Factsheet: Engagement of and Participation by Aboriginal peoples

Aboriginal peoples have a long relationship and connection with the land, water, and resources that could be affected by a project regulated by the National Energy Board (NEB).

When the NEB considers a project application, input by Aboriginal peoples can help provide relevant biophysical and cultural information, help identify potential environmental effects and strengthen mitigation measures.  All of this leads to better decisions.

Enhanced Aboriginal Engagement

We are committed to reaching out to Aboriginal groups early in the hearing process where there is a potential impact on their rights and interests from NEB-regulated projects.

The NEB’s Enhanced Aboriginal Engagement (EAE) initiative aims to provide proactive contact with Aboriginal groups that may be affected by a proposed project which requires a public hearing. The NEB will offer to meet with Aboriginal groups to explain the NEB’s regulatory process, how to participate in it and provide information on the NEB’s Participant Funding Program. We also have Process Advisors who, as part of their role, support Aboriginal groups who are participating in public hearings.

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In 2014, under the EAE initiative, we contacted 404 Aboriginal communities and organizations, and held 54 meetings with them, many in their own communities.

Oral Traditional Evidence

The NEB is committed to hearing from Aboriginal groups in a way that respects their values and traditions. We recognize that Aboriginal peoples have an oral tradition for sharing stories, lessons, and knowledge from generation to generation. This information cannot always be shared adequately in writing. We want to provide an opportunity for Aboriginal peoples to share their traditional knowledge in a way that is meaningful and useful. Therefore, where appropriate, we provide Elders and other community members with the opportunity to give their traditional evidence orally.

Oral Traditional Evidence is only one of the ways the NEB will gather the information needed to decide whether or not to recommend that a project is in the Canadian public interest.

Participation in NEB Hearings

Métis scarf and flagThe NEB understands that Crown consultation is an issue of interest to Aboriginal groups. In recent hearings, the Government of Canada has said it will rely on the NEB’s hearing processes, to the extent possible, to meet its duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples on NEB-regulated projects.

The NEB takes Aboriginal concerns into account before it makes any decision that may have an impact on the rights or interests of Aboriginal groups. The NEB requires that companies provide it with specific information regarding the consultation they have undertaken with Aboriginal groups as well as information about potential impacts on the rights and interests of Aboriginal groups and proposed mitigation measures to address those impacts. Once an application is filed, Aboriginal groups who have a concern about the proposed application are encouraged to participate directly in the NEB proceedings and bring all relevant concerns forward. For more on the different ways to participate, refer to the Hearing Process Handbook.

In the hearing process, the NEB can only consider matters that are within its jurisdiction and are brought forward during the hearing. The NEB is not able to deal with other matters that are unrelated to the project application.

Participant Funding Program

The NEB’s Participant Funding Program provides financial assistance to help support the timely and meaningful participation of Intervenors in the hearing process for facility applications. Funding is not intended to cover all expenses. To receive funding, interested persons must apply for and be accepted as an Intervenor in the NEB’s hearing process. For more information on eligibility and how to apply for funding, please review the PFP Program Guide. If you have questions, you can contact the Participant Funding Program by calling 1-800-899-1265 (toll-free) or by emailing PFP.PAFP@neb-one.gc.ca.

For more information

If you would like further information about the NEB or how you can participate in an NEB project reviews, you can contact us by calling 1-800-899-1265 (toll-free) or by emailing: indigenousmatters@neb-one.gc.ca.

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