Call to Action # 92: Actions and Commitments

Business Advocacy Groups

September 15, 2017

Conference Board of Canada

“Options and Opportunities: Resource Revenue Sharing Between the Crown and Indigenous Groups in Canada”

We are Canada’s largest non-partisan, not-for-profit, evidence-based research organization. Our work empowers Canadians and key decision- makers with insights and knowledge in three main areas: Economic Forecasting, Industry Strategy and Public Policy, and Organizational Performance. We bring together ideas across research disciplines and people across sectors of our society in order to address the complex issues that matter most to Canada’s future.

Canada’s Indigenous communities are closely linked to the country’s natural resources sector. Today, private agreements to share benefits and encourage Indigenous community participation have become a common feature of resource sector projects across Canada. The shift in corporate-Indigenous relations complements a parallel shift in Crown-Indigenous relations at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels. This is evident in the increasing number of resource revenue sharing agreements (C-RRS) being developed between Indigenous groups and their provincial/territorial counterparts.

“Options and Opportunities: Resource Revenue Sharing Between the Crown and Indigenous Groups in Canada” Sept. 15, 2017

This report is the first of an ongoing series on resource governance by The Conference Board of Canada’s Northern and Aboriginal Policy group. It provides an overview of options and opportunities for Crown resource revenue sharing with Indigenous groups in Canada, summarizes findings from our ongoing research, and distills insights from forums we participated in throughout 2016–17.

The report identified the following recommendations for Advancing Crown Resource Revenue Sharing With Indigenous Groups:

  • Ensure Indigenous Groups Are Involved in Every Stage of C-RRS Development
  • Ensure That Indigenous Governments Have the Capacity to Meaningfully Participate in C-RRS Agreements
  • Carefully Consider All C-RRS Approaches, Including Hybrid Arrangements
  • Ensure Stakeholders Understand the Potential Cyclical Nature of Revenues From Resource Development Projects
  • Monitor and Report on the Performance of C-RRS Agreements Once Implementation Begins

February 5, 2018

Business Council of Canada

10 Ways to Build a Canada That Wins Released

“10 Ways to Build a Canada That Wins” that provides businesses, decision-makers and government with a series of clear priorities and objectives that, if addressed, will give Canada a competitive edge, improve productivity and grow our economy.

Number # 8 states “Provide Opportunities for Business Development to Support Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples.”

Entrepreneurship plays a key role in the economic, social, and institutional development of Indigenous communities. So too does their ability to benefit from environmentally sustainable industry, infrastructure and resource development projects on and near their lands. The economic and social benefits of encouraging greater and more inclusive participation by Indigenous peoples in employment and business development opportunities are shared by all Canadians. Canada’s future will be shaped by the more active economic participation of Indigenous peoples. We need to afford ample opportunities to entrepreneurs who are ready to do business to create wealth for their communities and families. Our challenge is to move from good intentions to initiatives that make a real difference in their economic prospects. New approaches need to be developed, and new tools must be made available to do so. This includes:

  • a supportive tax and regulatory environment
  • access to new business opportunities
  • government programs that provide meaningful supports, and
  • ready-access to education and training, leading to employment, apprenticeship and mentorship programs

May 15, 2017

Business Council of Canada

Business Council of Canada

Founded in 1976, the Business Council is an organization composed of the chief executives of Canada’s leading enterprises, representing companies from every region and sector of the economy. The 150-member companies employ 1.7 million Canadians, account for more than half the value of the Toronto Stock Exchange, contribute the largest share of federal corporate taxes, and are responsible for most of Canada’s exports, corporate philanthropy, and private-sector investments in research and development.

Business Council of Canada 2016-2017 Annual Report

“supports a credible, transparent and efficient review process to ensure that major energy and resource projects do not threaten human health, nearby communities or the rights of Indigenous peoples.

CESO: Indigenous Services


With nearly 50 years as an international economic development organization, CESO delivers private sector development and strengthens governing structures to drive both economic and social change at local, national and international levels. Their Volunteer Advisors (VAs) are senior-level professionals who help to catalyze local economic growth by transferring their skills and knowledge to their partners and clients.

CESO has had a long history of working collaboratively with Indigenous communities to create environments where entrepreneurs, leaders, and members can thrive and prosper. CESO Indigenous Services provides flexible and affordable full-service solutions to support Indigenous businesses and communities. “Our approach is to enhance what’s already in the community – ideas, resources, talents and knowledge, by tapping into our large network of exceptional experts who are ready and willing to help, unmotivated by personal gains….This is supported by our business model of linking global networks and local expertise based on our ethical values, so we can provide professional expertise at a very affordable cost.” Stacia Kean (Director, CESO Indigenous Services).

