Canada is on a path to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Not only have the political, legal and policy landscapes towards recognition of Indigenous rights and renewing relationships between Canada and the First Peoples grown significantly in the last few years, but so has Indigenous inclusion within the electricity sector.
CEA and our members are committed to engaging Indigenous Peoples of Canada to nurture meaningful, long-term relationships and enhance mutually beneficial economic and business opportunities. These engagement efforts go beyond project-specific consultations and are centered on the recognition and respect for the history, uniqueness and traditional ways of Indigenous Peoples from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
In 2016, CEA and its members developed a set of national engagement principles to build more positive, mutually beneficial relationships with the Indigenous communities in which they operate. Canada’s electricity sector considers open and transparent engagement with stakeholders and First Nations of paramount importance.
Within this document are several collaborative, community-driven initiatives led by CEA member utilities that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and enriches their communities. They draw upon to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action.
The TRC report, released in 2015 and fully supported by the Government of Canada, outlines 94 ‘Calls to Action’ urging all levels of government and the corporate sector to work together to change policies and programs in a concerted effort to repair the harm caused by residential schools and move forward with reconciliation. Specifically, Section 92 calls upon the private sector to commit to:
- meaningful consultations;
- respectful relationships;
- providing equitable access to employment and training; and
- educating management and staff on the history of Indigenous Peoples.
Highlighted in this report are many examples of how CEA members are successfully collaborating and engaging with government and Indigenous communities in relation to the TRC recommendations.