Trans Mountain is committed to working with Aboriginal communities in the spirit of respect and co-operation and to build, and sustain, lasting relationships. The project team is engaging in open and meaningful consultation with Aboriginal communities with respect to all aspects of the proposed project. Trans Mountain intends to build from these discussions and directly incorporate input from Aboriginal communities into the project planning process.
The existing pipeline and right of way crosses Treaty 6 lands in Alberta. In BC we cross numerous traditional territories and 15 First Nation reserves. Where we cross reserves with the pipeline we contribute to each First Nation via property taxes on the land occupied. We consider ourselves neighbours to these Aboriginal communities and we respect their unique interests in the land, their values and their culture.
This proposed expansion presents an opportunity to enhance existing relationships we have with Aboriginal communities, while developing new discussions with additional Aboriginal communities as the engagement program progresses. We look forward to enhancing existing relationships and developing new ones.
The law in Canada clearly states that before approving a project that may impact Aboriginal or Treaty rights, the Crown has an obligation to consult with Aboriginal peoples. Trans Mountain takes this further by pursing input from Aboriginal communities, not because the Crown is obligated by law to do so, but because it is the right thing to do and will make our project better.
We value our relationship with our Aboriginal neighbours and see them as partners in ensuring this project proceeds with careful consideration towards mitigating any impacts to their rights and to the environment. We also are committed to supporting Aboriginal communities in order to ensure they have the resources to engage meaningfully.
Trans Mountain is meeting with Aboriginal groups early-on in the planning and regulatory review phase of the project. We proceed with a mutually agreed-upon process of consultation that may include Aboriginal participation in the environmental and other field studies, regular meetings with Chief and Council, open community meetings, opportunities for Aboriginal participation in contracting and employment for the project and regular opportunities for the Aboriginal communities to present their interests and concerns to the Trans Mountain project team.
It is one of Trans Mountain’s key goals to have the project benefit the local communities it passes through. It is through an open and meaningful consultation process that this expansion project will be successful for all parties.
During the 2012 and 2013 field seasons, a number of environmental and engineering field programs are planned for the proposed pipeline expansion. These programs will take place throughout Alberta and BC, and involve the work of numerous teams in various disciplines. Trans Mountain meets with local Aboriginal communities to seek their participation in many of these studies.
Studies of particular interest include:
Traditional Knowledge Studies: These studies involve the collection of traditional knowledge from potentially affected Aboriginal communities through their participation in the biophysical field programs for the Project. While in the field, Aboriginal participants will provide traditional knowledge to inform baseline environmental and socio-economic conditions; to document the nature and location of trails, habitation sites, medicinal and food source plants, hunting, fishing and trapping areas, gathering places and sacred areas; and to identify mitigation opportunities that contribute to Project design.
Traditional Land and Resource Use Studies: These studies will be proposed with each potentially affected Aboriginal community based on interest, proximity and/or their assertion of traditional and cultural use of the land. Each Traditional Land and Resource Use study is developed under the direction of the participating Aboriginal community.
Read more about Trans Mountain field studies.
Employment, Training, and Business Opportunities
Trans Mountain supports employment, training and business opportunities for Aboriginal communities. As part of the engagement process, Trans Mountain listens to Aboriginal communities and discusses how best their business and employment aspirations can be supported.
Trans Mountain seeks information from Aboriginal communities regarding their interests in economic opportunities including employment and skills training, contracting capacity and existing business operations. Trans Mountain also shares information on the types of business opportunities that may become available, and how Aboriginal businesses can qualify themselves to pursue these opportunities. Through an effective partnership, the project will contribute to capacity building to the long-term benefit of the community.
Trans Mountain is further developing an Aboriginal Procurement Strategy that will set the stage for increased Aboriginal participation in the economic benefits associated with the proposed pipeline expansion. Trans Mountain is also meeting with Aboriginal communities to discuss how their businesses can register on the ISNetworld system, which tracks the safety records of businesses and allows companies to build up a reputation as a credible and reliable vendor.
Work with regional Aboriginal skill and employment agencies have already begun to develop programs that meet the needs of Aboriginal communities. Although pipeline expansion is in the early stages of planning, training needs to start sooner rather than later to create a ready and skilled workforce if the project is approved.
It is important for each Aboriginal community to assess opportunities for contracting, joint ventures, employment and training for each phase of the project including pre-construction, construction, operation and post-operation. This will ensure project benefits for each community through the various project phases.
Contact Trans Mountain for more information on Aboriginal Participation in the current field studies, employment, training and business.