The CESO Indigenous Services team is made up of diverse individuals of staff, volunteers and board members whose common goal is to enhance lives and livelihoods of Indigenous communities across the country. “Everyone has a part to play. At CESO, we strive to build meaningful relationships that inform our approach in every project,” Stacia describes the team’s daily motivation. “Our staff work hard to reach out to communities, listen to them and help them identify solutions to their challenges. Our board members are invested in connecting us to a larger network to grow our work with Indigenous communities, ensuring that our reach goes beyond where we’re at currently.”

August 28, 2017

Business Council of Canada

Environmental and Regulatory Reviews

Letter from John P. Manly, President and Chief Executive Officer:

In terms of the key principles outlined in the discussion paper:

  • We support meaningful public involvement in the assessment process, including ensuring that those directly affected have an adequate voice. However, a balance must be sought to ensure the entire process does not become unwieldly and prone to unacceptable delay.
  • We support meaningful and timely engagement of Indigenous peoples in projects and decisions that directly affect their interests.
  • We support evidence-based decision-making reflecting sound science and incorporating relevant Indigenous knowledge.
  • One project – one assessment must continue to be a guiding principle, both as to how they are handled among multiple department/agencies within the federal government, and also with respect to overlapping provincial/territorial jurisdiction.

August 28, 2017

Business Council of Canada

Impacts on Indigenous Peoples

We support the recommendation that legislation be amended to explicitly require assessment of any significant impacts on Indigenous peoples. Proponents of major resource projects, including many Business Council members, are keenly aware of the obligation to understand and be sensitive to the needs and expectations of Indigenous communities. Much progress has been made in recent years and companies are adopting strategies aimed at early engagement with local Indigenous communities and more active involvement throughout the life cycle of a project, through planning, design, construction and ongoing operation. Yet there are almost always questions that are vital to the interests of these communities that only governments can answer. Much more needs to be done to both reflect the principle of genuine consultation and to develop the capacity of Indigenous communities to participate actively and effectively in the regulatory process. Business is more than willing to do its part, but the fundamental responsibility is one that only governments, federal and provincial, can discharge. We are prepared to support the idea raised in the discussion paper, that a single government agency with increased capacity be given responsibility to coordinate consultation and accommodation.

The Supreme Court of Canada has recently provided further guidance on the scope of Indigenous consultation and accommodation. These cases again illustrate the importance of early engagement, that due consideration be given to the rights granted by treaties and that the degree of consultation and accommodation is related to the significance of the impact on recognized rights. They also underscore the proposition that while the proponent and the government must always consider ways to minimize the impact to the largest extent possible, the decision in the end is one governed by the overall public interest.

November 6, 2017

Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships

Jane Phillpot, Minister of Indigenous Services Keynote address 25th Annual CPP Conference, Nov. 2017

Established in 1993, CCPPP is a national not-for-profit non-partisan, member-based organization with broad representation from across the public and private sectors. Its mission is to promote smart, innovative and modern approaches to infrastructure development and service delivery through public-private partnerships with all levels of government. CCPPP has over 400 member organizations from across Canada and abroad.

25th Annual CPP Conference, Nov. 2017: keynote address by Jane Phillpot, Minister of Indigenous Services:

“Where I particularly see the potential for P3s to have an impact in indigenous communities is through the fantastic ability to bring design innovation to address risk transfer and the full costing of assets including the very important role of operations and maintenance,” Philpott explained. She also discussed some early P3 project success stories in indigenous communities including the Tlicho all-season road in the Northwest Territories. “It’s going to connect the community, allow for increased economic development and reduce the tremendous cost of transporting goods and services in and out of Whati (First Nations Community),” Philpott noted.

Minister Philpott will highlight the challenges in overcoming the infrastructure deficit in indigenous communities and discuss the need for innovative solutions, including partnerships among these communities, government and the private sector. This innovation will be important as we work with Indigenous partners to build clean drinking water facilities, safe schools, all-season roads, clean and reliable energy, broadband connectivity, and housing in indigenous communities.

August 28, 2017

Business Council of Canada

National Energy Board governance

We agree with the proposal to separate the roles of Chair and CEO, as well as the creation of an executive board to provide strategic direction to the NEB. We also see the value in creating separate hearing commissioners to participate in project reviews and in broadening the array of skills and expertise among these commissioners, including more Indigenous representation. Maintaining the National Energy Board in Calgary makes sense, as does the proposal to eliminate the residency requirement for Board members and hearing commissioners. And we see merit in investigating more streamlined dispute settlement procedures as an alternative to some formal adjudicative procedures.

