data used in the IA process.
JMD over 1 year ago
Do not support that the assessment of impacts be undertaken solely by the impacted group. Impacted groups, especially if there are indigenous considerations, need to be involved certainly but there should be other parties involved in these assessments as well. Information from all groups needs to be considered with all information assessed on its relative merits.
Mark Winfield over 1 year ago
I strongly support the panel's approach to addressing of the rights, interests and knowledge of indigenous peoples in the federal environmental assessment process. The references to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is particularly important in this context.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment over 1 year ago
Indigenous peoples speak for all of us. The scientific evidence that discerns, amplifies and disseminates the notion that we are incapable of functioning adequately or in a healthy manner without a close and sustained contact with the elements of the natural world grows stronger on an almost daily basis. Indigenous people are there to remind us of this salient reality. Rather than marginalizing them, as we have so routinely done in the past, it would seem more appropriate to have them play a central role in determining the basic thrust of IAs.
Robert Huck over 1 year ago
While I recognize the rights of indigenous people to be consulted throughout the impact-assessment process, indigenous groups should not be able to have sole determination of the impacts to their aboriginal or treaty rights. This should be worked out together by the proponent and the affected communities.Support for stakeholder engagement should be undertaken by the proponent during the consultation process. However, the proponent should not be on the hook for additional funding for longer-term capacity development.Traditional knowledge has its uses and is considered to be of value traditional land users. It should not be treated different from other studies used in the assessment with respect to privacy and confidentiality.
Les Hicks over 1 year ago
This is an important area and the proposals seem to address the concerns expressed about indigenous considerations.
Jule Asterisk over 1 year ago
Indigenous Nations have said that they need Free Prior and Informed Consent, part of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was ratified by Canada last year. This important detail needs to be formalized and accepted by the Government of Canada, and all the provinces and territories in Canada.
Jule Asterisk over 1 year ago
As Indigenous Nations in Canada were successful caretakers of this great land for many thousands of years, we need to learn from Traditional Knowledge holders about how to adapt the crucial principles that were so successful. Cumulative impacts in Canada over the past 100 years have really affected both our environment and Treaty rights. The idea that we can continue to grow ever larger has been dis-proven - we can only grow smarter, or more efficient. We are not in a sustainable situation when habitat fragmentation increases every year, pollution increases every year, and the status quo calls for more of the same. We are at an important place in our history, and we need everyone around the same table, we need open data and open science, we need thought diversity, the creativity of Youth, the wisdom of Elders; we need everyone on board together to take us into our sustainable future.
Kathleen Hennig over 1 year ago
I believe that it is in the interest of all Canadians that the rights and consent of Indigenous people must be granted before developments can take place on their land/territories.
Art Jackson over 1 year ago
Removed by moderator.
Art Jackson over 1 year ago
I agree with the general vision as stated...please use the 7 generations rule and look at ALL life forms that need a clean, healthy, sustainable environment.. Do NOT let Industry dictate...they are only there for profit at the expense of life forms that have no voice...Government MUST speak up for all those with no voice...the winged ones, the 4 legged ones, the finned ones....look to a moral and healthy future for all our sakes.
Peter over 1 year ago
Legally consultation is not triggered until the Crown sends a letter referencing the proponent’s information sharing package in addition to stating currently known aboriginal interests and past identified concerns and accommodations. The legal document will clearly communicate the role of the proponent, Bands, Crown, and must give timelines. Proponents should focus on the relationship, while holding the Crown and Bands accountable to preparing a strength of claim assessment. It is well known that different industries have different standards on recommended length of consultation and different consultation intensities. This needs to be standardized with guidelines on how much consultation is required based on strength of claim. Information on strength of claim needs to be put on the table up front and be transparent. Not until this legal agreement is reached does any proponent have the right to do any consultation. FN consultation has been legally disputed for decades and it is important to get a clearly defined role before starting any IBA. If an IBA is completed it should be made public, which may even be a requirement of the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA). The Crown needs to take a more active roll in IBA's as it often sets precedence (IBA's for Site C). Standard IBA's will lessen the burden on developers and FN and reduce legal costs as well as give greater certainty to all. The practice of not disclosing strength of claim or keeping IBA's confidential only helps lawyers and may even be illegal (ESTMA).
