Environment: Background Content

Specific Industry Environmental Issues

September 5, 2018


Agnico Whale Tail Gold Mine

Indigenous Group: Government of Nunavut and the Kivalliq Inuit Association

Business: Agnico Eagle Whale Tail Gold Mine

Issue: The Government of Nunavut wants the mining company to commit to various measures to protect caribou before the mine opens.

Comment: Other concerns revolve around permanent benefits to the community aside from the potential 42% employment opportunities plus infrastructure that will continue to serve the community after the mine closes

Last Update: Sept. 5, 2018: Agnico Eagle – We are grateful that Inuit hunters, trappers and elders have agreed to share their traditional knowledge (IQ) and to be part of a new Terrestrial Advisory Group (TAG) with biologists, operators and government representatives at the Meadowbank mine. They provide advice to inform Agnico Eagle’s environmental monitoring, mitigation and management of the terrestrial environment impacted by our Nunavut mining activities.

The TAG was officially established in 2018 and consists of members from Agnico Eagle, the Government of Nunavut, Kivalliq Inuit Association and the Hunting and Trappers Organization of Baker Lake. Through knowledge sharing and collaboration, TAG members use Meadowbank’s “Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Plan” to monitor land use issues, such as habitat loss and caribou interactions with our Nunavut operations.

March 3, 2021


BC Hydro’s Site C Dam

First People’s Law – In February, the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta issued a Declaration of Indigenous Solidarity calling for the immediate suspension of the Site C project until the Crown’s consultation obligations are fulfilled and until the court has determined West Moberly’s treaty infringement claim.

January 26, 2021


BC Hydro’s Site C Dam

Indigenous Group: Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Business: BC Hydro and Government of BC

Issue: $9 billion Site C dam would flood 107 kilometers of the Peace River and its tributaries including the traditional lands of the Treaty 8 First Nations.

Comment: The most expensive public project ever undertaken in the province has generated numerous protests from a broad cross-section of BC and national organizations who object to the lack of an effective environmental assessment and consultation with impacted First Nations. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs are concerned about BC Hydro’s attempts at fast tracking construction of the proposed Site C project despite legal issues, including those related to violation their constitutionally protected treaty rights.

“This decision will see the flooding of over 9330 hectares of Treaty 8 First Nation territories forever, including 120 kilometers of the Peace River further impeding its flow northward, destroying burial sites, traditional hunting and gathering places, and sacred spaces. The Provincial and Federal governments’ decision to proceed and issue permits with respect to the Site C Dam was made without the full, prior and informed consent of Treaty 8 First Nations, and in contrast to the findings of the joint federal and provincial environmental impact assessment which clearly stated that the Site C dam will undermine Indigenous and Treaty 8 rights.” Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations

Last Update: Jan. 26, 2021: Vancouver Sun – West Moberly will be in court next year, claiming infringement of its treaty rights and damage to its traditional territories from construction of Site C and other BC Hydro dams on the Peace River. For now, Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations is seeking details of what Hydro learned more than a year ago about geotechnical instability under the foundations for the Site C generating station, spillways and the earth-fill dam itself.

“Details of the escalating costs and safety concerns remain shrouded in secrecy, with the premier refusing to release the report prepared by his special adviser, Peter Milburn,” said Victoria lawyer Tim Thielmann in releasing Willson’s open letter. The NDP government commissioned the Milburn report before the election and received it late last year. Horgan has refused to disclose the contents, except to confirm it addresses Hydro’s proposed “fix” to the stability concerns with the dam. But the premier admitted recently that Milburn, a civil engineer and former deputy minister of finance, “did not have the capacity to address the safety challenges” arising from the “geotechnical issues.” Hence the government decision to recruit two international experts on dam safety to rule on the “efficacy of the fix,” as Horgan put it.

West Moberly is also prepared to return to court to seek an injunction to stop construction. The First Nation failed in an earlier attempt in 2018, with the court instead ordering the treaty rights claim be heard in full before the Site C reservoir is scheduled to be filled in 2023. The case is set down for 120 days of court time, starting March 14, 2022.

April 2, 2020


BC Hydro’s Site C Dam

The Narwhal – BC Hydro offered West Moberly First Nations $28 million in lump-sum payments and annual payments to address the impacts of the Site C dam, according to new court documents for a treaty rights infringement trial. They turned the offer down: $3.5 million in lump sum payments over three instalments and annual payments of $350,000 for 70 years, indexed for inflation, for a total of $28 million before inflation. Four B.C. Treaty 8 First Nations — West Moberly First Nations, Prophet River First Nation, Blueberry River First Nations and Fort Nelson First Nation — have not signed Site C impact benefits and land transfer agreements.

