An Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC-TMX) is addressing common issues and priorities raised by Indigenous communities potentially impacted by the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).

The IAMC-TMX will monitor the pipeline construction project, the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline and related marine shipping over the full lifecycle of the expanded pipeline system.

The Government of Canada allocated a total of $64.7 million over five years to this initiative. Fully $42 million of this funding is available for the committee to monitor the Project and address the priorities —  related to protection of Indigenous and environmental interests, socio-economic outcomes and safety — of the 117 potentially impacted Indigenous communities.

Last summer, representatives from the National Energy Board (NEB), Indigenous communities and federal government departments announced an agreement to establish the committee and its Terms of Reference. The goal of the committee is to “form the basis of a new relationship between Indigenous communities, the government and the National Energy Board (NEB) in respect of the TMX project and existing pipeline,” according to the IAMC’s website.

Kinder Morgan Canada Limited (KML), the owner of Trans Mountain Pipeline, is not a member of the committee and did not participate in the creation nor provide funding for the committee’s activities; however, it does engage with the committee when invited to do so. Participation by an Indigenous community does not mean it supports or opposes the Project, nor does it change the government’s duty to consult.

The IAMC-TMX will focus on Indigenous issues and priorities for communities ranging from Edmonton to southwestern Vancouver Island. Indigenous monitors will be on-site with the NEB and IAMC-TMX looks forward to building a working relationship with KML.

On January 24, 2018, IAMC-TMX announced one of its early goals is a pilot project to establish a crew of 12 Indigenous monitors — with appropriate safety qualifications, training and equipment — to go on-site with NEB environmental inspectors on TMEP construction Spreads 1 and 2 in Alberta. “We share the IAMC’s values and goals of safety and protection of environmental and Indigenous interests in the land and water,” said Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited. “The committee and the pilot program announced today to operate at arm’s length from Kinder Morgan but we believe the knowledge and unique perspectives they bring and the collaborative nature of the program will benefit our company and all those involved.”