Canadian Chamber of Commerce over 1 year ago
As an advanced economy, the stability and predictability of our laws and regulations—while respecting the rights of citizens and the environment—is a competitive advantage to our businesses and prospective foreign investors. A glaring exception is the opaque approach of the Crown to the execution of its duty to consult and accommodate. This is unacceptable. It is unfair and harmful to all concerned: business, Indigenous peoples and the Crown itself. Unless addressed, our competitors will dismiss us and get what they need elsewhere leaving the businesses, Indigenous communities who have invested in and/or would benefit from their projects and all Canadians behind. The Canadian Chamber agrees with the Expert Panel Recommendation that “the fulfilment of this duty must occur under a collaborative framework developed in partnership with impacted Indigenous Groups”. We recommend this framework be flexible enough to recognizes the different approaches to engagement, consultation and accommodation in each community, but that it provides consistent and clear definitions and requirements around: • The aspect of the project that triggers the duty to consult and accommodate. • If the Crown will delegate all or some aspects of the consultation/accommodation, which ones and when.• The Indigenous peoples affected and their rights (established and/or potential).• The level of consultation required and how it should be undertaken.• What information the Crown will provide to businesses and Indigenous communities.• What resources/capacity are required by the Indigenous communities and who is responsible for providing them and bearing any costs involved.• The Crown’s involvement, including: Primary contact person/resource; whether it will facilitate pre-consultation engagement between the proponent(s) and the affected Indigenous communities; whether it will provide advice or direction only; whether it will be “on the ground” in the Indigenous community with the proponent, on its own or not at all.• Expectations of the affected Indigenous community(ies).• Timelines (for proponents, Indigenous communities and the Crown).• How the Crown will monitor the consultation and accommodation negotiations between proponents and Indigenous communities to measure whether each met the expectations of them and met their commitments.The Canadian Chamber agrees with the Expert Panel recommendation on funding programs to support indigenous participation and capacity development in the IA process. Business has a role in this respect, but requirements on individual businesses must be relative to the size of the business and the requirements of the consultation. We recommend an ambitious approach to defining of Indigenous capacity building that includes such options as:• Tools to help Indigenous communities develop their own consultation guidelines for proponents based on their histories, rights and lands.• Organizing, in cooperation with other levels of government, regional conferences, workshops, etc. for Indigenous communities to share their expertise, best practices, etc.• Seeking the views of business and Indigenous representatives on a proponent-financed, arm’s-length fund that would be available for Indigenous communities to hire the capacity they do not have and on what it could/could not be used for, etc.• Working with the provinces/territories to develop a list of suggested legal, environmental and other advisors to whom Indigenous representatives could turn for assistance if needed.• Assisting Indigenous communities to establish access to capital, including business loan guarantees and credit rating assistance.• Helping Indigenous communities document their resources (natural, human, financial, etc.).In addition to funding capacity building for indigenous communities, we recommend that the government more actively communicate the services available to assist proponents in obtaining background information on Indigenous peoples, their historical and current relationships with the Crown, their rights and relevant contact information.
Kate Gordanier-Smith over 1 year ago
Section 2.3 I applaud the Panel’s recommendation to uphold Indigenous rights and authority, including their consent must be obtained for a project to proceed. Living in British Columbia where our current provincial government has slashed the number of mine inspectors, forest rangers and others charged with enforcing regulations to protect the environment has led to the Mount Polley disaster, the clear cutting of precious old growth forest and the fact that, according to a U of Waterloo report, 10% of B.C.’s active and abandoned gas wells leak methane. I don’t consider this good business practice nor good stewardship of our Land for future generations, focusing as it does on short term job creation and political expediency. Typically, First Nations Peoples cherish their Land and their connection to it and they practice a precautionary approach that looks generations ahead. As well, he Supreme Court in its landmark decision granted land title to the Tsilhqot’in traditional territory here in B.C. I believe this is just the beginning of a long line of court successes for First Nations. Consulting with First Nations about a project proposal and gaining their consent is, purely economically speaking, good business.
Eager over 1 year ago
I like a lot of what has been suggested by the panel and I appreciate their great work.Centralizing Assesment and renaming as IA are both excellent steps.My major concern deals with including The indigenous engagement, consultation, consent aspect in the same department as IA supported by the same technical staff reporting to the same executive masters reporting thru the same department and minister. I have concerns that Over time this agency will develop the same issues as currently observed in the NEB. Which is to much power in one locationAlso while i agree that the IA agency be a independent quasi judicial tribunal that may not be possible if its also an agent of the crown as this might pose risks in terms of natural justice and procedural fairness. Courts even quasi judicial ones should have limited role in engagement.The solution is simple , create two agencies at similar levels with different but complementary missions.One is Impact assessment and the other an agent of the crown designed and resourced to conduct and asess crown consultation.Not the most efficient method but separation of powers is critical to democracy. In the long run this simple split Will be better in terms of avoiding the creation of an agency with to much authority
Holly over 1 year ago
Having presented myself at Hearings, I witnessed indigenous chiefs in the audience who did not know how to sign up to participate in hearings although they wanted to participate. It is crucial that the indigenous people not only have a right to present at hearings but are also assisted to ensure they can participate. They are often not online.