July 18, 2017


BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC)

Indigenous Group: Fort Nelson First Nation

Business: Rockyview Resources Inc. and BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC)

Issue: The 39K gas pipeline is slated to cut across a critical habitat of the boreal woodland caribou, a provincially and federally recognized species at risk

Comment: July 18, 2017: The Narwhal – The 39km proposed gas pipeline cuts right through core caribou habitat in an area with the most concentrated and highest known use by boreal caribou for forage, calving, rearing and protection from predators. This area has been important harvesting grounds but in particular, the area contains very important habitat for caribou, which people have relied on for many generations to feed their families. “We clearly have an interest in saving and helping restore caribou populations and, for this reason, our community has chosen not to hunt caribou until the population stabilizes. We expect the same stewardship ethic from companies who wish to access our territory for economic purposes,” she said.
Economic development is encouraged in FNFN territory provided it creates long-term benefits for members and respects land, water and treaty rights, acting Chief Sharlene Gale said. According to an FNFN background paper, there have been 77 referrals for projects within the territory over the last year and the Rockyview proposal is the only one the community rejected.

Last Update: July 18, 2017: Canadian Mining Journal – Throughout the application process, FNFN made strong submissions to the BCOGC regarding the proposed pipeline. This included developing a plan (the FNFN Caribou Report) to support the recovery of the caribou in that area, and a consultation process specific to the proposed project application. The BCOGC refused the invitation to work out a specific consultation process and deemed it not practical to consider the FNFN Caribou Report. This resulted in the BCOGC using inadequate and incomplete data to determine that the proposed pipeline poses ‘no material adverse effect’ (MAE) to the caribou populations in the area. The BCOGC has not provided a clear explanation of this determination.

After several failed attempts by FNFN to meet with the BCOGC, the project was approved on June 23, 2017.

April 9, 2021


BC Salmon Fishery

Canada’s National Observer – On Monday, Federal Court Justice Peter George Pamel said Mowi Canada West and Saltstream would suffer substantial harm if they couldn’t transfer juvenile fish into three farm sites in the area. But Homalco Chief Darren Blaney said the companies’ win comes at the expense of wild salmon and all the First Nations dependent on the fish for food, and economic or cultural reasons. The Homalco and Tla’amin Nation were denied the right to intervene and speak on the issue that concerned their rights. 102 First Nations along the coast are opposed to the fish farms yet they were not allowed to intervene at the court to present their objections.

See also “Business and Reconciliation: Current Problems – Legislative and Institutional Barriers – DFO support of Fish Farms”

August 12, 2019


BC Salmon Fishery

Indigenous Group: Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Namgis, Tlowitsis and Mamalilikulla First Nations

Business: Marine Harvest Canada

Issue: Long struggle with federal and provincial governments to fully recognize and address the threat of salmon fish farms to wild salmon

Comment: Wild salmon is an integral part of the ecosystem and a central part of First Nations cultures on the west coast. The release of 350,000 farmed atlantic salmon into the pacific ecosystem threatens the spawning grounds and survival of pacific salmon. The Indigenous community has opposed the industry since it was first introduced and has never signed an agreement with any company operating in its traditional territories. The province has disregarded the First Nation’s opposition when issuing permits. First Nations have established peaceful protests at Wicklow Point salmon farm & Swanson Island.

Latest Updates: August 12, 2019The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) – writes in support of the ‘Namgis First Nation’s position that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO should prohibit introductions of Atlantic salmon infected with PRV into open-net fish farms. The scientific evidence continues to show that PRV was likely introduced to British Columbia (BC) from Europe and is a foreign virus that can cause significant harm to populations of native, wild Pacific salmon. Unfortunately, the DFO continues to ignore this.

June 21, 2019


Bill C-48: Oil and Tanker Moratorium Act

Indigenous Group: First Nations in Northwest BC

Business: Alberta Oil and Gas companies

Issue: Banning oil tanker traffic along the BC coast north of Vancouver Island

Comment: Bill C-48: “An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast”.
June 17, 2019: Coastal First Nations: Great Bear Initiative – The Great Bear Rainforest is still largely intact due to special measures taken by both the federal and provincial governments. Bill C-48 will be complementary to these efforts, as well as the longstanding Voluntary Tanker Exclusion Zone Agreement between Canada and the United States. Unlike other coasts in Canada, there is no existing tanker traffic on the North Coast and formalizing the moratorium will not disrupt any existing jobs or economic activity in the region. It will help protect existing industries, including fisheries, aquaculture and eco-tourism. This issue has pitted province against province (primarily BC and Alberta) and Indigenous groups against Indigenous groups.

Last Update: June 21, 2019Bill C-48 receives Royal Assent. This Act prohibits oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia. It will provide a high level of protection for the coastline around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The moratorium area extends from the Canada/United States border in the north, down to the point on British Columbia’s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and also includes Haida Gwaii. To ensure northern communities can receive critical shipments of heating oils and other products, vessels carrying less than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oil as cargo will continue to be permitted to stop, load and unload in the moratorium area.

