Engagement with Indigenous peoples
Issue: Engagement with Indigenous peoples
We know that Indigenous peoples have a long relationship and connection with the land, water, and resources that could be impacted by a project that is regulated by the National Energy Board (NEB or Board).
When we consider a project application, input by Indigenous peoples can help provide relevant biophysical and cultural information, identify potential environmental and socio-economic effects and strengthen mitigation measures. All of this leads to better decisions.
The Crown relies on the NEB process including NEB-mandated proponent consultation, to the extent possible to meet its obligation to consult Indigenous peoples.
The NEB expects companies to consult with potentially impacted Indigenous groups early in the project planning and design phases. It’s also expected that a company has provided information about the project to those with interests in the project area.
The NEB proactively contacts Indigenous groups who may be impacted by a proposed project that requires a public hearing. We will offer to meet with Indigenous groups to explain our regulatory process and how to participate in it and provide information on our Participant Funding Program.
Indigenous groups may participate directly in the NEB hearing process in several ways. The participation options are described in the National Energy Board hearing process handbook and in the hearing order for the project. We have process advisors who, as part of their role, support Indigenous groups participating in public hearings.
We may integrate ceremonies or other traditional practices into a hearing process if Indigenous participants ask. For example, pipe ceremonies have been used to affirm evidence provided by Elders. We consider suggestions from all hearing participants in choosing hearing location and timing, to make the hearing as accessible as possible.
We also understand that Indigenous peoples have an oral tradition for sharing stories, lessons, and knowledge from generation to generation, and this information can’t always be shared adequately in writing. Where appropriate, Elders and other community members may give their traditional evidence orally at a hearing.
Involvement of Indigenous peoples in a pipeline project continues through its lifecycle. The Board expects that companies continue to build relationships with Indigenous groups along the route of their projects, keep them informed of activities related to their facilities and address any concerns that may arise. In addition, the NEB encourages companies to provide benefits to Indigenous groups that may be impacted by their projects. This could include contracting, training or business opportunities.
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