Joanna Bull over 1 year ago
It's very important to me that Canada implement UNDRIP to its fullest extent, including free, prior, and informed consent to developments that affect Indigenous communities. This does not mean empty consultation, but a genuine relationship of collaboration and respect between Nations, where a lack of consent could result in a halt or dramatic change to a proposed development
Subsea 7 over 1 year ago
Subsea 7 supports the reasoned position developed by Osler, Hoskin & Halcourt LLP with regard to the Panel effectively recommending an aboriginal veto to indigenous people in an affected area. This is inconsistent with Canadian law, and should be avoided. Project proponents simply would not get off the ground in such areas, even if they were in the greater good of the community, and would never likely receive sanction under this circumstance. Large projects like pipelines for example would likely have considerable obstacles to overcome. With respect to offshore projects such as those in the NL offshore area this should never be a requirement.
Colleen over 1 year ago
Absolutely vital to abide in this vision of a holistic interconnecting between nature and beings and into the future. This is the basis of our Earth and the future of the Earth and fortunately the wisdom of the Indigenous Community of all is connected must be the main consideration in all changes and working in nature. We need to base economics on the health of our nature as that is real profit for all, and for all into the future. It is long term visioning and understanding.
Nicole B over 1 year ago
Indigenous peoples have resided on this territory for over 150 000 years. In their culture there is no concept of "owning land" the land is a living thing, a relative. The land is something that you have a relationship with and obligations to. These obligations extend far beyond those in the conception of Canadian law.Given that the territory now known as Canada was taken a) because of Treaty where there was not a "meeting of the minds" and/or b) was never ceded, and/or c) was based on a co-partnership of two sovereign nations, it is important for Canada in everything it does (especially in relation to the land/environment) to acknowledge, recognize and respect Indigenous laws, Indigenous legal orders, Indigenous legal traditions and principles, and Indigenous knowledge/ways of knowing. (Western scientific always corroborates information years down the line, perhaps it is time to be open and accepting these ways?) It is well known that the energy is never created or destroyed, only transferred. We well know that our ecological ecosystems, human health, water, land, etc. are intensely interconnected and interdependent.If the Doctrine of reception is what imported English Common Law and French civil law the result of signing the treaties, and as is outlined in the Royal Proclamation, then logically/rationally/legally so too does Indigenous law hold a place in Canada, and especially in the Environmental Assessment process. Canada needs to uphold its commitments to the Indigenous peoples of this land, begin being mindful of its obligations to Indigenous people and collectivities,and do serious work to implement UNDRIP.Kate Darling's factum submitted to the SCC in the recently heard Ktunaxa case (ruling reserved) outlines an EXCELLENT description of what FPIC could look like when implemented. Seriously consider that proposal.As a non-Indigenous person, I want to live in a Canada that I can be proud of, one that is honourable, and that does not violate the rights of its First Peoples. So far, we are not that country. Let's make some changes to get there.Processes that are based on consensuses building have been perfected through Indigenous governance models over thousands of years. Now is the time to be "innovative" and give them a try!
Ms. over 1 year ago
Canada is a signatory to the UN Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That means Free, Prior and Informed Consent for any project that takes place on First Nations territory. The current Canadian government continues the policy of Empire Colonialism by ignoring FPIC to push through projects that will destroy First Nations land. Of course, it doesn't matter because the destruction and poison is not in our back yard (yet). There will never be reconciliation with First Nations in Canada until they are part of any process that determines what happens on their land.
L Daoust over 1 year ago
Indigenous teaching's and wisdom regarding our interconnection and interdependence to our natural world need to be embraced and honoured. Through these teachings we shall find our way forward to less destructive ways.
Jacqueline Steffen over 1 year ago
I fully support Canada's obligations towards Indigenous peoples. Many Indigenous communities have suffered in extremely unhealthy conditions because of poor regulations and practices of mining, oil and gas industries. The Panel's recommendations does not extend far enough. Only a few hundred out of thousands of federally-regulated activities would be assessed for their potential implications on sustainability. The government needs to ensure ALL projects and activities will be assessed.
Rylan Zimny over 1 year ago
Holism is the flow of energies (water cycle, movement of carbon, effects of solar energy through life systems) which support all human life and otherwise on this planet. We have already destroyed so much of the complicated internetworks of life that keep us and our environment healthy. The indigenous peoples' recognition of holism should be weaved into the EA decision making process. Their spiritual belief system is also protected by the laws of this land, as are countless other belief systems. The disruptions of the natural systems, as well as their spiritual belief systems should be allowed "VETO" power to all decision making processes in order to protect their rights, and the environment that all life is bound to. Anything less that that would be marginalizing their peoples, discriminatory, and in the face of what we now know about the environment, foolish.