December 7, 2022

Canada’s Forest Sector Releases National Report on Biodiversity Conservation

Earlier today, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) released a national conservation report entitled: Conservation Forestry – Careful Use of Canada’s Forest Resources. The report identifies the link between Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and the progress being made on biodiversity goals, Indigenous-led management, and net-zero carbon targets.

The report provides insights into sustainable forest management in Canada, the world-leading regulatory frameworks in place, the growing impacts of fires on forest health, and the commitment of Canadian forestry workers to supporting the birds, mammals, and fish that call Canada’s forests home. It also recognizes forestry as a critical tool in the global toolbox to support biodiversity and climate change.

This report comes on the heels of a global report by Dalberg, issued during the recent COP27 climate meetings in Egypt, which outlined how governments around the world are turning to the benefits of climate smart forestry and the forest bioeconomy to support climate action as well as sustainable and inclusive economic development.

“As we face worsening fire patterns across the country, climate smart forestry is part of the solution to protect families, communities, and critical infrastructure, and reduce carbon emissions,” said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor.

“The world is waking up to the forest sector’s essential role in meeting international climate change targets,” noted FPAC’s SVP and Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Lindsay. “In Canada, sustainable forest management can be a key component to realizing our domestic and international goals and objectives regarding biodiversity and climate change. As we head into important COP15 discussions this report will help shine a light on the ability of Canada’s forest sector to contribute to our international commitments on biological diversity and climate change,” she added.

The full report can be found here.

To request a French copy of the report, click here.

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $75B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 225,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country. FPAC and its members are committed to collaborating with Indigenous leaders, federal and provincial governments, labour partners, community groups, and other rightsholders and stakeholders to secure and advance the sector’s environmental, social, and economic potential for the long-term.

Indigenous-Led Forest Management

Over 70% of Indigenous communities in Canada are located in forested areas. Not surprisingly, these forests have played a central role in meeting the cultural, spiritual and material needs of Indigenous peoples.

Indigenous and treaty rights are protected by Canada’s constitution, and this is increasingly reflected in forest policy and forest management practices. It is widely recognized that Indigenous peoples have an integral role in furthering sustainable forest management objectives through the application of Indigenous knowledge and an intrinsic awareness of community values on the land base.

Recent decades have seen a steadily expanding role for Indigenous peoples in managing Canada’s forests through a wide variety of approaches. Notably, in recent years, Canada has seen an increase in the forest land and resources under Indigenous management, both in terms of fibre volume allocations and area-based tenures. Currently, Indigenous-held fibre allocations account for over 19 million m3, or 9.1% of the total available wood fibre from Canada’s managed forests. This represents an increase of over 11 million m3, or 135%, since 2003. On an area basis, the portion of the managed forest under Indigenous-held tenure totals 17 million hectares, or approximately 7.5% of the total managed forest area.

In addition to these direct, Indigenous-held volume and area-based tenures, new approaches to forest tenure are creating opportunities for greater co-management of the forest through Indigenous-private sector partnerships.

The extent to which Indigenous peoples and communities are directly involved in the management of Canada’s forests is expected to increase in the coming years. The Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) is a recent example of programs supporting the growth of Indigenous involvement in the forest sector. The IFI provides financial support to Indigenous- led economic development projects, businesses, careers and governance, notably in forest stewardship and participation in the forest bioeconomy.

The Importance of Indigenous Knowledge and Involvement in Forest Management

“Given than most Indigenous communities are located in or near forested lands (over 70 per cent of First Nations) and have a long history of forest management, encouraging increased Indigenous involvement in decision-making and in the forest sector will strengthen Indigenous communities and provide significant contributions to Canada’s forest-based economy and sustainable forest management objectives.”

 Canadian Council of Forest Ministers – Indigenous Peoples and Forests

November 25, 2019


Chemical Valley – Sarnia

The Varsity, University of Toronto – Researchers at The Technoscience Research Team (TRU), an Indigenous-led lab at U of T launched a Pollution Reporter app, which allows members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation to report the pollutants in and around their land, and how they are affected by them. According to a 2011 report by the World Health Organization, the air surrounding the reservation has been the most polluted in the country.

See also Perspectives: “How much is and Indian life worth? Apparently, not very much.” May 29, 2020

October 10, 2019


Chemical Valley – Sarnia

Indigenous Group: Aamjiwnaang First Nation

Business: Multiple Petrochemical plants (57 polluters)
Issue: Chemical releases from area industries and the province’s lack of enforcement of its own environmental laws.

Comment: Experts and documents cast doubts on whether industry and Ontario government are revealing levels of pollutants in areas where residents live near oil and gas facilities.

The government has never done a baseline study to see how residents are affected. According to a joint study conducted by the Star, Global News and journalism schools at Ryerson and Concordia universities, only one public warning has been issued for an industrial incident and the Environment Ministry has laid charges in only four cases since 2013. That record makes it sound as if the area is safe for residents. But more than 500 incident reports over those years suggest just the opposite. These have included an industrial leak of toxic benzene estimated at 22 times the provincial air quality standard in place today, hydrocarbon emissions from a valve left open for three months, and a two-hour leak of hydrogen sulphide from tanks.

