Government of Canada

 

1.0 Introduction

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has established an independent Expert Panel (the Panel) to conduct a review of federal environmental assessment processes (EA review process) and to consider the goals and purpose of modern-day environmental assessment. Terms of Reference (TOR) have been provided to help guide the Panel.

In the TOR, it states that "the Government of Canada fully supports the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with the goal of renewing its relationship with Indigenous people in Canada and moving towards reconciliation." The Panel is committed to the spirit of this statement, and further recognizes the direction provided by the TOR to directly engage with Indigenous peoples and to recognize the objectives and reflect the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples within its recommendations.

This Indigenous Engagement Plan (the Plan) is intended to guide engagement activities between the Panel and Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals during the EA review process. The Plan focuses on engagement activities as the EA review process is pre-consultation; the Minister will decide how Indigenous Peoples may be consulted on the recommendations that will be identified in the Panel's EA Review Report. The Plan also communicates the Panel's guiding principles, objectives for engagement, and high-level engagement activities. This Plan identifies different options for participation in the EA review process along with associated timelines. This Plan also provides high level information about funding opportunities.

The Public Engagement Plan describes how and when the Panel will engage with Canadians. Both plans are intended to facilitate open and transparent engagement with the Panel, but are focused on different audiences to address direction provided in the TOR. All Canadians and Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals may participate in any given engagement activity.

2.0 Engagement approach

2.1. Principles of Indigenous Engagement

The Panel has developed a number of guiding principles for Indigenous engagement with the goal of developing a positive and productive working relationship with Indigenous organizations, groups, communities, and individuals during and through the EA review process.

2.2. Goals and Objectives

Based on its review and understanding of the scope of the review outlined in the TOR, the Panel has identified that the overarching goal of the engagement process will be to engage Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals on all aspects of its review. The TOR directs the Panel to consider "How to ensure that environmental assessment legislation is amended to enhance the consultation, engagement and participatory capacity of Indigenous groups in reviewing and monitoring major resource development projects?" According to the TOR, this should include practices and procedures related to federal environmental processes such as Indigenous engagement and consultation. The TOR also directs the Panel to recognize the objectives and reflect the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, "especially with respect to the manner in which environmental assessment processes can be used to address potential impacts to potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights".

Focused areas of discussion

In order to respond to this direction and develop its recommendations, the Panel has developed a focused list of guiding questions that are intended to help prompt feedback and discussion and inform the Panel's understanding of key issues related to and underpinning the TOR. These questions also appear in the Panel's Suggested Themes for Discussion, developed by the Panel to inform conversation with Canadians and Indigenous Peoples and which may be used in Indigenous engagement activities outlined in section 3.1 of this Plan. The list of questions includes:

The Panel will develop its understanding of the above and prepare related recommendations taking into consideration the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Please refer to the Panel's Suggested Themes for Discussion for a comprehensive list of all the guiding questions of the Panel. Indigenous Peoples are not limited to providing input on the topics above and are encouraged to provide their views relating to all of the Panel's guiding questions.

Objectives

In relation to the overarching goal described above, the Panel has identified the following key objectives:

3.0 Engagement Approach

The Panel will use a three-pillar approach to engaging Canadians, including Indigenous Peoples, in its review. This is grounded in the Panel's principles of Indigenous engagement and is designed to provide members of the public and Indigenous organizations, communities, groups and individuals with a variety of options for participation. Everyone will be able to participate online or in-person and can learn more about the review, the Panel's mandate, and how to engage at a dedicated website (www.EAreview.ca). The Panel emphasizes that all engagement activities will help inform its thinking. No single way of participating should be considered as more valuable than another, or likely to result in greater impact on the Panel's recommendations to the Minister.

Communications

  • Information website
  • Email news
  • Outreach to Indigenous organizations
  • Government of Canada communications

Online Engagement

  • Choicebook
  • Written Submissions
  • Virtual Engagement (Webinars/ Teleconferences)

In-Person Engagement

  • Public workshops
  • Presentations to the Panel
  • Open Dialogue Sessions

3.1 Indigenous Engagement Activities

The following table presents an overview of the Indigenous engagement activities planned for the EA review process, including what participants can expect from the panel to support their participation in sessions, as well as description of what participants can be expected to contribute as part of each session.

All participants are encouraged to register in advance for the Presentation to Panel sessions, Workshops, and Open Dialogue Sessions. Registration information is available on the Panel's website at www.EAreview.ca.