David Inwood over 1 year ago
I strongly agree that indigenous people need to be consulted much more meaningfully than they have been in the past. Historically, efforts to include indigenous communities in planning processes have not gone nearly far enough, and those communities have suffered from the consequences of pollution as a result. A shift toward collaborative consent sounds like a good move to me.
Michael Herauf over 1 year ago
As a non indigenous Canadian citizen I recognize that historically, on numerous occasions to say the least, the Canadian government has not honoured its obligations toward Canada's first nations peoples and their lands. As such, any further laws in this nation must be drawn in a manner which respects the legal rights of the first nations peoples of Canada as detailed in previous agreements struck between their representatives and the Government of Canada.
John Bergenske, Wildsight over 1 year ago
The panel recommendations in line with UNDRIP are crucial to the credibility of the process. There should be no backtracking on the recommendations. Canada has a moral obligation to fully engage indigenous people at all stages of the assessment process, including decision making.
Lynda Gagne over 1 year ago
I support upholding our obligations to Indigenous People and the Expert Panel's recommendations.
Laurie~ over 1 year ago
Thank you for making your recommendations on upholding Indigenous rights and authority.This just makes so much sense in so many ways. Please don't let lobbying from big business weaken your resolve on this issue.
earthward over 1 year ago
Indigenous People are planet protectors. We need to learn from them.
Oliver Hockenhull over 1 year ago
This is absolutely necessary and correct. The holistic approach is not only the only sane approach — back up by the latest science of networks (see the work of the brilliant Albert-laszlo Barabasi) but also the way of the Indigenous Peoples. We should not give lip service to this but listen closely and FOLLOW their lead on such matters.
Doug Allan over 1 year ago
My support is for indigenous people and I think we as Canadians should uphold our obligations towards them.
Brad Jones over 1 year ago
I agree!
Dennis over 1 year ago
As a Canadian, I hope that we can all work together to find solutions. Indigenous Canadians have a unique perspective and a very important one for us to listen to. Working together we should be able to protect our environment, have enough jobs for all and a better understanding of what makes our country so unique to each of us.
Andrew Duthie over 1 year ago
IBAs are a critical component of meeting project social and economic (sustainability criteria) objectives and transparency related to their details, implementation and success in achieving their social and economic goals are essential to understanding the overall sustainability of a project.
Author Commented Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency over 1 year ago
Thanks for all your comments. Keep them coming!
Dr. Monique Dube over 1 year ago
The panel has captured the essence of Indigenous considerations - the key is understanding how to implement on the ground. Recognizing the uniqueness of every connection, successful case studies, pilots or demonstrations to generate a best practice or guidance document to assist practitioners might be a helpful. In my experience it has not so much been a lack of willingness but more a lack of understanding on the "how".
The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada over 1 year ago
The members of our Association understand the constitutionally protected rights of indigenous people. Many of our companies have established successful commercial and community relationships with indigenous communities. The Panel Report recommends essentially a veto be given to indigenous groups over projects requiring a federal review in circumstances where a review panel finds that to be reasonable. This is not consistent with Canadian law as it exists today. It would be an abdication by duly elected governments of their responsibility to take decisions in the overall public interest and would be a very serious deterrent to investors and project proponents.
Ole Hendrickson over 1 year ago
The Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area (CCRCA) are pleased that the Panel clearly heard our concerns in our submission about the proposed million-cubic-meter radioactive waste dump (“Near Surface Disposal Facility”) at the Chalk River Laboratories.An excellent Panel recommendation is “that Indigenous Groups and local communities be involved in the independent oversight of monitoring and follow-up programs.” This will be particularly important for future efforts to improve the management of Canada’s nuclear wastes.CCRCA believes that radioactive wastes must remain isolated from the environment and major water bodies such as the Ottawa River, and that waste facilities should allow for retrieval if problems arise.
Ivan Touko over 1 year ago
As stated by the panel, the effects of Impact Assessment (IA) on indigenous rights and interests have often been overlooked so it was quite interesting to see that the panel even included such a perspective in their report and made many recommendations regarding indigenous considerations into the IAs. Though I do approve of most recommendations - such as (but not limited) to the implications of indigenous in decision-making at all stages of IA, development of special funding program that provides adequate support to indigenous groups, the integration of indigenous knowledge in all IA phases - some concerns were raised. First, the recommendations are not clear on how much indigenous people and knowledge will be integrated into all the phases of IA, is it logistically feasible as IAs are already very long and rigorous processes? Can we really integrate indigenous knowledge in all aspects, knowing that these are concepts are little to not known by the government and the public? The panel also mention reflecting UNDRIP principles in IA, but the latter doesn’t really have any legal grounds in Canada, therefore these principles are likely to be breach during an IA and don’t constitute a strong regulation to better IAs.