“Having a First Nation community next to gas, oil and chemical plants amounts to “environmental racism,” he says. “There’s no way that a white community would be up against the fence line with one of the largest industrial concentrations in the country. Anybody who is informed on this issue knows how dangerous this really is.” Jim Brophy, former executive director of Sarnia’s Occupational Health Clinic

Last Updates: Oct. 10, 2019 – A government whistleblower claims the provinces’ environment ministry has for years failed to protect the Aamjiwaang First Nation, whose ancestral land near Sarnia is surrounded by petroleum refineries and chemical plants from potentially dangerous levels of sulphur dioxide emissions due to “systemic discrimination” that includes yielding to “secretive” industry lobbying to relax compliance standards.

July 27, 2017


Clyde River

Indigenous Group: Inuit Hamlet at Clyde River in Nunavut

Business: Petroleum Geo-Services Inc. and NEB

Issue: Seismic testing in and near marine areas where Inuit have treaty rights.

Comment: The waters are populated by marine mammals such as whales and seals and polar bears which the Inuit rely on for their livelihood, food and cultural practice.

It has been Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) position that a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) should be conducted before any permit for seismic testing be issued. A SEA would allow for the assessment of potential benefits to Inuit and effects on marine mammals. NTI and QIA are currently participating in the SEA process led by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Last Update: July 27, 2017: Arctic Today – The Supreme Court of Canada on July 26 quashed the National Energy Board’s June 2014 authorization of a five-year seismic testing project in the waters of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, east of Baffin Island. That’s because the NEB failed to properly carry out the Crown’s duty to consult the Inuit of Clyde River on a development project that affects their Aboriginal and treaty rights, the Supreme Court said. “While the Crown may rely on the NEB’s process to fulfill its duty to consult, the consultation and accommodation efforts in this case were inadequate and fell short in several respects,” the ruling said.

Those failings include:

  • failing to consider the impact of the proposed testing on Inuit treaty rights and failing to assess the source of those rights;
  • failing to make the Crown’s duty to consult clear to the Inuit; and
  • failing to conduct the necessary “deep consultation.”

November 18, 2021


Coastal GasLInk Pipeline

Toronto Star – Fifteen people, including Indigenous elders, media and legal observers, had been arrested by the afternoon, according to Jennifer Wickham, a spokesperson for the hereditary chiefs and their supporters. Wickham stressed they had been acting peacefully. Wickham said armed RCMP officers in tactical gear with canine units and heavy machinery moved into the Gidimt’en blockade at the 44-kilometre mark of the Morice Forest Service Road, using a vehicle and other obstacles to block the road. The blockade had been in place since Sunday after being set up by members of the Gidimt’en clan, one of five in the Wet’suwet’en Nation. They described the blockade as an effort to enforce an “eviction notice” on the company that the nation had first issued last year.

Wickham said Thursday the memorandum of understanding was meant to work toward agreements on Wet’suwet’en rights and titles; it did not include consent to the pipeline. She said pipeline opponents largely stepped back from protests due to the pandemic and to see how the talks progressed.

But they have not gone anywhere, she said.

March 10, 2020


Coastal GasLInk Pipeline

Indigenous Group: 17 First Nations communities

Business: LNG Canada & TransCanada

Issue: Construction of approximately 670 km pipeline to transport natural gas in BC from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are opposed to the project that criminalizes Anuk Nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en laws)

Comment: This $40 billion project has been met with a mix of opposition and support from First Nations groups. In July 2018, the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project conditionally awarded $620 million in contract work to northern BC Indigenous businesses for the project’s right-of-way clearing, medical, security and camp management needs.

The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation remain opposed (even though their elected band council has endorsed the project). Under the authority of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, a non-violent gathering of Indigenous land defenders and members of the Unist’ot’en house group in Wet’suwet’en territory actively practiced their inherent Indigenous Title and Rights to protect the land and pursue their right to self-determination. Coastal GasLink sought an interim, interlocutory or permanent injunction, as well as financial damages against the Unist’ot’en land defenders for “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access” to their proposed project site.

Latest Updates: Dec. 5, 2018Union of BC Indian Chiefs –Under the authority of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, a non-violent gathering of Indigenous land defenders and members of the Unist’ot’en house group in Wet’suwet’en territory actively practiced their inherent Indigenous Title and Rights to protect the land and pursue their right to self-determination. Coastal GasLink sought an interim, interlocutory or permanent injunction, as well as financial damages against the Unist’ot’en land defenders for “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access” to their proposed project site.

A central tenant to the standards and rights affirmed within the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which both Canada and BC have endorsed and committed to implement, is the right of Indigenous peoples to protect their lands and territories, to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with the lands and to own, use, develop and control those lands. Article 8 of the UN Declaration calls on States to provide effective mechanisms for prevention of any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing indigenous peoples of their lands, territories or resources.

