Summary of the Third Meeting of the Indigenous Advisory Committee
January 29-30, 2020
Montreal

Meeting Objectives

The objective for the third Indigenous Advisory Committee meeting was to have a working session on the Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework and to formalize a forward work plan.

Day 1 – January 29, 2020

Agenda item: Welcome and opening remarks

The meeting began with an opening prayer by Elder Elmer Ghostkeeper. The Agency’s Ex-Officio member of the Committee provided an update on the Agency’s Indigenous Capacity Support Program, as well as additional policy and guidance pieces that have been released on the Agency’s website including guidance on the assessment of potential impacts on rights.

Agenda item: Reports Out

Committee members provided updates on workshops related to Impact assessment (IA) they had attended since the last meeting face-to-face meeting including:

  1. De-brief on the third Canada-Mexico Workshop on Consultations with Indigenous Peoples for Natural Resource Based Projects in Mexico-City in November 2019.
  2. Update on fourth Métis Economic Development Symposium (MEDS IV) in Vancouver March 3-5, 2020.
  3. Update on Impacts on Rights Workshop, which the Agency organized with Mikisew Cree First Nation in Edmonton, Alberta, in December 2019. The event was a national roundtable with academics, First Nation participants, and technical experts, which included views from several individual communities. It was noted that the workshop report would be circulated to IAC members. The Committee was interested in looking at the report alongside the Agency’s guidance on the assessment of impacts on rights.

Agenda item: Working together on Policy

Members discussed how to get to results and how to bring advice together in an efficient way going forward. Members agreed that a Sub-Committee would be the most efficient way to advance priorities between meetings; ensuring outputs are provided for committee review at subsequent meetings. Based on the priorities set by the forward work plan, members set up an Indigenous Knowledge Sub-committee.

Agenda item: Sharing Experiences of Working Together

Two Committee members shared their experiences of working together with provinces. The purpose was to provide examples of how the Agency and the Committee could collaborate on the development of policies and guidance.

  1. Experience of working with Alberta – examining decision-making models and creating ethical space where Indigenous communities and the Alberta Energy Regulator can work together.
    • Elmer Ghostkeeper provided an overview of his experiences working on the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel to the Chief Scientist of Alberta.
    • Ensuring that Indigenous knowledge systems, languages, oral traditions, and understandings are respected equitably with Alberta’s environmental science program.
    • Importance of ensuring the Advisory Panel operated to the highest ethical standards (respect for protocols, prayer, traditions, song, and ceremony).
  2. Experience of British Columba’s Indigenous Implementation Committee in development of IK Principles.
    • Angel Ransom shared experiences working with the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office.
    • Overview of BC’s new legislation, Bill 51- 2018 BC EA Act focus on reconciliation. IK is included in the EA process to provide provincial and Indigenous decision-makers and participant’s greater knowledge and understanding of the environment in which a project is proposed.
    • Overview of principles guiding the application of IK to EA’s including relationship based, respect, broad application, acknowledgement of context, transparency and permission of use.
    • The Committee discussed the importance of engagement at the community level, and the best approach to set up an IK Policy Framework using these principles.

Agenda item: Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework Discussion

The Agency provided an overview of the work it is leading with Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Energy Regulator, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada on the collaborative development of an Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework for Project Reviews and Regulatory Decisions. The key principles that emerged from the national engagement were presented including: respect, consent, partnership and collaboration, capacity support, inclusion, protection and integrity of information. The IAC is a key forum to provide advice and recommendations to implicated departments to inform the development of the IK Policy Framework. Members also engaged on what principles should be reflected in the overarching IK Framework through breakout discussions.

Day 2 – January 30, 2020

Agenda: Reporting back to plenary from day 1 breakouts on IK Framework

Members reflected on key principles, best practices and elements for the development of the IK Framework including consideration and protection of IK, unauthorized disclosure and confidentiality. Members were interested in getting a better understanding of how the Framework will be used across Departments. Members also identified a number of key principles to inform the direction of the Framework including:

Agenda item: Indigenous Knowledge Engagement Plan

The Agency provided an overview of engagement activities to date to develop an IK Policy Framework for project reviews and regulatory decisions. An engagement strategy to advance this work was also introduced. The objective of this strategy is to support the development of an interim IK Policy Framework in collaboration with Indigenous partners that would be released for public comment in fall 2020.

Members provided advice on engaging Indigenous peoples nationally:

Agenda item: Indigenous Knowledge Work Plan

Members discussed the plan to establish a working group on IK and decided:

Agenda item: Committee Business

The Agency provided an update on research underway to support IAC’s internal work including a comparative analysis of First Nations, Inuit and Métis standards and principles for the protection and management of IK as well as an environmental scan on examples of Indigenous-led environmental assessment processes that have occurred in Canada.

Members were also interested in advancing other priority areas such as cooperation approaches and committee evaluation/verification through the structure of a working group in the fall.

Agenda item: Planning for the Forward Work Plan

Agenda item: Closing Prayer

Indigenous Advisory Committee
Action Items from January 29-30 Meeting

Secretariat Action Items:

Members’ Action-items:

Attendees

Co-Chairs

Committee Members

Impact Assessment Agency

Other Government Departments

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