Mark Wittrup over 1 year ago
Indigenous participation is important, there is no doubt about that. To date the federal government has been largely absent from the equation requiring proponents to seek their own relationship and/or deals with Indigenous groups. This has had some great successes and some great failures. Now the federal government wants to get involved through this process and they want to involve Indigenous groups in the IA process. Fine, but if the Expert Panel's goals of fairness and timeliness within the sustainability goals are to be achieved then there will have to be an expectation on delivery and turnaround time for Indigenous groups in the IA process in return for the recommended long term funding. Otherwise, there will be more process with the possibility the government has removed the ability for proponents to make their own deals. Conversely, it could end up as a formalized mechanism for Indigenous groups to hold projects to ransom. The devil, as always, will be in the details.
Cassandra over 1 year ago
In Section 2.3 Indigenous Considerations, I agree with the recommendations but I have a few concerns. It is proposed that Indigenous Peoples be included in all IA phases including the assessment of impacts to their rights and interests, have specific funding programs established for capacity development and have Indigenous Knowledge integrated into the IA process. All these recommendations cover first Nations’ concerns about the assessment including poor/limited funding, discounting of Indigenous Knowledge and lack of a voice in the proceedings. However, there is no indication of the degree of involvement that the Indigenous Peoples will have nor how much the Indigenous Knowledge will be incorporated in the process. In addition, involvement seems to be based on the principles of UNDRIP which has no legal or political power in Canada. I also disagree with the panel’s non recommendation regarding Impact Benefit Agreements because the number of agreements is dependent on whether the IA process ends up following the panel’s recommendations. These statements, although well-meaning, are too broad and need to be more detailed.
Felysia over 1 year ago
I believe that the Panel has considered the Indigenous Peoples rights under UNDRIP within the recommendations. I agree this is a great step to reconciliation and mended relationships across our country. Including and hearing Indigenous knowledge is a significant step for the industries and government in Canada and how IAs are conducted and determined. However, because we as a nation continually grow, there may continue to be discrepancies when it comes to industry development and impacts to the Indigenous Peoples rights. Unfortunately, the constant industry development will require compromise from both sides. I believe there will be more forced compromise from the Indigenous Peoples side than from the federal government and industry’s side. I agree with the Panel's decision to include giving the Indigenous Peoples their right to be involved in the decision making from UNDRIP in the recommendations. This is essential because this right acknowledges and allows the Indigenous Peoples to participate and have influence over the decisions about the IAs.
Arynn over 1 year ago
Through the context of reconciliation I fully support increasing Indigenous considerations and the recommendations that are proposed. For far too long Environmental Assessments have neglected to include Indigenous rights, which created tensions propelled by mistrust. However, repairing the relationship between IA and Indigenous People is not something that can be achieved immediately, especially when continually challenged by intergenerational trauma that has resulted from a history of oppression and racism. Ideally, Indigenous participation should be “in accordance with their own laws and customs”, but ensuring this opportunity is utilized will prove difficult when Indigenous people usually have limited resources to commit to a process that is not trusted. Therefore, I agree with the Panels proposal to provide financial support to increase meaningful engagement and the many other recommendations, so that there is ample opportunity for the public to have a platform to impact change and directly voice concerns and needed considerations.
Abigayle over 1 year ago
It is important for the Indigenous communities to be considered in the IA process, and to actively include them throughout the process. In the past, Indigenous communities could comment on projects but their concerns were not always considered and some projects were instead deemed beneficial to the rest of the population even if they negatively impacted the Indigenous people. Therefore, if they are included in the IA process they should have some voice in whether projects should be approved, and if they reject projects this opinion should be strongly considered. By including them in the whole process more trust between Indigenous people and the IA would exist unlike in CEAA 2012 where there was a lack of Indigenous knowledge. I agree that a funding program would strongly increase the amount of support for Indigenous people and would help ensure UNDRIP standards are met. However, I think it should also be considered to have Indigenous groups collectively write some of the potential impacts instead of just spending more money. Often their concerns may be miss interpreted by non-indigenous people who do not understand the cultural significance of their concerns. By including them in the writing process, this would also show respect.
