We are committed to working with Indigenous People where we operate. Our goal is to build and sustain effective relationships based on mutual respect, to share mutual benefits and to work cooperatively and transparently. As a result of our Indigenous Engagement Program, we have received support from many Indigenous People along the Project corridor including Letters of Support from many Indigenous communities located close to the right-of-way and potentially impacted by the Project.

Since 2012, we have sought to meaningfully engage with Indigenous People and their communities through more than 73,000 points of contact. We will continue to engage with communities in Alberta and British Columbia throughout each phase of construction and during operations.

In Alberta, the existing pipeline system spans the traditional territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 8, and the Metis Nation of Alberta (Zone 4). In British Columbia, the system crosses numerous traditional territories and 15 First Nation Reserves.  With respect to the Expansion Project, Trans Mountain will only cross Reserve lands with the consent of the First Nation. These Indigenous communities are our neighbours and we respect their unique interests in the land, their values and their culture.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project presents a special opportunity to enhance existing relationships with Indigenous People and their communities along our pipeline system corridor, while also opening the door to new relationships along the marine transportation corridor. The dialogue to date has been invaluable to our Project planning and to developing understanding between communities and our industry. We look forward to building and nurturing these relationships.

Indigenous Engagement

Trans Mountain respects the constitutional rights, unique culture, diversity, languages and traditions of Indigenous People in Canada. We acknowledge the significance of culture and language for Indigenous People and the considerable traditional knowledge that has been passed on for generations.

Trans Mountain’s Indigenous Engagement Program was designed to create an open, transparent and inclusive process that seeks to:

  • exchange information in a respectful manner;
  • address concerns shared by those who might have an interest in the Project or have Indigenous interests potentially affected by the Project;
  • incorporate feedback into Project planning and execution; and
  • provide Project benefits.

Our Indigenous Engagement Program is guided by the Indigenous Relations Policy and the following principles: 

  • Build trust and respect – These values form the basis of Trans Mountain’s engagement with Indigenous People.
  • Conduct meaningful engagement – Ensure the engagement process is comprehensive and respects the interests of conduct Indigenous People.
  • Address legal requirements – Carry out Trans Mountain’s legal requirements as a regulated company under the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) jurisdiction to engage with and mitigate, where necessary, where there are any Project impacts on the assertion of Indigenous rights and title governing traditional and cultural use of the land and marine environment.
  • Gather Indigenous perspectives –Build understanding regarding Indigenous rights and asserted rights, and identify issues and concerns relating to those rights and the Project.
  • Assess Project impacts – Share information, identify and assess potential impacts, develop measures to avoid, manage or mitigate where necessary.
  • Reach understanding – Seek understanding or agreement to address potential infringement of Indigenous rights affected by the Project.
  • Provide benefits – Explore economic participation opportunities such as employment and workforce development, procurement and contracting, and the potential to consider various forms of commercial agreements. 

We are committed to continued listening, learning and working with Indigenous People to ensure that knowledge and advice is fully considered and incorporated in the Project.

Participation in Field Studies

Since 2012, Trans Mountain conducted numerous environmental and engineering field studies for the Project. These programs occurred throughout Alberta and British Columbia and involved the work of various teams and disciplines. It was important for us to work in collaboration with Indigenous communities to ensure participation in studies located within their Traditional Territory. This important data enhanced our knowledge of the environment along the pipeline corridor and guided our Project planning.

Trans Mountain provides considerable financial support in the form of capacity funding to Indigenous communities interested in engaging and learning more about our Project. Capacity funding enables groups to conduct Traditional Land or Marine Use Studies and participate in Traditional Ecological Knowledge Studies and other types of community-designed research.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge Studies: These studies involved the collection of traditional knowledge from potentially affected Indigenous communities through their participation within five disciplines: vegetation, wildlife, aquatics, archaeology and wetlands. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) studies are incorporated into the biophysical studies of the Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment (ESA) used to assess the potential effects of a project on the environment and to design appropriate mitigation. We recognize Indigenous People exercise close ties to the land and the importance of integrating relevant TEK into the ESA. TEK complements Western scientific knowledge and provides information for Project planning.

Traditional Land Use Studies: These studies occurred with potentially affected Indigenous communities based on interest, proximity and/or their assertion of traditional and cultural use of the land. Traditional Land Use (TLU) studies are undertaken on Crown land to provide information to determine the potential effects the Project may have on the identified TLU area and the ability of the users to maintain the current traditional use of the environment; results are used to guide Project planning. 

Traditional Marine Resource Use Studies: These studies occurred with potentially affected Indigenous marine communities based on interest, proximity and/or their assertion of traditional and cultural use of coastal and international waters. There will be additional marine traffic to offload the product from the Project. Although regulation and authorization of marine transportation is not specifically within the jurisdiction of the CER, the environmental and socio-economic effects of the increased marine traffic is considered by Trans Mountain within a geographic area extending between the Westridge Marine Terminal and a location known as “Buoy J” at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, covering the internationally established traffic corridors. This geographic area is also known as the Salish Sea and includes the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia. 

Traditional Marine Resource Use (TMRU) studies are undertaken to provide information regarding the traditional activities the participating Indigenous community engages in, within the marine environment. Information gathered is used to determine the potential effects the Project may have on the identified TMRU area and the ability to maintain the current traditional use of the environment; results are used to guide Project planning.