on Apr 15, 2016 8:00:46 AM
on Mar 16, 2016 9:44:17 AM
on Jan 28, 2016 10:46:00 AM
Looking both ways: In this post we look at seven implications of new Canadian Environmental Assessments processes for Indigenous Nations. In a follow-up post we will look at implications for project proponents.
By Don Richardson (Shared Value Solutions Ltd.) and Larry Sault, CEO of Anwaatin - an Indigenous business working with Indigenous communities in linked climate change related Cap and Trade markets that include Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and California)
On January 27, 2016, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, and Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, announced an interim approach to restore trust in Environmental Assessment. In this post we look at seven implications of this new approach to Environmental Assessment for Indigenous Nations. In a follow-up post we will look at implications for project proponents. We’ve previously written about related topics, including: "Changes Coming to Canada’s Pipeline Review Processes", "Eyeing the Overhaul of Canada’s Environmental Assessment Process", "Indigenous Environmental Monitoring: Why Bother?", "Aboriginal Edge: Confrontation OR Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships", "Archaeology and Indigenous Rights and Interests", "More to the Picture Than Meets the Eye: Neil Young, Michael Porter, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and Unconventional Oil and Gas", and "Indigenous Knowledge in Environmental Assessments".
Borrowing a page from economist Michael Porter, whose 1991 “Porter Hypothesis” accurately predicts that good environmental regulations create efficiency and encourage innovations that help improve commercial competitiveness, the Ministers seek to
“demonstrate to Canadians and to the world that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. Protecting the environment and growing the economy are not incompatible goals; in fact, our future success demands that we do both.”
Evidence suggests that the Ministers' adoption of Porter’s ideas makes sense. The authors of a comprehensive evidence-based assessment of the Porter Hypothesis conclude that by “suggesting that better protection of the environment could lead to “win–win” solutions for the whole of society, Porter has certainly opened the minds of many people, leading to significant environmental and economic improvements”
Archaeology and Indigenous Rights: Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation community member Carolyn King (left) monitoring an archaeological assessment in the Greater Toronto Area with Shared Value Solutions Archaeologist, Trieneke Gastmeier (right, facing camera)
Who owns the past? Who should have the right (ethically or otherwise) to dig it up? These are important questions one must consider when working in the field of archaeology.
Caribou horns of a dilemma: put time, money and energy into developing indigenous environmental monitoring efforts
stick to hiring outside technical consulting firms?
When big infrastructure and resource extraction projects intersect with traditional territories, many First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities get deeply engaged in environmental assessment processes and project implementation agreements (sometimes called Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) or Long-term Relationship Agreements(LTRAs)). Negotiating comprehensive and meaningful environmental monitoring is usually a key part of these important agreements. If you are involved in such agreement discussions as a community, company or regulatory representative, at some point, you will make decisions about if, and how, to take on community-based environmental monitoring activities.
But is it worth putting all the negotiation time and effort into these arrangements between multiple parties, or is it easier to just keep on hiring outside technical consulting firms to do the monitoring work and provide the reports to management or co-management teams? Is it worth doing the hard upfront negotiation work to put in place environmental monitoring programs? Putting these together usually involves commitments of time and money for capacity building (e.g. "BEAHR" training for environmental monitors and managers), and organizational development, for indigenous participation in environmental management through environmental committees and ongoing community consultation. It can be tempting for companies to simply contract outside technical consulting firm. It can be tempting for indigenous communities to simply receive and review environmental monitoring reports that others create.
As we like to say, "SHIFT HAPPENS": our experience suggests that indigenous environmental monitoring simply makes projects better for all parties. Environmental monitoring and management programs provide communities with their own eyes, ears and boots on the ground to see for themselves if commitments and environmental enhancement projects are really working. When enviromental monitoring and management programs are well developed inside IBA or LTRA agreements, they can help detect and respond to the many environmental changes and shifts that happen within and around project life cycles that might otherwise go un- or under-detected. And indigenous peoples can be enabled to provide services on the ground that are far better tied to local needs than services provided by technical consultants, "from away", who provide monitoring services for hire.