The Panel will try to accommodate all Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals who wish to attend in-person engagement activities, however in the event that the number of participants is greater than the venue's capacity or the time available, participation will be determined on a first come, first served basis, with those registering in advance being accommodated first.

Engagement activities

What Indigenous participants can expect FROM the Panel

What Indigenous participants may provide TO the Panel (or DO to prepare for sessions)

Information Sharing Activities

Website
www.EAreview.ca

  • Background documents for participants to support their input on the EA review process
  • Ability to register for engagement activities in advance.
  • Current schedule for in person engagement opportunities and Webinars.
  • Summary of feedback received during in-person engagement sessions. All written submissions will be posted.
  • Review background information and feedback received to date. 

Notifications of engagement opportunities and events

  • Notification of all in-person engagement sessions, and online engagement, through the Panel’s website and the Panel’s social media accounts.

 

  • Sign-up for the mailing list
  • Share notifications with their contacts or on social media
  • Identify opportunities for the Panel to share information through newsletters and mailing lists
  • Offer to post a poster with information about upcoming events

In-Person Engagement Activities

Presentations to the Panel
Focus on formal, scheduled presentations to the Panel. Participants share views with Panel in front of larger group.  

Note that there will be an opportunity for the Panel to engage remote participants who are unable to participate in in-person sessions due to travel constraints.  

  • Opportunity for Indigenous organizations, groups, communities, and individuals to present their views to the Panel. Please note that registration is on a first come, first served basis.
  • Request participants to explain or provide more detail on the information they present.
  • Views presented will be carefully listened to, and documented following the session.
  • Register in advance to participate in sessions of interest. 
  • Present their views or the views of their organization, group or community to Panel in front of larger group.  
  • Explain or provide more detail on the information they present, upon request from the Panel.

Public Workshops
In-person dialogues in which all Canadians, including Indigenous participants, can actively participate – from those with past experience or high levels of knowledge about environmental assessments, to those seeking to learn and engage with them for the first time. There will be a combination of Panel presentations, small group discussion with focus questions and whole group sharing of key points.

For more information on this activity, please refer to the Public Engagement Plan, section 3.3.1.

  • Notification of all engagement sessions by email to contact list and on website.
  • Opportunity for staff from National and Regional Indigenous organizations, groups and communities with technical expertise in environmental assessment to provide feedback to the panel.
  • Opportunity for other Indigenous citizens and community members to participate.
  • Background materials will be provided to participants in advance.
  • Conversation and views presented will be carefully listened to, and documented following the session.
  • Register in advance to participate in sessions of interest. 
  • Work in small groups (8-10 people) to provide feedback on a series of topics.  
  • Discuss topics or questions and develop expertise they share with the Panel.

 

Open Dialogue Sessions
Focus on wide-ranging feedback from a variety of participants through brainstorming exercises, which may involve written feedback as well as verbal commentary and dialogue. Participants are encouraged to circulate the room freely to provide input by engaging in conversation or posting comments on topics of interest. Participants may also take turns in smaller groups to share views with a Panel member.  

  • Notification of all engagement sessions by email to contact list and on website in advance of each session.
  • A respectful and open space for individuals to share their views in small groups with a panel member. 
  • Opportunity for individuals to discuss issues and brainstorm opportunities to improve federal environmental assessment.
  • Opportunity for many participants to be heard in one session, and for those not comfortable speaking in front of larger group to have an opportunity to share their views.
  • Conversation and views presented will be carefully listened to, and documented following the session.
  • Register in advance to participate in session of interest.
  • Share their views with a panel member in a smaller group setting.  
  • Explain or provide more detail on the information they present, upon request from the Panel.
  • Listen and respect feedback other individuals provide during the session.

Online Engagement Activities

Choicebook
For more information about the Choicebook, including how to request a paper copy, please refer to the Public Engagement Plan, section 3.2.1. The Choicebook will be available on the Panel’s website (www.EAreview.ca).

  • Opportunity for individuals to provide input on the issues and opportunities related to federal EA that are important to them.
  • Provide their input by completing the Choicebook.

Written Submissions
The Panel’s website (www.EAreview.ca) will include a Submission Tool and Submission Guide, providing a platform for anyone to offer their comments in written form. For more information on this opportunity, please refer to the Public Engagement Plan, section 3.2.2.

  • Opportunity for Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals to submit written comments to the Panel on the issues and opportunities related to federal EA.
  • All written submissions to the website to be posted to website.
  • Submit written comments on issues and opportunities to improve federal environmental assessment processes to the Panel through the website, by email, mail, or fax. Please refer to the Submission Guide on the Panel’s website before preparing a submission.

