The CER’s Indigenous Monitoring Program for Keystone XL (KXL IM Program)

The CER believes involving Indigenous Peoples in our work improves regulatory outcomes for all Canadians. In 2019, the CER launched an Indigenous Monitoring Program for the Keystone XL project. Trained Indigenous monitors have supported the CER’s inspection and monitoring activities for the Keystone XL construction work in Alberta in 2020. These activities include things like field inspections which look at safety management, integrity management, and environmental protection among others. Involving Indigenous monitors has enhanced the CER’s awareness and understanding of the diversity of Indigenous traditional and cultural worldviews, including specific expertise in traditional land use, sacred sites and historical knowledge.

Building on the IAMC monitoring programs

The Keystone XL Project was not included in the federal government’s Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC) initiative, which included the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) Project and Enbridge Line 3 Project. However, Nations in the area of the Keystone XL project being familiar with the IAMCs requested a similar monitoring program be developed for the Keystone project. The CER did not have the authority or funding to establish an IAMC for the project, but given its vision to involve Indigenous peoples in the CER’s work it agreed to fund an Indigenous Monitoring Program for the construction phase of the project. Best practices and lessons learned from the TMX and Line 3 monitoring programs are being applied during monitoring activities for the Keystone XL project.

The KXL IM Program Framework

In May 2019, the CER launched a public tender process open to any Indigenous business interested in providing Indigenous monitoring services, including engaging with and hiring monitors from affected Indigenous Nations. In August 2019, two contracts were signed: one with X-Terra Environmental Services Ltd (majority owned by Thunderchild First Nation); and one with Apeiron Resources Ltd (owned by citizens of the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3, and partnering with Canada North Environmental Services).

Through the Contractors, Indigenous advisors and Indigenous Monitors hired for the project, the following Nations are represented in the KXL Indigenous Monitoring Program:

  • Thunderchild First Nation (Treaty 6) (Contractor & Indigenous Monitor)
  • Carry The Kettle Nakoda First Nation (Treaty 4), (Indigenous Monitor & advisor)
  • Pheasant Rump First Nation (Treaty 6) (advisor)
  • Métis Nation of Alberta – Region 3 (Contractor & Indigenous Monitor)
  • Métis Nation of Saskatchewan – Region 3 (Indigenous Monitor & advisor).

In addition to direct involvement of the above Indigenous Nations, CER staff have engaged several Indigenous Nations, and have assisted the Contractors and Indigenous Monitors to engage Indigenous communities. The purpose of the Contractors and IMs’ engagement is to collect information such as local knowledge to inform upcoming inspections, and to establish connections between the Indigenous Monitors and Elders or Knowledge Keepers.

Indigenous Monitor Training Program

Both the Indigenous Monitors and the CER’s inspection officers participated in a four day training program, along with others from the contractor team and the CER. These sessions provided an opportunity for the Monitors and inspection officers to share information and learn from each other. In addition to the CER’s training sessions, the Contractors provided onboarding training to their IMs, and the IMs were required to complete safety training courses.

Role of the Indigenous Monitors on the Inspection Team

Indigenous Monitor(s) work with CER Inspection Officers before, during and after the inspections, enhancing the expertise of the inspection team. Involving Indigenous monitors has enhanced the ability of CER’s staff to gain awareness and understanding of the diversity of Indigenous traditional and cultural worldviews, including specific expertise in traditional land use, sacred sites and historical knowledge. The role of the Indigenous Monitors includes:

  • helping with scoping for the inspections
  • accompanying the inspection officers during the inspections
  • providing observations to be included in the CER’s inspection report.

Icons: Indigenous monitor, traditional land use, heritage resourcs, environmental protection and safety

Compliance Verification Activities (e.g. inspections) and Reports

Five inspections were completed for the Keystone XL construction in Alberta between August 2020 and February 2021. The CER and IMs also reviewed KXL’s COVID risk mitigation plans and participated in an information exchange meeting with TC Energy regarding the Indigenous Monitoring programs. The inspection reports can be found here: CER Inspection Reports. The CER’s inspection reports include the IMs’ observations.

TC Energy’s Indigenous Monitoring Program

TC Energy also has an Indigenous Monitoring Program for the KXL Project. While the CER’s program has similar intended outcomes as the Company’s, it is distinct. The company’s program involves a larger number of Indigenous Monitors to conduct daily monitoring of construction activities, and was developed in response to Condition 16 requirements.

KXL U.S. Permit Revoked

We continue to engage with TC Energy since the U.S. presidential permit for the Keystone XL Project was revoked on Jan. 20, 2021. As the regulator for the Canadian portion of the project, the CER will continue its regulatory oversight, focusing on ensuring safety and environmental protection. The CER and its Indigenous Monitoring Partners will inspect portions of the project to verify that that reclamation activities are conducted appropriately.

Contact Us

Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Fax: 403-292-5503
Toll free fax: 1-877-288-8803

Media Inquiries

Erin Dottor
Communications Officer

Telephone: 403-629-2732

Media Relations

TransCanada Keystone Contact Information

Telephone: 1-866-717-7473
Keystone XL website

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