Alberta’s First Nation Consultation Policy
(2013): Key Policy Shifts

Dennis Bell
October 22, 2013
Edmonton, AB
Aboriginal...
Demographics – Aboriginal Population
Aboriginal
•3rd largest Aboriginal population in Canada
•6.2% of Alberta’s population...
Alberta Context
•

Has been in the strongest period of growth ever recorded
for any Canadian province

•

230,000 + active...
Alberta’s Aboriginal Peoples

169,355 people of First Nations ancestry live
in Alberta, with over 60% living off-reserve.
...
New First Nations Consultation Policy
•Alberta’s new First Nations Consultation Policy (August
16, 2013) and supporting le...
Policy Shift: Stronger Crown Role
(Aboriginal Consultation Office)
– Greater Crown role - Alberta will consolidate respons...
The Consultation Office Continued
• The Office will manage all aspects of the consultation process
including;
- Policy dev...
Policy Shift: Consultation Process Matrix
– The draft Corporate Guidelines contain a draft Consultation
Process Matrix pro...
Policy Shift: Enhanced Capacity Funding
– Increased capacity funding. The Aboriginal Consultation
Levy Act (May 2013) allo...
Policy Shift: Greater Transparency
– Levy system and structure will not prohibit private First
Nations-proponent agreement...
Policy Shift: Consultation Process
Agreements
– Option for Alberta and any First Nation to develop a Nationspecific consul...
Policy Implementation Engagement Plan
• Engagement sessions with First Nations representatives and
industry participants o...
Next Steps
• New Policy will not take effect until the Consultation Office is
operational, likely November 2013.
• The Con...
For Further Information
Dennis Bell, Senior Advisor, Regulatory Issues
Aboriginal Consultation Unit
Alberta Aboriginal Rel...
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Dennis Bell - Aboriginal Consultation and Engagement in Alberta

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In this video, Dennis Bell, Senior Advisor, Regulatory Issues & Aboriginal Relations for the Government of Alberta talks about Aboriginal Consultation and Engagement in Alberta. His talk is titled, "Common Ground: A New Approach to Consultation in Alberta" and in it he talks about the Aboriginal Consultation Levy Act, proposed regulations under the Act, the new Aboriginal Consultation Policy and innovative changes at the Consultation Office in Aboriginal Relations.

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  • The new Policy strengthens and provides a more inclusive, integrated Crown role through the creation of an Aboriginal Consultation Office and establishes a working and coordinated relationship with the new Alberta Energy Regulator.
    The Consultation Office will have the authority to conduct consultation and to direct, monitor and determine the adequacy of proponent-led consultation. It will support both First Nations industry on delegated, proponent-led consultation.
    Where Alberta is the proponent on a project or initiative that triggers its duty to consult, those government departments (eg., ESRD) having approval-granting authority would lead the consultation, with the Consultation Office supporting that Crown-led consultation and determining adequacy.
  • Throughout the Consultation Policy review process, Treaty organizations, First Nations, municipal organizations and industry associations have identified a lack of clarity and consistency in Alberta’s current cross-ministry approach to First Nations consultation as a major problem in their attempts to consult effectively.
    In response, Alberta has developed a draft Consultation Process Matrix that identifies categories of impact related to specific activities, and other related consultation expectations. The draft Matrix is a graphic illustration for identifying Alberta’s decision criteria and expected consultation timelines, and the roles for all parties in the process. It’s a strategic tool for all parties to better understand consultation expectations, more effectively manage timelines associated with consultation processes, and help lead to more clarity and consistency in government decisions where First Nations consultation has been undertaken.
    Now that the new Policy has been finalized, discussions with First Nations and industry on the draft Matrix will help lead to development of operational guidelines to support and fully implement the new Consultation Policy. Alberta anticipates operational guidelines will include additional matrices and process flow diagrams to illustrate and clarify the province’s consultation process for all-involved parties.
  • Alberta currently provides consultation capacity funding through the First Nations Consultation Capacity Investment Program, in the amount of approximately $5.6 million per year.
    First Nations and industry stakeholders advised throughout the Consultation Policy review that the amount of funding First Nations receive through the Program is inadequate to sustain meaningful First Nations’ participation in the consultation process.
    This has led First Nations to seek Furthermore, First Nations have been seeking additional funds for capacity from industry and industry has agreed to provide additional funding in some circumstances.
    To address this lack of First Nations capacity in the consultation process, Alberta is proposing to levy industry and develop a funding program to increase First Nations’ consultation capacity funding, where industry invests with Alberta and funds flow through to First Nations.
    Alberta will be responsible for the management and distribution of this funding to First Nations. Government-led consultation will continue to be funded solely by Alberta.
  • Alberta is also aware that, from time to time, industrial proponents have entered into financial or other impact benefit agreements with First Nations with respect to resource development and consultation.
    It is important to note that First Nations and industry will still be able to enter into impact benefit agreements.
    Under the new Policy, details of these agreements will be provided only to Alberta and will be publicly reported in an aggregated fashion.
    Reporting the agreements in this way increases transparency for all parties involved while respecting the right of participants to sign private agreements.
    It will also help Alberta properly determine gaps in First Nation funding so that the province can target areas where it can assist in creating community economic opportunities.
  • In their responses during the Policy review, many First Nations requested also asked to be able to reach individual consultation process agreements with government.
    Enabling First Nations to sign individual consultation process agreements with government will allow Alberta to be more responsive to what is taking place in different First Nations communities throughout the province.
    These agreements would support the timelines and overall process of the Consultation Policy, but would allow some flexibility and reflect cultural practices
    In the absence of any individual consultation process agreement, the Alberta’s Consultation Policy and supporting Corporate Guidelines would apply.
  • Dennis Bell - Aboriginal Consultation and Engagement in Alberta