Shelby Feniak over 1 year ago
It appears that the effort to connect indigenous communities with other levels of government in the IA process falls short mainly due to a lack of funding and understanding. This indicates that there needs to be more federal involvement with Indigenous Peoples. This will increase both the federal governments understanding of the needs of Indigenous People as well as indigenous understanding of the IA process and more specifically, the science behind it. I agree with the Panel in that funding programs need to be enhanced. I however do not agree with the lack of recommendations regarding IBAs. Indigenous Peoples should benefit economically from resource development but this should be done with full knowledge of potential environmental impacts, meaning the agreements should be made after the environmental assessment is completed, not before. If the recommendations made throughout this report are accepted and Indigenous Peoples have more direct involvement with IAs, there should be an alternative method of economic benefit so that they do not make agreements with proponents without full knowledge of the impacts. Perhaps this alternative to IBAs should have some level of government involvement.
Jennifer Weeks over 1 year ago
The panel wants Indigenous opinion and approval to be an integrated part of the Impact Assessment Process. However, in section 2.3.1 it is stated “while Indigenous Peoples have the right to say no [to projects], the Panel believes this right must be exercised reasonably.” This conflicts with the goal of integrating indigenous people into the process. If the project is not wanted to be located on treaty land than the Panel must have excellent reasoning behind their decision to go through with it. Otherwise, Indigenous Peoples are still going to feel that their opinions do not matter. ‘Reasonably’ is also not defined when it should be. It is left up to debate by both parties. For example, Indigenous people do not want a project developed due to the environmental impact and infringement on their land, but the Federal Panel wants the project to go through because it benefits the economy. The Panel will have to provide education about projects in order to reach a consensual decision, otherwise projects are going to constantly be opposed and Indigenous opinion disregarded.
Amber Longacre over 1 year ago
I think this was an interesting concept to include in the proposal of the IA process. I believe indigenous peoples offer considerations that science based knowledge can lack, an appreciate and spiritual tie to the land. The integration of Indigenous knowledge allows for other sources of information to be considered rather than focusing solely on scientific data. Creating a pro-active relationship with indigenous communities will allow IA practices to strengthen ties to the diverse communities in the region. The discussion of integrating science, indigenous knowledge and community knowledge will help to accomplish evidence based assessment in aspects of environment, health, social, cultural and economic pillars. The shift to incorporating an entire picture of impacts rather than just environmental impacts shows the evolving assessment practices to encompass all impacts in one assessment. Considering a fresh viewpoint is one step closer to perfecting our assessment processes.
Rachael Melenka over 1 year ago
I agree that Indigenous Groups should have improved communication and decision-making influence in the IA, especially if the project impacts their rights, traditions, and livelihood. Incorporating the UNDRIP is a great solution to make sure the rights stated in it are followed and accepted by jurisdictions through the IA process.However, I believe that it should be stated when in the IA process the Indigenous Groups have to power to influence decision-making. The opportunities for public participation and influence are restricted to certain stages in the IA process, so the Indigenous groups should have the same set of guidelines. An exception can be made, and should be stated in the IA that the Indigenous groups can voice concerns and influence decision-making if their rights as stated in the UNDRIP are impacted by the project.
Jennifer Buss over 1 year ago
The focus on increasing Indigenous participation in the IA process is important and needed. Furthermore, the Aboriginal rights laid out in UNDRIP goes above and beyond methods used in IA’s before, which is just what this process needs to properly co-operate with Aboriginal jurisdictions. However, the idea that consultation and accommodation can lead to reconciliation is misguided because merely consulting with Aboriginal groups about developments that will directly affect them and their lives is not enough. Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples should be approached with more partners in the IA process. The power given to Aboriginal groups through free prior and informed consent (FPIC) seems superficial, especially when considering the sentence “the Panel believes this right must be exercised reasonably.” Realistically, every Indigenous person should not be able to veto a project, but there has to be some sort of power on their part as a group of stakeholders, who will be the most impacted by a project in their area. Also, public participation is expensive and takes time, as mentioned, so you can’t just make promises to consult and accommodate without the budget for it.
JD over 1 year ago
The Panel's inclusion of UNDRIP and its FPIC principle, including the right to withhold consent is inconsistent with Canadian law, which is that Aboriginal groups do not have a veto over project development. Aboriginal groups should not have the power to veto projects that are in the overall public interest of Canada. If they did, nothing would get built in this country.
KendraR over 1 year ago
In any environmental assessment process, the federal government always seems to run into issues when creating partnerships with the Indigenous peoples. I agree with some of their recommendations, particularly being more aware of their culture, history and connection to the land. I also agree that it is crucial to have the crown held accountable for proper funding, resource development and environmental issues. However, to create these relationships based on knowledge and accountability, their should be an even playing field for both parties. For example, the IBA should not be resource-based. If it is between resource-revenue sharing and Indigenous peoples, it would be likely that concerns from the Indigenous peoples and the understanding of their knowledge would not be heard by industry proponents. I think that the IBA is beneficial if their is an agreement among parties that resource development creates more positive impacts than negative impacts to indigenous peoples, and considers social impacts rather than just revenue-seeking developments.
