Indigenous Impact Assessment Co-Administration Agreement Regulations
Funding is available to support participation in national engagement on the Indigenous Impact Assessment Co-Administration Agreement Discussion Paper and other upcoming Agency initiatives. Please visit our Policy Dialogue Program page for more information.
The Impact Assessment Act (the IAA) provides opportunities for the Government of Canada to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples throughout the federal impact assessment process.
One potential opportunity for partnership is through Indigenous co-administration agreements. Through these agreements, negotiated with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Indigenous governing bodies or co-management bodies would exercise certain powers, duties and functions under the IAA related to federal impact assessments on specified lands. Before entering into these agreements, regulations must first be in place.
Formerly referred to as “Indigenous cooperation agreements”, co-administration agreements would provide an additional mechanism for partnership with Indigenous Peoples that better aligns with Indigenous governance, stewardship rights and responsibilities. These long-term agreements would provide certainty for all parties about Indigenous decision-making roles during future impact assessments of projects on lands specified in the agreements.
The Agency is committed to developing a regulatory and policy approach for co-administration agreements in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples.
How is the Agency consulting and collaborating with Indigenous Peoples?
The Agency consulted the Indigenous Advisory Committee as well as national and regional Indigenous representatives on the approach to regulatory and policy development.
The Agency is working towards the following goals:
- Setting clear expectations and common understandings
- Maintaining a credible process with the confidence of communities as well as political leaders
- Ensuring the inclusion of regional perspectives and consultation with rights-holders
- Recognizing distinctions-based and context-specific realities
What are the steps towards developing regulations and supporting policies?
Between 2016 and 2020, the Agency sought input on environmental and impact assessment processes from Indigenous organizations and communities in workshops, comment periods and other consultations.
Feedback was analyzed and compiled into “What We Heard Reports”:
- What We Heard Report - Environmental Assessment Review
- What We Heard Report - Practitioner’s Guide to Federal Impact Assessments under IAA
- What We Heard Report - Crown-Indigenous Collaboration in Federal Impact Assessment
This input shaped the development of the IAA, which came into force in 2019, as well as Agency policies to implement the IAA. This input also informed early ideas on co-administration agreements.
Establishing a Circle of Experts
Building on early engagement, the Agency held discussions with the Indigenous Advisory Committee as well as national and regional Indigenous representatives. This led, in June 2022, to the establishment of a Circle of Experts made up of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and experts recommended by Indigenous individuals and organizations. The Circle of Experts was established to co-develop a discussion paper with the Agency. The paper will serve to open the conversation on co-administration agreements through an upcoming national engagement process.
Drafting the Discussion Paper
The discussion paper will include analysis of potential benefits, limitations, considerations and options for approaches to Indigenous co-administration agreements under the IAA. The Agency continues to seek advice from the Indigenous Advisory Committee and national Indigenous representatives.
It is anticipated that the discussion paper will be published in late 2023, and a national discussion period will follow. Information and comments received during the discussion period will be summarized in a new “What We Heard Report”.
Guided by input received during the national discussion period, the Agency will continue to work in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples towards the development of the regulatory proposal and supporting policy. This will include working with the Agency’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, national Indigenous representatives, and directly with rights holders. The Agency will also continue to engage with provincial and territorial governments, industry and other stakeholders throughout this process.
Is there funding available to support engagement on this initiative?
For information and updates on funding opportunities to support engagement, visit our Funding Programs page.
For more information on the regulatory development process, please see the Department of Justice’s overview of how new laws and regulations are created.
For general information on how Indigenous Peoples are involved in impact assessment, visit Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Impact Assessment on the Agency’s website.
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