April 17, 2017


Copper One Mine

Indigenous Group: Mitchikanibikok Inik also known as Algonquins of Barrière Lake

Business: Copper One

Issue: Mine will degrade land and pollute the headwaters of the Ottawa River

Comment: April 17, 2017: Ecojustice (University of Ottawa) – Copper One, a junior mining company, filed a mandamus application to force the Quebec government to grant it “deforestation permits” that will allow it to start mining exploration activities in the Mitchikanibikok Inik traditional territory. In 1991, the Mitchikanibikok Inik signed a trilateral agreement with the governments of Canada and Quebec to establish a system of sustainable development over 10,000 square kilometres of their un-ceded traditional territory. Negotiations regarding implementation are ongoing. The Mitchikanibikok Inik are calling on the court to reject the mining company’s lawsuit to open their un-ceded territory for forestry and mining exploration.

Latest Update: Sept. 16, 2021: Ecojustice – The Mitchikanibikok Inik First Nation (also known as the Algonquins of Barriere Lake) will be in the Superior Court of Quebec today for an interim hearing in a case that challenges the constitutionality of certain sections of Quebec’s Mining Act. They have fought for years to keep their ancestral territories, a space twice the size of Prince Edward Island, off limits to mining.

The Quebec government has continually relied on a premise known as “free entry mining” enshrined in the province’s archaic Mining Act to ignore its constitutional duty to consult the Mitchikanibikok Inik about mining on their ancestral lands. This, their case argues, is a clear violation of their constitutional rights. Quebec is arguing that the First Nation has not been detailed enough about the prejudicial effects on the community’s rights which could be caused by the granting, transfer or renewal of mining claims on their territory. Danielle Gallant, lawyer, Ecojustice, said: “This case is not about predicting future harm. It is about the community’s right to be consulted before any harm, arising from yet-unknown mining plans, happens. That is the heart of this case.

“This motion is an attempt by the Quebec government to distract from the core issue of the case and deny the Mitchikanibikok Inik their day in court

February 1, 2020


Deep Geologic Repository

The Kincardine News – Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) members voted against a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR), for low and intermediate-level nuclear waste, as proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for the Bruce nuclear site in Kincardine. The vote was 1,058 “No” votes, 170 “Yes

August 23, 2017


Deep Geologic Repository

Indigenous Group: Chippewas of Saugeen and Chippewas of Nawash First Nations

Business: Ontario Power Generation (OPG)

Issue: Ongoing deposits of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste in Saugeen Ojibway Nation territory

Comment: The leadership of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) have fought for over ten years to ensure the voice of their Communities would be heard

Latest Updates: August 23, 2017 – In a significant expression of support for free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the environmental assessment process for OPG’s proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste has been halted until the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) has made an informed decision on whether to support the project Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change has requested more data that hinges on the outcome of SON’s community-driven decision-making process, Anishnaabekiing, Anishnaabe Inwewin, Anishnaabe Naaknigewin – Our Territory, Our Voice, Our Decisions.

“The commitment from OPG secured our right to consent on the DGR Project, but our People have maintained that our right to free, prior and informed consent must also be recognized by the Crown. This has finally happened,” said Chief Lester Anoquot of Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. “This is a victory we share with all Indigenous Peoples fighting similar battles to have their right to consent respected.”

September 1, 2022

Deep Geological Repository proposed in Treaty #3 Territory: Statement

Anishinaabe Nation: Over the past several weeks there has been media speculation as to the proceedings of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s Adaptive Phased Management project and the development of a Deep Geological Repository in the Treaty #3 Territory. In relation to any project in the jurisdiction of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3, Manito Aki Inakonigaawin (Great Earth Law) provides the guidance and framework for decision making in order to respect the jurisdiction and protocols of both the Nation and Treaty #3 Communities.

As it relates to the NWMO site selection process and the proposed nuclear storage through the development of a deep geological repository in the center of Treaty #3 Territory and outside of any municipal boundaries in unorganized treaty territory, it is, and will continue to be the stance of Grand Council Treaty #3 and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation that the Learn More Agreements with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) do not indicate a position or opinion on the development. Alternatively, these agreements and ongoing work of both Grand Council Treaty #3 and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation ensure that the laws and protocols of both, are foundational to any decisions that are made.

These Learn More agreements are resources that allow for the community of Wabigoon and the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 to ensure these protocols are carried out and inform both the community and the Nation prior to any decision being made. Current agreements speak to development of language revitalization, land based learning, environmental monitoring, Project Assessment processes and education on the nuclear industry http://gct3.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/GCT3-Nuclear-101-Guidebook-2022-FNL.pdf).