Erin over 1 year ago
I think that this is certainly a step forward because in the past there has been no consideration of or minimal involvement of the Indigenous people. I think the framework being developed is a good first step but it will be essential to provide support and allow them to have access to educational resources. I think this will allow their values and opinions to be more heard and can provide great knowledge to the government because typically in the past projects have taken over their concerns and beliefs. Indigenous groups across the country lack trust in the EA process and the only way this can be built up is not only through giving them money, but re-building the trust with improved EA processes. I think having a designated agent of the Crown to collaborate and consult with Indigenous groups is a good idea but I just think the process will take time and patience to work on re-gaining the trust of a group that that has been so overshadowed in the past.
Laura Hjartarson over 1 year ago
The use of Indigenous knowledge has been neglected in the environmental assessment process. The reliance on western-science with little to no consideration of the vast knowledge of Indigenous people has led to failed management of many lands. Including Indigenous people and their knowledge in the assessment process should be a priority. I agree there should be more attempts to help Indigenous people engage in this process through the use of communication aids and funding (ex. for transport). I think it is important that we consider putting into place legislation to require Indigenous knowledge to be integrated into all phases of the impact assessment. This will help proponents to not simply view the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge as a box to check off as a means of validation, but essential to the whole process.
Victoria Masquillier over 1 year ago
It is good to see the consideration that is being taken regarding the involvement of First Nations people in the full process, including decision making, rather than just being consulted and having no power over the outcome. It is also good that there is a framework being developed to ensure that the information is being used properly and respectfully. However, while the informed consent of Indigenous Peoples to a project is something that is highlighted as a goal, there is little information on how that will be achieved other than by providing funding. Funding would possibly be used more efficiently if there was support or educational resources that could be accessed directly, rather than having to develop solutions to address difficulties in informing communities with each new project.
Jamie Card over 1 year ago
I agree with this section fully but I feel as though the panel should address that traditional ecological knowledge should be included in Impact Assessments so that it is not altered or defined by western science terminology. There are numerous case studies that highlight situations where traditional ecological knowledge provided information that western science was unable to which shows how useful it is when utilized correctly, however it can be damaging when an attempt is made to define it in familiar western science terms. Western science does not recognize many of the terms that are essential to Indigenous knowledge such as holistic and spiritual characteristics. The danger in this is an over simplification of Indigenous knowledge that dilutes the legitimacy of it as it stands on its own. Additionally, I strongly agree with the Panel’s section on protecting Indigenous knowledge from its unauthorized use, disclosure or release. This is crucial because often Indigenous knowledge discloses the location of culturally or spiritually significant land that should not be included in the federal government database that the Panel recommends should house all baseline data collected for the Impact Assessments.
Glen Schmidt, Laricina Energy over 1 year ago
The connection to our land is common for all Canadians. The inclusion of the additional duty to consult to respect indigenous participation is important. The panel needs to investigate, acknowledge and understand what is working well and where there are gaps close them.Alberta has developed the ACO as an additional agency developed to insure consultation is meaningful and complete. It can serve as a model for other areas where this expertise and structure do not yet exist.
Bradley Wong over 1 year ago
The integration of UNDRIP is a positive sign as it allow for the indigenous people to feel involved with the creation of an IA. This allows for their opinions and knowledge to be used as well as reducing conflict between them and government. I agree that we should focus on increasing our relationship with the indigenous communities through increased participation. However by providing funding to create programs may be problematic because each group has their own needs. Does this mean that there would be a homogeneous fund, or would it be giving groups varying amounts, and if so, how do you determine how much is given? Without further information the idea of giving money may not be the best solution. I also like how there is an attempt to integrate in indigenous knowledge, but by limiting it through disclosure may reduce the value of it. This is because if we are unable to access the data through traditional means, how are we able to prove the fidelity of the information? I understand that we may misuse the information, however if we are unable to access it, but are required to have it involved then it may cause issues later on.
B. Yakimets over 1 year ago
It is good you are going for consultation, and inclusion. People need to be included not just because of they are impacted, and because of the value of their knowledge, but because of their inherent right as individuals, particularly when they have a history with the land. It’s good to integrate and include traditional knowledge, and it’s good that you seem to be attempting a holistic view of it. As well, from what I understand, all parts of indigenous culture are intertwined, such as values, morals, and practices. Western culture likes to separate things, so making sure to not fall into that trap will be vital. One thing I couldn’t seem to find in capacity was language, as well. Integration shouldn’t be limited to English speakers, or those with familiarity in western institutions. Putting an inclusion in for language, and proper communication and understanding should be mentioned.
