News Release Article from  Natural Resources Canada

Minister Rickford Announces New Measures to Enhance Engagement with First Nations

New initiatives support engagement in West Coast energy infrastructure development

Prince Rupert, BC
Natural Resources Canada

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, today met with First Nations leaders to discuss new ways to engage with and involve them in energy infrastructure development.

These new approaches flow from the final report of Douglas Eyford, Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure. Mr. Eyford was appointed by the Government of Canada to identify opportunities for First Nations to actively participate in developing Canada’s energy resources and protecting our environment. His final report was released in December 2013 following eight months of consultations with First Nations and organizations, provincial governments, and industry.

Collaboration is critical to helping First Nations realize the economic opportunities created by energy projects and to help enhance the protection of the environment.

Minister Rickford announced two new measures to strengthen engagement with First Nations: the creation of the Major Projects Management Office West and a tripartite forum.

The Major Projects Management Office West will serve as a single window for the Government of Canada to coordinate activities on energy infrastructure development with BC First Nations and industry in British Columbia and Alberta. A key function of this office will be to facilitate meaningful engagement and ongoing dialogue with key partners such as industry, First Nations and the Government of British Columbia and to address the unique elements of energy exports in B.C. The Office will work to better understand key issues of First Nations and identify concrete action that will help support their involvement in West Coast energy projects in areas such as employment and business opportunities, and tanker and pipeline safety systems.

The tripartite forum will provide an opportunity for the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and B.C. First Nation leaders to share information, identify common interests and align efforts on issues directly impacting Aboriginal participation in the development of energy infrastructure and natural resources on Canada’s West Coast.

Today’s announcements reinforce the Government’s commitment to working with First Nations to ensure they can participate meaningfully in the development and operation of Canada’s world-class tanker and pipeline safety systems. Having local First Nations involved in the implementation of Canada’s safety systems is important for the confidence of their communities in these systems.

The Government of Canada will continue to engage with First Nations, including through the Major Projects Management Office West and the tripartite forum, to identify specific measures that will address other recommendations in the Eyford Report and generate social and economic benefits for First Nations and all Canadians. 

Quick Facts

  • In 2012, more than 13,500 Aboriginal people worked in the Canadian energy sector.
  • According to the Public Policy Forum, over 400,000 Aboriginal youth will be entering the workforce in the next decade, creating an unprecedented opportunity to address the need for new workers in the oil and gas industry.
  • The Conference Board of Canada estimates that B.C.’s natural gas sector could attract more than $180 billion in investment between now and 2035 and Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples have a major role to play in this development.
  • The Government’s plan for Responsible Resource Development is enhancing Aboriginal consultation for proposed projects by ensuring that there is early consideration of the potential impacts to Aboriginal Peoples of natural resource development.

Quotes

“Our government is committed to continue working in partnership with First Nations to strengthen their engagement in energy projects, with training for employment and business opportunities, and with a role in assessing and managing environmental safety of projects. Today we are taking concrete steps as part of our ongoing commitment to meaningful and sustained engagement with First Nations in responding to the report of the Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure.”

Greg Rickford
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

“In B.C., we have an abundance of natural resources and significant economic potential. To ensure all British Columbians benefit from this potential, we need to work collaboratively with our First Nations partners and ensure they are able to participate in economic development. Canada’s intentions regarding their Major Projects Office and the tripartite forum are consistent with B.C.’s approach to working with First Nations.”

John Rustad
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation for British Columbia

"Today's announcement by Minister Rickford is an important step forward in strengthening the relationship between the federal government and First Nations, including the Coast Tsimshian, on energy projects. Members of our community want to ensure projects are safe for the environment, our marine resources, and generate business opportunities and jobs for our members, as we have done successfully on initiatives like the Road-Rail Utility Corridor Project."  

Mayor Garry Reece
Lax Kw'alaams First Nation

"We are pleased to see the federal government recognizes the importance of working with First Nations on issues related to energy infrastructure. The Coast Tsimshian are proud of its record as business partner on the Road-Rail Utility Corridor Project. Most of the workers on the construction site are from the region and about one half are from local First Nations communities. They are bringing the project in on schedule while gaining valuable work experience."

Chief Harold Leighton
Metlakatla First Nation 

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Alexandra Lemieux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources and
Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
613-996-2007

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Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
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