Elders of Treaty #3 have vehemently opposed the development of any project related to nuclear waste and previous resolutions passed by Chiefs in Assembly opposed nuclear waste within Treaty #3 boundaries. Many Anishinaabe citizens in Treaty #3 remain opposed to nuclear waste developments within the boundaries of Treaty #3. Resolution CA-20-38 in 2020 speaks to the need to engage with NWMO and ensure the protocols of Manito Aki Inakonigaawin are adhered to in any potential project in the Treaty #3 Territory.

Through respect of Treaty #3 Nation and Community processes guiding the Learn More Agreements the eventual decision of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3, whether it be in favour or opposition to the Deep Geological Repository, will be informed and rooted in the traditional governance structure, laws and protocols of the Nation ensuring all citizens are represented. The current process includes both Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation’s own internal consultation processes as the lead community, as well as the Nation’s process as mandated within Manito Aki Inakonigaawin.

The Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation are resolute in their ongoing utilization of the nation’s protocols through Manito Aki Inakonigaawin and the importance of free, prior, and informed consent. This is only possible through the continued engagement with NWMO through Learn More Agreements. When the Nation provides its decision on these matters it will be informed, rooted in the Nations protocols and be founded on defensible arguments. Historically speaking, ill-advised and emotional reactions by First Nations have led to industry and governments to dismiss decisions and jurisdiction. It is the position of both Grand Council Treaty #3 and Wabigoon Lake that through Manito Aki Inakonigaawin and community consultation protocols, any authorization of the project based on Anishinaabe law will ensure the Anishinaabe Nation’s responsibilities to the land and water are fulfilled.

The Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation will always defend our inherent and Treaty rights as a Nation within its territory. The best interests of the citizens of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 will always be of the utmost priority and decisions made by the Nation will continue to be guided by Manito Aki Inakonigaawin and the informed decisions of the people.

For the sake of greater clarity, we have established alliances and partnerships with other regions and tribal governments based on common interests and protocols sanctioned through ceremony. It will remain our position that Grand Council Treaty #3 will not comment or interfere in projects or activities occurring in other regions based on our understanding of the sacred protocols we have with our existing partners.


“Our people have been learning more about this project but it is a very complex matter. The feeling of the community remains one of skepticism but I can assure everyone that whatever our decision will be, it will be an informed decision,” said Chief Clayton Wetelainen. “If the answer is no, then we will have gone through both our own processes and those under our Nation’s law and Manito Aki Inakonigaawin, to make sure we know exactly what we are deciding upon. If the answer is Yes, our members will have decided through guidance by ceremony, facts and science which has satisfied safety and risk. This will take time, but in the end our decision will be a decision that is founded in fact and one we have made with absolute certainty.”

“The Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 stands behind Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation in its consultation processes,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “I am incredibly proud of Chief Wetelainen and his Council for also recognizing the role of our Nation’s law in the form of Manito Aki Inakonigaawin in these processes that address developments in the core of Treaty #3’s territory. As Ogichidaa, I will always support the will of the citizens of Wabigoon Lake, and the rest of the Anishinaabe citizens in Treaty #3 on all matters within our territorial boundaries.”


For more information please contact: Lucas King, TPU Director – (807) 464-5692 or by email Lucas.King@treaty3.ca

August 8, 2019


Eastern Arctic

iPolitics – The Trudeau government has issued a new order expanding a moratorium on oil and gas work in offshore areas in Canada’s arctic. An order-in-council, issued on July 28 by cabinet, prohibits all offshore oil and gas activities in the area, building off a moratorium on issuing new oil and gas licenses announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016, alongside then-U.S. president Barack Obama. The new order-in-council is to remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2021.

It also freezes the conditions of all existing licences permitting oil and gas work in the area, meaning the licences won’t elapse while the moratorium is in place.

May 13, 2019


Eastern Arctic

Indigenous Group: Inuit: Eastern Arctic: Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIT)

Business: Oil and Gas exploration

Issue: This is the final year of a five-year moratorium on Arctic offshore energy development, which is to be reconsidered in 2020.

Comment: May 12, 2019: Globe and Mail – An Inuit land-claim group is asking the federal government to permanently protect large sections of the Eastern Arctic from any industrial development. The request is part of a huge effort to map out how and where oil, gas and mining should go ahead on land and water around Baffin Island and how they can co-exist with traditional Inuit life.“There isn’t enough known about the impacts of such development to allow any of it.” P. J. Akeeagok, President QIT

Latest Updates: May 13, 2019: Canadian Press – A report, delivered to the federal Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs department, doesn’t draw lines on a map. But the area in question is in the Baffin Bay-Davis Strait region, where three Norwegian companies attempted to do seismic tests for oil and gas in 2015. It’s not part of any marine protected area currently under federal consideration. Communities along the Baffin coast, with the territorial government and environmental groups, opposed the seismic work. The issue eventually went to the Supreme Court, which ruled local people hadn’t been adequately consulted, and the tests never went ahead.