Having indigenous monitors working for and reporting to indigenous communities can be supplemented with indigenous monitors as employees or contractors of the company who can communicate in an informed way (with whistle-blower protection) to the community about what happens day-in and day-out on the project site with respect to monitoring, protection, or event response. This benefits all parties. With more and more focus on the rights of indigenous peoples, "Free, Prior and Informed Consent" and indigenous and industry partnerships, indigenous enviornmental monitoring and management simply makes good sense - and it is here to stay.
The following list of benefits is based on recent Shared Value Solutions' experiences with First Nation environmental monitors on mining, oil and gas, power, and pipeline projects, and negotiation discussions on integrating Métis environmental monitors and Inuit environmental monitors within a variety of "follow-on" programs tied to environmental assessments, IBAs and LTRAs in Canada.
on Aug 19, 2015 2:14:00 PM
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says collaboration with Aboriginal communities is key in natural resource development.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently published a report on one of the most critical issues facing Canada's natural resources sector: engaging and involving the First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities that live near or on the land where projects operate. The report is titled Aboriginal Edge: How Aboriginal Peoples and Natural Resource Businesses Are Forging a New Competitive Advantage.
There is a strong trend toward collaborative Aboriginal and industry partnerships. It's not always easy to move collaboration forward, but the trend is real. Despite much of what we may see and hear in the media about confrontational relationships between industry and First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities, the reality behind the scenes is that there is a trend toward constructive dialogue, efforts at collaborative planning, and successful collaborations. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Report will help make it clear that constructive dialogue, collaboration and partnering is the "new normal" in Canada. We couldn't agree more.
Topics: Unconventional Oil and Gas, Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Mining, Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Studies, Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships, Aboriginal Energy Projects, Pipelines
on Jun 27, 2015 12:35:00 PM
NEW Ontario Aboriginal Procurement Program
On June 26, 2015, Ontario launched its new Aboriginal Procurement Program. The Program is designed to help Aboriginal business owners sell products and services to the Ontario government and help them secure future contracts and clients. It is based on an Aboriginal Procurement Pilot Program that was launched in 2012. The Program connects with Premier Kathleen Wynne's Ministerial Mandates, including a wide range of mandates for Aboriginal community wellbeing (see our previous post: Premier Wynne's Priorities for Ontario: Aboriginal Community Wellbeing).
The Aboriginal Procurement Program will likely foster meaningful Aboriginal and industry partnerships, especially creative aboriginal-private sector business partnerships - beyond existing programs such as those for Aboriginal energy partnerships - where companies really step up and break new ground with creative, innovative and practical Aboriginal business ventures.
on Apr 13, 2015 5:31:00 PM
$90,000 per Aboriginal Community Energy Plan Project Now Available in Ontario!
Nichole Fraser-MacDonald, Jeremy Shute and Leah Culver - Our Aboriginal Community Energy Plan bright lights - call 226-706-8888 or Toll-free - 1-866-293-9042 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
[We also provide certification training for "BEAHR" Aboriginal Environmental Monitors and Technicians!]
on Feb 28, 2015 9:55:00 AM
Got Ideas? $1.2 Billion P3 Canada Fund Available for First Nation Infrastructure
First Nation governments have challenges accessing capital for First Nation infrastructure and economic development projects, such as First Nation power projects, because reserve lands cannot normally be offered for security. One option available to First Nation governments is the P3 Canada Fund. The $1.2 Billion, P3 Canada Fund was created to improve the delivery of public infrastructure by increasing the effective use of public-private partnerships (P3s).
P3 Canada First Nations projects:
A new way forward for Aboriginal and industry partnerships.
The first P3 Canada Fund project with a First Nation is the Kokish River Hydroelectric Project - a public-private partnership between 'Namgis First Nation and Brookfield Renewable Energy (Brookfield). The hydroelectric facility is located on north-eastern Vancouver Island, about 15 kilometres east of Port McNeill, British Columbia. The First Nation includes more than 1,700 members, living primarily in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, BC. The ‘Namgis First Nation territory is located on northern Vancouver Island and the adjacent islands, centered in the Nimpkish Valley and associated watersheds.
on Feb 22, 2015 3:11:00 PM
the shape and direction of the conversation has been fundamentally shifted.