Amelia Tobin over 1 year ago
The Indigenous people of Canada always seem to be overruled by the Government when it comes to projects affecting the environment. No matter their reasoning for not wanting a project it appears to go ahead anyway. Perhaps the lack of participation is due to the lack of understanding, so shouldn’t the language used be made simpler- projects do not only affect professionals trained in environmental science or law. It is a good idea to include Indigenous knowledge, people who live with the land year round must have a better idea of what may be affected, and how, than a team of scientists who come a few days a year to do some sampling or observation of the area. Indigenous people having the option to adapt the IA process is a really positive development but also they should be reasonable in their rejections and have valid reasons for halting a project.
Nicholas Brown over 1 year ago
Speaking specifically to section 2.3.5, Impact Benefit Agreements, the decision of the Panel to neglect to make a recommendation on Impact Benefit Agreements is in error. These agreements, while not by any means perfect in how they approach the complex situation of Indigenous compensation, certainly have their place. It would be wise moving forward to bear this in mind, while making a recommendation that these agreements be modified in some form to allow for government to interact with both parties here in the interests of providing FPIC rather than simple economic compensation. To neglect these agreements on the whole further marginalizes the role that Indigenous people will play in the future of IA, and disallows them to obtain valuable information on the pros and cons of a project in certain situations, which may impact their future livelihoods. To continue to allow the focus to remain on economic compensation in these scenarios does a disservice to the process, and neglecting to provide comprehensive information prior to consent damages the credibility of both the proponent and the government. For this reason, it is pertinent that a recommendation is made in some form regarding IBAs, rather than abstaining entirely.
Ben Bradshaw, Professor, University of Guelph over 1 year ago
This may seem trivial, but IBAs are better recognized as 'Impact and Benefit Agreements' rather than 'Impact Benefit Agreements' as identified in the Expert Panel report. The latter too easily leads one to think that they serve to deliver benefits to Indigenous communities to compensate for various project impacts (and thereby get the community back to a pre-project baseline); this view is affirmed where the expert panel speaks of IBAs as a vehicle for providing compensation. In contrast, the term ‘Impact and Benefit Agreement’ better reflects their dual role: they serve to (further) mitigate project impacts beyond the requirements of EA; and they serve to deliver benefits to Indigenous communities to promote gains beyond a pre-project baseline. Given that this box is (surprisingly) not limiting my characters, I will expand on each of these distinct aims.Before an Indigenous community will support and enable a mine development, it must reach an agreement with the developer (an Impact Agreement) on how the impacts of mine construction and operation will be managed beyond that required through regulatory processes. This can be done through, for example, mutually agreed-upon changes in project design, enhanced impact mitigation provisions, and enabling community involvement in environmental monitoring. The establishment of an impact agreement between a mine developer and a local Indigenous community to limit, measure, and manage impacts is significant in that it serves to overcome a disconnected EA process: one process and administrative body determines the suitability of a proposed mine development; and a second process and administrative body monitors outcomes following project approval. This is problematic in itself, but made more so by the ex ante nature of EA, which requires that a binary decision (yes/no) be made based on probabilistic forecasts. The continuity created by an agreement ensures that unforeseen changes are properly identified and managed, and thereby provides more assurance to a community than does a disjointed regulatory system; this seems to hold true even with the advent of more stringent follow-up provisions in EA. Of equal importance, an Indigenous community has no reason to support and enable a mine development without coming to an agreement with the developer (a Benefit Agreement) on the delivery of benefits to locals, such as employment and training, mine business contracts, and direct financial payments. Rather than complement public regulatory systems as does the impact agreement, this second aim of an IBA makes up for these systems’ most glaring limitation: though locals inevitably experience a disproportionate share of project impacts, regulatory systems governing resource extraction do not privilege locals in terms of capturing project benefits, even where those locals hold special rights.Given these two roles, which clearly link to Crown obligations around impact management and accommodation, I was surprised to see the Expert Panel adopt a standard Crown approach by avoiding making any recommendations. For more on this topic, see the leading community guide on IBAs at http://gordonfoundation.ca/resource/iba-community-toolkit/ and a recent review of IBA knowledge at http://yukonresearch.yukoncollege.yk.ca/resda/projects/gap-analysis/gap-9/
Dianne Varga over 1 year ago
I'm heartened that environmental assessments would respect the principles of UNDRIP, including FPIC. Don't walk back on this.