The Inuit are also asking Ottawa for seasonal bans on marine transport when important animals such as narwhal, walrus and seals are calving. “Inuit, being coastal people, we heavily rely on wildlife,” said Akeeagok.

The association’s report comes after extensive consultations in seven communities on Baffin and Ellesmere islands. They were held as part of a strategic environmental assessment led by the Nunavut Impact Review Board. The board is considering economic, environmental and social factors to create a blueprint for how development should proceed. The Eastern Arctic is thought to hold large deposits of oil and gas. There are 20 significant discovery licences for the Arctic islands and one off the southern tip of Baffin Island.

The association has a list of demands before any moratorium is lifted.

  • It wants the federal government to create a dedicated research institute for Arctic oil and gas as well as a permanent advisory body to ensure traditional knowledge is taken into account in decision-making.
  • It also wants governments to look at alternative ways, such as fisheries and tourism, to develop the area’s economy. Benefits and job opportunities must be part of any new projects, said Akeeagok

September 29, 2021


Enbridge Line 3

The pipeline giant said Wednesday the 1,765-kilometre Line 3 — which will carry oil from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wis. — is “substantially complete.

August 6, 2020


Enbridge Line 3

The Government of Canada – has approved Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project, subject to 37 binding conditions that will be enforced by the National Energy Board (NEB) before construction can begin, during construction and during operation. The conditions will ensure that the pipeline and facilities are built and operated in a manner that is safe for Canadians and the environment. The project will involve the replacement of 1,067 kilometres of existing pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Gretna, Manitoba,

February 21, 2018


Enbridge Line 3

Indigenous Group: 122 First Nations and Tribes

Business: Enbridge Pipelines Inc.

Issue: All 122 First Nations and Tribes have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion

Comment: The Enbridge Line 3 project represented Enbridge Pipelines Inc.’s largest project in history at the time. It started as a $15.7 billion dollar replacement and expansion that would run from Hardisty, Alberta, (southeast of Edmonton and about 100 kilometres from the Saskatchewan border), and end at Irving Oil Ltd.’s refinery in Saint John. Along the way, it would run through Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Montreal and Quebec City are both along the proposed route. With widespread opposition the route was changed to run from Hardisty, Albeta to Gretna, Manitoba befor heading south to end at Superior, Wisconsin.

Latest Updates: Feb. 21, 2018: JWN – The new Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 Replacement Program. The committee is intended to enhance relationships in the Line 3 corridor. It is also to create a forum for Indigenous nations to advise regulators on integrating traditional knowledge and cultural values into monitoring the safety, environmental performance, and socio-economic aspects of the project. The committee’s terms of reference were co-developed by representatives of Indigenous nations potentially impacted by the project, in partnership with the Government of Canada and the NEB. Sixteen Indigenous members were selected by First Nations and Metis in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to sit as representatives alongside two federal members.

July 27, 2021

AB, Fed. Govt., ON

Grassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong First Nations

Indigenous Group: Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation); Wabaseemoong First Nation

Business: Reed Paper (defunct)

Issue: Mercury poisoning over a 50-year period resulting in 90% of the 1500 residents developing Minamata disease and the loss of their commercial fishery industry

Comment: Aug. 18, 2016: Toronto Star – When Reed Paper dumped 9,000 kg of mercury into the headwaters of the river that flows through Grassy Narrows First Nation residents’ lands and lives in the 1960’s, their once sustaining waterway was transformed into what some residents still see as a “river of poison.” Multiple federal and provincial governments have repeatedly denied any mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows despite all the evidence to the contrary that the Wabigoon River was, and still is, contaminated.

In 2018, the Toronto Star reported that cord blood, blood and hair tests showed mercury exposure in Grassy Narrows. The results supported what people had been saying for decades. This data – collected eight years after the mercury was dumped into the river – sat in 91 banker’s boxes in Thunder Bay and Ottawa. Health Canada did send letters to some residents who had high levels of mercury, but a large number of residents had to fight Health Canada to receive their results. The Mercury Disability Board, established in the mid-eighties, turned down roughly 70% of all applicants for compensation.

Last Update: July 27, 2021: Toronto Star – The federal government committed $90M for a care home that will treat those poisoned by mercury.

The deal includes;

  • $68.9M in a trust for operational and servicing costs over 30 years and an agreement to periodically review the funding levels.
  • $19.5M previously announced for construction costs for the facility

See also Perspectives: ‘How much is an “Indian” life worth? Apparently not very much.” May 29, 2020

February 1, 2016


Great Bear Rainforest

Indigenous Group: 26 First Nations

Business: BC Government

Issue: Industrial developments, logging, and the combined effects of climate change continue to threaten the cultural and ecological integrity of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Comment: First Nations are concerned about the environmental impacts of destructive logging practices and the lack of economic benefits for their communities from ongoing logging.

