Six Nations Precedent: Indigenous Jurisdiction and Pipelines in Canada

Posted by Larry Sault and Don Richardson

on Jan 29, 2017 3:20:28 PM


Six Nations of the Grand River just set a precedent for Indigenous jurisdiction and National Energy Board (NEB) regulated pipelines in Canada.  And it's a BIG ONE. The precedent will have implications for ALL Indigenous communities seeking to exercise jurisdiction through environmental and cultural heritage monitoring of currently operating oil and gas pipelines across Canada.  This will have major implications for National Energy Board pipeline projects like Energy East and for potential Aboriginal and industry partnerships for monitoring work where approvals are already in place for existing pipelines.

As we like to say, "SHIFT HAPPENS": our experience suggests that Indigenous environmental monitoring simply makes operating infrastructure projects better for all parties.  We follow pipeline regulations very closely for several Indigenous clients, and we've reported on previous precedents like the Enbridge decision on the Enbridge Gas GTA project.  In that project, our work with the Mississaugas of the New Credit set important precedents - those precedents resulted in Aboriginal environmental and cultural heritage monitors being present at one of the largest pipeline related archaeological discoveries in Ontario.


Here's the story

The NEB approved Enbridge’s Line 10 Westover Segment Replacement Project on January 26, 2017.  Line 10 was built in 1962 and is one of several Enbridge Great Lakes pipelines that crosses major Great Lakes rivers and waterways.  Line 10 crosses the Niagara River, while Enbridge Line 5 crosses the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Clair River near Sarnia. Enbridge Line 9 crosses the Thames River upstream from the Chippewas of the Thames and crosses the Grand River, and then crosses every major river on the north shore of Lake Ontario before crossing the Ottawa River. Enbridge Line 9 is subject to a major Supreme Court of Canada case brought by the Chippewas of the Thames focused on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples.

These pipeline river and waterway crossings are of great importance to Indigenous communities. The Hamilton-Niagara region is criss-crossed by more than a dozen pipelines, several of them more than a half-century old.  There are so many and, so many unknowns, that the City of Hamilton recently formed a task force to uncover answers and to assess pipeline issues that arise across the region

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Topics: Energy East, Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, Pipelines, Environmental Assessment Processes, Indigenous Environmental Monitoring

Eagle Eye: $361,500+ Available -January 2017 Funding Opportunities Scan

Posted by Don Richardson

on Jan 27, 2017 11:05:53 AM

We've always got our eyes open for shifts in policy and legislation, and the initiatives and funding opportunities that result from them.  "Eagle Eye" posts will keep you in the loop on changes we're seeing unfold across Canada and what they mean for Indigenous communities.  


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Topics: Funding, Eagle Eye

What's happening with Energy East? An update on the NEB Hearing Process 

Posted by Meaghan Langille and Don Richardson

on Jan 27, 2017 10:24:01 AM


The new Energy East panel has come out with its first ruling for the NEB review process for Energy East, and its a big one. 

All of the Panel's decisions are laid out in this newly released order with the exciting title: A81494-1 NEB Ruling No 1: How to recommence the Energy East Hearing.  We provide a summary of the ruling below:



-The panel has decided that ALL decisions made by the previous panel are now null and void; meaning the hearing process is more or less back at square one

-This ruling means that the application completeness determination, the list of participants, list of issues and the hearing order are all voided

-The new panel will be determining if Energy East and Eastern Mainline will continue to be heard as joint hearing; those wishing to comment on this specific issues have until Wednesday February 15, 2017 at 2 pm EST through the e-filing system or the participation portal


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Topics: Pipelines

Partnerships in Procurement Report: A Must Read from Mining Shared Value

Posted by Meaghan Langille

on Jan 13, 2017 12:03:18 PM

At SVS, we found Mining Shared Value's Partnerships in Procurement report to be tremendously valuable in providing a snapshot of the realities surrounding Indigenous procurement and Indigenous and industry partnerships. We are particularly excited by the recommendations (highlighted below) that the report puts forward. 

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Topics: Mining

We Stand in Solidarity with Aroland and Ginoogaming First Nations' Court Challenge vs. TransCanada Pipeline "Integrity Digs"

Posted by admin

on Jan 13, 2017 9:55:43 AM


We express our solidarity with the injunction motion launched by the Aroland and Ginoogaming First Nations against pipeline "integrity digs" in Treaty 9 territory in northwest Ontario. This precedent-setting motion against TransCanada Pipelines, Canada and the National Energy Board (NEB) aims to put an end to the continued infringement of aboriginal and treaty rights experienced for over fifty years, a goal we whole-heartedly support.  

The physical work that these First Nations are seeking to stop – at least until the duty to consult and accommodate their constitutionally-protected rights is met – is called “integrity digs.” TransCanada intends to bring in heavy equipment and dig up a lot of land and expose the buried pipeline in a 30 km stretch that runs through their traditional territories. This is the same pipeline that TransCanada, through its affiliate Energy East, is applying to convert from natural gas, to carry dilbit (crude oil) from the Alberta oil sands.  

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Topics: Pipelines

Community Cultural Values Mapping: Does it Work?

Posted by Jessica Steiner

on Jan 9, 2017 2:49:18 PM

Community Values Mapping sessions allow for more participants to be involved in Indigenous Knowledge studies and for new stories and perspectives to be brought to the table.

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Studies