Public Statement – Canada's Approach to Consultation and Accommodation
This public statement affirms Canada’s commitment to meaningful consultation and accommodation. The statement also provides a high level overview of the role of partners, such as provinces and territories and proponents, in a consultation process. This statement is in draft format and Canada seeks input from Aboriginal groups, provinces and territories and proponents in drafting this high level statement on its approach.
Aboriginal peoples are the Crown’s longest standing partner in building Canada’s identity and economic success. Canada is committed to respecting Aboriginal and Treaty rights, upholding the Honour of the Crown and pursuing reconciliation objectives as a part of its day to day business.
A key component of respecting Aboriginal and Treaty Rights is the meaningful consultation of Aboriginal groups as part of Canada’s duty to consult. A duty to consult is present where a proposed Crown activity or decision may have an adverse impact on potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. The Government of Canada is committed to fulfilling the duty to consult triggered by its activities and decisions (e.g. the disposal of Crown property, the authorization of the development and operation of an interprovincial pipeline, the creation of a national park, etc.).
Meaningful consultation always includes the consideration of accommodation. Where an adverse impact is identified, the Government of Canada seeks to work with Aboriginal groups in the identification of avoidance, mitigation and offset measures. Aboriginal groups are well placed to provide advanced, in-depth information about how proposed activities can impact lands and resources and possible ways to avoid or mitigate these impacts. Canada is committed to working with groups to use this knowledge to help inform decision making.
Canada is committed to building and maintaining positive relationships, including carrying out early and ongoing engagement, with Aboriginal groups related to its key business lines. These positive relationships support the collaboration of Aboriginal groups and Canada on the duty to consult.
Partners, such as provinces and territories and proponents, play critical roles in Aboriginal consultation. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting these partners by building and maintaining productive relationships, creating opportunities to share information and providing guidance when requested. The Government of Canada will rely on consultation activities carried out by its partners to support its decision making where possible.
Canada recognizes that reconciliation strengthens the relationship between the Crown and Aboriginal groups and can support economic prosperity. The interests of all Canadians, including Aboriginal groups, are important considerations for all government decision making.
Meaningful consultation is one of the means by which Canada respects Aboriginal and treaty rights while carrying out its activities. While progress has been achieved on Aboriginal consultation, more work needs to be done which requires joint commitment and collaboration.
The Government of Canada invites Aboriginal groups, including Elders, leaders, women, men and youth, to bring forward solutions and ideas to help us work together and achieve this commitment.