Traditional Knowledge Interview Training: Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre

Posted by Jessica Steiner

on May 9, 2017 10:09:09 AM

Thanks to to the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries  Resource Centre for inviting us to facilitate Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Interview Training in North Bay, Ontario. Our team members had a great time connecting with the AOFRC staff and representatives from 12 different First Nation communities from all over Ontario. Indigenous knowledge matters, and capacity building in Aboriginal communities for traditional knowledge gathering and documenting is very important.  Check out the video below.

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Studies, training, Capcity Building

Fish, Canoes, Pipelines – Un-gutting Canadian Environmental Assessment

Posted by Don Richardson

on Jun 22, 2016 5:37:28 PM

 

The federal government announced the beginning of its review of the federal environmental assessment processes on July 20, 2016 – the day before National Aboriginal Day. The Government of Canada says it has committed to review and restore confidence in Canada’s environmental and regulatory processes and is undertaking a comprehensive review of these processes.  We provide this initial briefing note, and will follow-up with further information as we learn more.  As environmental and energy regulatory geeks, we think this is a big deal.  For many of our clients, this is a really, really big deal.

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Environmental Assessment Processes

7 Implications of New Environmental Assessment Processes for Indigenous Nations

Posted by Don Richardson and Larry Sault

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”

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships, Environmental Assessment Processes

Changes Coming to Canada’s Pipeline Review Processes

Posted by Don Richardson

on Jan 24, 2016 1:06:50 PM

According to news reports from Bloomberg and the National Observer, Canada’s federal government is preparing the specifics of “transition plans” for current pipeline proposals under review by the National Energy Board.  This process is part of a wider process to strengthen environmental assessments.  Trudeau has said he is preparing to overhaul Canada’s environmental assessment process so Canada can get “social license for developing our resources, which will allow us to get our resources to market.”

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Topics: Energy East, Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Pipelines, Environmental Assessment Processes

Eyeing the Overhaul of Canada's Environmental Assessment Process

Posted by Don Richardson and Scott Mackay

on Dec 22, 2015 3:18:04 PM

Keep your eyes on our blog for further updates as we learn more about next steps! (Photo by Molly Richardson)

 

Eyes Wide Open

 

The first steps in an overhaul of Canada’s Environmental Assessment process are “weeks, not months” away according to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.  Canada's new federal government pledges to “immediately review” the assessment process and “modernize” the National Energy Board (NEB).  As Environmental Assessment practitioners, we're eyeing this overhaul closely.  Keep your eyes on our blog for further updates as we learn more about next steps!

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Environmental Assessment Processes

Apply NOW: 6 Steps to Apply to the Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk

Posted by Trieneke Gastmeier and Don Richardson

on Dec 9, 2015 4:26:35 PM


Check Your Pocket

The Caribou has been a Canadian icon since appearing on our quarters in 1936. But the Caribou on your quarter is in trouble in many parts of Canada, especially where their forest habitat is disturbed or fragmented.  

The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) call for proposals is now open.  The program will be accepting Expressions of Interest until December 18th, 2015. The submission of an Expression of Interest is strongly encouraged, particularly for applicants who have not received AFSAR funding in the past or for those applying to a new stream.  The deadline for proposal submissions is January 15th, 2016.  Below, we provide six key steps for creating an AFSAR application.

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Topics: BEAHR Training, Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Studies, Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards

Archaeology and Indigenous Rights and Interests

Posted by Trieneke Gastmeier

on Nov 25, 2015 2:58:10 PM


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.

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Studies, Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships

Indigenous Environmental Monitoring: Why Bother?

Posted by Don Richardson and Scott Mackay

on Nov 13, 2015 10:48:53 AM

 

Caribou horns of a dilemma: put time, money and energy into developing indigenous environmental monitoring efforts

or

stick to hiring outside technical consulting firms?

Indigenous Environmental Monitoring: Why Bother?

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.

"SHIFT HAPPENS"

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.  

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Topics: BEAHR Training, Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments, Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships, Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards

Aboriginal Edge: Confrontation OR Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships

Posted by Don Richardson

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.  

Aboriginal and Industry Partnerships

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.

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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

UPDATE: Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments

Posted by Don Richardson and Scott Mackay

on Apr 27, 2015 12:11:00 PM

Magnetawan First Nation Knowledge Holders work with Shared Value Solutions' Jeremy Shute (left) on a traditional land use and occupancy study

In March, 2015, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency updated its Reference Guide: Considering Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Conducted Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).  We recently produced five very popular posts on "Traditional Knowledge Matters" on the topic of Aboriginal traditional knowledge in environmental assessments, and we're pleased to see that many of our insights on Aboriginal interests are reflected in the new Reference Guide.

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge in Environmental Assessments