    1. 1. Alberta’s First Nation Consultation Policy (2013): Key Policy Shifts Dennis Bell October 22, 2013 Edmonton, AB Aboriginal Relations
    2. 2. Demographics – Aboriginal Population Aboriginal •3rd largest Aboriginal population in Canada •6.2% of Alberta’s population in 2011 First Nations •116,670 (2011 National Household Survey) •48 First Nations and 134 reserves Metis •Largest Metis population in Canada (96,865) •Most Metis reside in urban areas: Edmonton (31,780) and Calgary (17,040) •Only Metis land base in Canada - 8 Metis Settlements: 4,858 (2012)
    3. 3. Alberta Context • Has been in the strongest period of growth ever recorded for any Canadian province • 230,000 + active dispositions for resource development • 17,000 - 20,000 dispositions/year • 100 million acres of Crown land • Broad resource base 3
    4. 4. Alberta’s Aboriginal Peoples 169,355 people of First Nations ancestry live in Alberta, with over 60% living off-reserve. Three Treaty areas (Treaties 6, 7 and 8) covering approximately 730,680 hectares of reserve land. 47 First Nations, 8 Métis Settlements, Inuit, and off settlement Métis Most commonly spoken First Nation languages in Alberta - Cree, Blackfoot, Chipewyan, Dene and Stoney (Nakoda Sioux)
    5. 5. New First Nations Consultation Policy •Alberta’s new First Nations Consultation Policy (August 16, 2013) and supporting legislation will: – Respect First Nations’ Treaty Rights and traditional uses; – Ensure First Nations have the consultation capacity to fully and meaningfully engage in the consultation process; – Be compatible with the Alberta Energy Regulator; and – Create a more stable, predictable and certain business environment for industry investment, benefiting First Nations and all Albertans.
    6. 6. Policy Shift: Stronger Crown Role (Aboriginal Consultation Office) – Greater Crown role - Alberta will consolidate responsibility for consultation in a single Consultation Office reporting to the Minister of Aboriginal Relations. – Alberta will increase its emphasis on regional and strategic consultations to establish a context within which project consultation can occur. – Consultation Office will have a coordinated and integrated relationship with the new Alberta Energy Regulator regarding Aboriginal consultation requirements
    7. 7. The Consultation Office Continued • The Office will manage all aspects of the consultation process including; - Policy development and implementation; – Management and execution of the consultation process; – Pre-Consultation Assessments; – Determining which First Nations to notify and consult; – Direct consultation when significant adverse impacts may result; – Assessment of consultation adequacy; – Consultation capacity-building with First Nations; – Measures leading to increased consultation process transparency; – Setting standards, best practices and quality assurance
    8. 8. Policy Shift: Consultation Process Matrix – The draft Corporate Guidelines contain a draft Consultation Process Matrix proposing a particular sequence of consultation steps as well as timelines and roles for all parties in the consultation process. – Operational Guidelines, once developed, will include additional matrices and procedures to guide all parties. – Supporting matrices will classify projects according to their relative potential to adversely impact treaty rights and traditional uses and will deal with the scope and depth of consultation required to mitigate adverse impacts.
    9. 9. Policy Shift: Enhanced Capacity Funding – Increased capacity funding. The Aboriginal Consultation Levy Act (May 2013) allows for an industry levy to increase First Nations’ consultation capacity. – Regulations to be developed with First Nations and industry will operationalize the Act. – Alberta will manage the levy and distribute consultation capacity funding to First Nations – Crown-led consultation to be funded solely by Alberta. – New capacity funding system will increase First Nations’ capacity and ensure transparency and accountability.
    10. 10. Policy Shift: Greater Transparency – Levy system and structure will not prohibit private First Nations-proponent agreements. Will allow First Nations and industry to continue to explore and enter into impact-benefit agreements. – Proponents will be required to disclose financial aspects of consultation-related agreements with First Nations. – New Policy sets out that the Consultation Office will publicly report aggregated information flowing from these agreements. – Will enable Alberta to properly determine gaps in First Nation funding to target areas to help create First Nations’ community economic opportunities.
    11. 11. Policy Shift: Consultation Process Agreements – Option for Alberta and any First Nation to develop a Nationspecific consultation process agreement. – Allows Alberta to be more responsive to resource development pressures facing individual First Nations. – Agreements would support the timelines and overall process of the Consultation Policy, but would allow some flexibility. – May set out how First Nations wish to be consulted. – Alberta’s Consultation Policy will still apply but be supported by agreements with individual First Nations. – All Agreements would be consistent with the Policy.
    12. 12. Policy Implementation Engagement Plan • Engagement sessions with First Nations representatives and industry participants on key Policy implementation items. • Introductory meetings with First Nations and industry groups early October, 2013. • Technical First Nation and industry working group sessions to be held in mid and late October, 2013. • Outcome of discussions to inform and shape the new Policy’s implementation and the overall consultation process. • Minister Campbell also open to meeting with First Nations’ Chiefs and industry during the Policy implementation period.
    13. 13. Next Steps • New Policy will not take effect until the Consultation Office is operational, likely November 2013. • The Consultation Office will lead development of key Policy elements through the implementation period, including: – Finalization of draft Corporate Guidelines; – Work on supporting matrices and Operational guidelines; – Regulations to support the Aboriginal Consultation Levy Act; and – A Framework for Consultation Process Agreements with Individual First Nations.
    14. 14. For Further Information Dennis Bell, Senior Advisor, Regulatory Issues Aboriginal Consultation Unit Alberta Aboriginal Relations dennis.bell@gov.ab.ca 780-638-4694 www.aboriginal.alberta.ca
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