Backgrounder: Engagement Process with Indigenous Groups on Trans Mountain Expansion Project



The Government of Canada wishes to thank all of the interested parties for participating in the economic participation engagement process, for their time and consideration. No relationship is more important to the Government than its relationship with Indigenous peoples – one based on respect, cooperation, partnership, and the recognition of and commitment to Indigenous rights.


During Phase III consultations regarding the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the Project), and separately, many Indigenous groups expressed interest in opportunities for greater economic participation in the Project. In March 2019, the Government of Canada announced its intent to explore such opportunities, should the Project be approved.

On June 18, 2019, the Governor in Council approved the Project subject to 156 conditions and to adhering to recommendations of the National Energy Board (NEB), and directed the NEB to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and a positive environmental decision statement in respect of the Project. With these, the Project will proceed to the next stage in the regulatory review process, including Phase IV consultations regarding detailed route approvals, condition compliance, and the NEB's consideration of routing and non-routing variance requests, as well as the implementation of mitigation and accommodation measures from Phase III.

With the Project now approved to move forward, the Government is launching an engagement process that will be led by the Department of Finance Canada, starting with an exploratory, information-gathering step in Summer 2019.

Engagement Principles

The engagement process will be informed by the following principles:

  • Potentially impacted Indigenous groups could have an opportunity for meaningful economic participation in the Project;
  • Participation of Indigenous groups could help the economic development of their communities in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation;
  • The Government of Canada invested in Trans Mountain to benefit all Canadians; and
  • The Project will be built and operated on a commercial basis.

Scope of Exploratory Discussions

For the exploratory step of the engagement process, officials from the Department of Finance Canada will organize a series of meetings over the Summer in Ottawa, Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, and Edmonton. This first step of engagement will seek to understand views on how Canada should approach the broader engagement process, and to gauge preliminary views about how economic participation in the Project might be structured.

The Government will seek to meet with Indigenous groups and organizations that represent Indigenous groups. This step will also allow for input from other interested parties, including the general public, should these parties wish to express their views. Input can be sent via e-mail to until August 30, 2019.

Guiding Questions

  1. What are your views on how the Government should engage potentially impacted Indigenous groups regarding their potential economic participation in the Project?
  2. Based on information that is currently available, does your group see a benefit in participating economically in the Project?
  3. If yes to question 2, do you have any initial views on how such "economic participation" should be structured (e.g., form, timing)? What does "economic participation" mean to you and your group (e.g., equity, partnership)?
  4. Are you interested in collaborating with other groups in subsequent steps of the engagement process?
  5. In order to participate effectively in subsequent steps of the engagement process, what information, advice, or support would you need to have?

Next Steps

Following the close of exploratory discussions with Indigenous groups, the Government expects to continue the engagement process by refining potential models for economic participation. This could entail a second round of meetings, and roundtables with representatives from the banking and financial services sector and the oil and gas sector (e.g., shippers), as well as representatives from project aggregators.

The engagement process led by the Department of Finance Canada will be separate from any Phase IV consultations, which will be overseen by the Department of Natural Resources Canada and the Minister of Natural Resources.

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