September, 2016

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Seizing Six Opportunities for More Clarity in the Duty to Consult and Accommodate Process

Canadian Chamber of Commerce is a network of over 450+ Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes across all sectors of the Canadian economy


Opportunity 1: A Consistent Framework for the Duty to Consult and Accommodate

That the federal government:

More actively communicate the services available to assist proponents in obtaining background information on Indigenous peoples, their historical and current relationships with the Crown, their rights and relevant contact information.

Work with businesses, Indigenous peoples and other levels of government to develop a consistent duty to consult and accommodate framework that recognizes the different approaches to engagement, consultation, accommodation each community and project requires and clearly defines:

  • The aspect of the project that triggers the duty to consult and accommodate.
  • If the Crown will delegate all or some aspects of the consultation/accommodation, which ones and when.
  • The Indigenous peoples affected and their rights (established and/or potential).
  • The level of consultation required and how it should be undertaken.
  • What information the Crown will provide to businesses and Indigenous communities.
  • What resources/capacity are required by the Indigenous communities and who is responsible for providing them and bearing any costs involved.
  • The Crown’s involvement, including:
    • Primary contact person/resource
    • Whether it will facilitate pre-consultation engagement between the proponent(s) and the affected Indigenous communities.
    • Whether it will provide advice or direction only.
    • Whether it will be “on the ground” in the Indigenous community with the proponent, on its own or not at all.
  • Expectations of the affected Indigenous community(ies).
  • Timelines (for proponents, Indigenous communities, and the Crown).
  • How the Crown will monitor the consultation and accommodation negotiations between proponents and Indigenous communities to measure whether each met the expectations of them and met their commitments.

Opportunity 2: Remembering that Engagement with Indigenous Peoples Is Often More Effective than Consultation

The federal government needs to bring Indigenous and business representatives together to develop a robust framework for engagement that emphasizes building relationships as a first step, whenever feasible, before consultation and accommodation discussions focused on particular projects begin as well as what each party will be accountable for. The resulting framework must be accompanied by resources to assist the Crown, business and Indigenous communities in ensuring that engagement:

  • Respects the nation-to-nation relationship.
  • Reflects the rights and circumstances of Indigenous communities.
  • Provides businesses with the ground rules they need to avoid derailing potential projects due to missteps.

Opportunity 3: Demonstrating the Crown Has “Skin in the Game”

That the federal government establish a Commissioner of Indigenous Consultation and Accommodation within the Office of the Auditor General with the mandate of providing semi-annual whole-of-government reports on the federal Crown’s performance of its constitutional duties. In addition to assessing the Crown’s risk management, the Commissioner’s reports should include the number of consultations undertaken in the period reviewed, those that were conducted by the Crown, completely and/or partially delegated as well as their outcomes/status.

Opportunity 4: The Federal Government’s Commitment to a New, Respectful Relationship with Indigenous Peoples

The federal government:

  • By mid-2017, should establish the framework and timelines for the review of laws, policies and operational practices related to its implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the UNDRIP in its entirety. This review needs seek the perspectives of a broad range of stake/rights holders, including businesses and Indigenous communities, and address the tools to be available to each to fulfill additional obligations required of them.
  • Communicate, annually, its progress in addressing fundamental quality of life issues for Indigenous peoples including clean drinking water, housing, education and healthcare

Opportunity 5; Building Capacity for Indigenous Communities

That the federal government be more ambitious in its definitions of Indigenous capacity building including such options as:

  1. Tools to help Indigenous communities develop their own consultation guidelines for proponents based on their histories, rights and lands.
  2. Organizing, in cooperation with other levels of government, regional conferences, workshops, etc. for Indigenous communities to share their expertise, best practices, etc.
  3. Seeking the views of business and Indigenous representatives on a proponent-financed, arm’s-length fund that would be available for Indigenous communities to hire the capacity they do not have, what it could/could not be used for, etc.
  4. Working with the provinces/territories to develop a list of suggested legal, environmental and other advisers to whom Indigenous representatives could turn for assistance if needed.
  5. Assisting Indigenous communities to establish access to capital, for example, business loan guarantees and credit rating assistance.
  6. Helping Indigenous communities document their resources (natural, human, financial, etc).

Opportunity 6: Businesses Looking at Consultation and Accommodation as an Investment, Not an Expense

Other Actions and Commitments By Theme

Individual Business Initiatives

Read more

Government Programs

Read more

Perspectives on Duty to Consult

Read more

Indigenous Business Organizations

Read more

CCAB: Progressive Aboriginal Relations

Read more

Industry Association Commitments

Read more