Webinars
The Panel expects to hold a limited series of online webinars during the engagement period. These are intended to explore specific, focused issues or questions that may arise during the course of the Panel’s work. When a Webinar is scheduled, it will be posted on the Panel’s website (www.EAreview.ca). Registration will be required.

  • Opportunity for interested individuals to participate in a focused, topic-specific conversation with the Panel.
  • Conversation and views presented will be carefully listened to, and documented following the session.
  • Register in advance to participate.
  • Share their views and expertise with the Panel and other participants on technical, topic-specific issues.

 

3.2 Locations for Engagement Activities

The Panel has identified a number of locations across the country to engage with Indigenous organizations, groups, communities, and individuals. Due to the tight timelines, the Panel has focused on hub locations that would provide the greatest opportunity for participation by a large number of Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals and contribute to the successful realization of the Panel's objectives, in alignment with the guiding principles. The Panel established the following criteria to guide the selection of locations where engagement sessions with Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals will be held during the EA review process:

The following locations will be visited by the Panel:

Atlantic Canada

Fredericton
Halifax
Happy Valley – Goose Bay
St. John's

Quebec

Montreal
Quebec City

Ontario

Ottawa
Thunder Bay
Toronto
Sudbury

Prairies and North

Calgary
Edmonton
Fort McMurray
Inuvik
Saskatoon
Winnipeg

British Columbia

Fort St. John
Kamloops
Nanaimo
Prince Rupert
Vancouver

Accessibility

All engagement materials will be available in English and French. Simultaneous interpretation will be available at all Indigenous and public engagement events held in Fredericton, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Sudbury to enable participants to express themselves in the official language of their choice. In all other locations, participants will be asked to inform the Panel during their registration should they require simultaneous interpretation. In these circumstances, the Panel will make all reasonable effort to provide the requested service, recognizing the timelines associated with arranging interpretation services. Venue facilities will be wheelchair accessible. Individuals who may require particular accessibility supports are encouraged to contact the Panel or describe any needs during the event registration process.

By Phone

1-855-219-7208

By Mail

EA Review Panel
c/o Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
22nd Floor, Place Bell
160 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

4.0 Presentation of engagement results

The Panel will submit its report to the Minister, which will include a summary of the input received from the public, Indigenous Peoples, interested groups and organizations, the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee and other experts.

As part of its reporting, the Panel will release a comprehensive report on what it heard from Canadians both online and in-person. This will include a detailed description of key themes, suggestions and ideas received, as well as a summary of the scale of participation by Canadians and Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals.

The results of public and Indigenous engagement, in addition to other input received during the review, will help inform the Panel's conclusions, recommendations, and rationale in its report to the Minister.

5.0 Indigenous Engagement Plan Summary

The Panel has been tasked with completing its review, including engagement with Indigenous organizations, groups, communities and individuals, and providing its report with recommendations to the Minister by January 31, 2017. With this in mind the Panel has developed the following summary of engagement activities, with associated timelines:

Choicebook

Written Submissions

  • Submissions will be accepted by email starting August 15, 2016. Online Submissons Tool will be launched in mid-September 2016.
  • Deadline for receipt of all submissions is December 18, 2016
  • www.EAreview.ca/Submissions

Webinars

  • Webinars will be scheduled as required to address specific issues and questions emerging in the Panel's research.
  • Registration will open one week prior to each event (maximum 20 participants)
  • www.EAreview.ca/Participate

Public Workshops

  • Workshops will begin in September 2016 and be scheduled in various locations until mid-December 2016
  • All participants are encouraged to register in advance. Space is limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.
  • www.EAreview.ca/Participate

Presentations to the Panel

  • Panel events will begin in September 2016 and be scheduled in various locations until mid-December 2016
  • Registration required. All participants are encouraged to register in advance. Space is limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.
  • www.EAreview.ca/Participate

Open Dialogue Sessions

  • Open Dialogue Sessions will begin in September 2016 and be scheduled in various locations until mid-December 2016
  • All participants are encouraged to register in advance. Space is limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.
  • www.EAreview.ca/Participate

6.0 Funding

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is making funding available for the Review of Environmental Assessment Processes. Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a proposal for activities that would serve to engage the broadest and most inclusive representation of member communities. The call for proposals closes September 9, 2016.

For more details on how to apply, what expenses may be funded and how the funding program works, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/conservation/assessments/environmental-reviews/funding-support-indigenous.html or contact PFP.PAFP@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

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