BC Government – The Great Bear Rainforest was established through land-use decisions announced in 2006. This globally unique area covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast and is home to 26 separate First Nations. Ecosystem-based management in the area is defined as “concurrent achievement of high levels of ecological integrity and high levels of human well-being.” With the new measures, 85% of the forest will be protected and 15% will be available for logging, supporting local jobs. The land-use order also addresses First Nations’ cultural heritage resources, freshwater ecosystems and wildlife habitat.

Last Update: Feb. 1, 2016The final Great Bear Rainforest Agreement – was signed between First Nations and the British Columbia government, permanently conserving 19 million acres of Pacific coast between Vancouver Island and southeast Alaska. About 9 million acres are off limits to logging, with the balance managed under some of the world’s most stringent harvest standards.

June 9, 2022


Great Bear Rainforest Review: How to preserve and protect while supporting sustainable forestry

NationTalk:The Province has been working in government-to-government partnership with First Nations and seeking input from stakeholders to complete a five-year review of the implementation of ecosystem-based management (EBM) in the Great Bear Rainforest. EBM is a land and resource management approach that considers the interconnectedness of people, place and ecology. EBM seeks to find the balance between conservation and economic development in a way that supports local communities and the broader ecosystem.

“The Great Bear Rainforest is recognized worldwide for its co-management approach, with First Nations working in partnership with the Province and industry to steward ecosystem health and provide economic opportunities for communities,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship. “These innovative partnerships demonstrate what can be achieved together, and we are committed not only to strengthening the Great Bear Rainforest, but also to building on its success in collaborative stewardship throughout British Columbia.”

The goal of the review is to identify and resolve issues and make improvements to the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order (GBRLUO) in order to achieve ecological and social goals. Technical work is complete and, in advance of decision-making, the Province is releasing proposed amendments for public comment.

The engagement, which will be open for 60 days, will cover four key themes:

  • First Nations: Increased oversight of forest planning and harvest activity by First Nations and stronger protection and stewardship of Indigenous cultural heritage and use of forest resources.
  • Aquatic habitat: Strengthened requirements for protection of important fisheries watersheds, maintenance of watershed health and stewardship of fish-bearing rivers and streams and other important aquatic habitats and riparian forests.
  • Biodiversity: An improved landscape reserve design (LRD) process that will enable First Nations to take a stronger role in developing LRDs and expedite the protection of important forest values, including rare and at-risk old growth. LRDs map and protect the old growth targets in the GBRLUO plan area and consider a wide range of cultural and ecological values in directing where logging can occur.
  • Wildlife: Increased requirements for the protection and stewardship of habitat for regionally important wildlife, particularly grizzly bears and black bears, and including kermode (spirit) bears.

The 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order is managed under B.C.’s Land Act and is the product of almost 20 years of negotiation. Together with the 2017 Great Bear Rainforest Act, which was enacted as an outcome of the 2014 Great Bear Rainforest review and government-to-government discussions between First Nations and the Province, the GBRLUO helped establish a more complete legal framework for implementing EBM in the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Province is committed to continuing this collaborative approach, with legislative reviews scheduled for 2021, 2026 and every subsequent 10 years.

Following public engagement and government-to-government discussions with First Nations, an updated version of the GBRLUO will be developed.

Quick Facts:

  • The Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coasts, approximately 7% of the province, an area nearly the size of Ireland.
  • The Great Bear Rainforest includes 1.8 million hectares of old-growth forests.
  • The Great Bear Rainforest represents one-quarter of the coastal temperate rainforests in the world.
  • The Great Bear Rainforest overlaps with the territories of 26 First Nations.
  • The Great Bear Rainforest agreements aimed to strike a balance between conservation and development.
  • The agreements removed 85% of the land base from development, leaving 15% for sustainable logging under strict new management practices.

January 21, 2020

Fed. Govt.

Grizzly Bear Spirit

Outside – After 30 years, Ktunaxa First Nation, with help from the Canadian government and Patagonia, finally shut down the Jumbo Glacier ski-resort development. Members of the Ktunaxa Nation, along with environmental organizations and governmental agencies, announced a plan to create an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area over a swathe of the Purcell Mountains that includes the Jumbo Valley. The designation aims to protect cultural values and biological diversity in the area.

November 2, 2017

Fed. Govt.

Grizzly Bear Spirit

Indigenous Group: Ktunaxa First Nation

Business: Jumbo Glacier Resorts

Issue: Development of a ski resort at Jumbo mountain, a site for spiritual ceremonies of the Ktunaxa First Nation to honor Grizzly Bear Spirit, a principal figure in their religion.

Comment: The Ktunaxa assert that charter protection for freedom of religion must include not only spiritual beliefs, but also underlying sacred sites, in this case an area known as Qat’muk.

Latest Updates: Nov. 2, 2017The Supreme Court of Canada – ruled that the approval of a ski resort in a region held sacred by Indigenous people does not violate their constitutional right to freedom of religion. The Supreme Court ruled that religious protections under the charter do not extend that far and only cover freedom to hold such beliefs and the right to manifest them through worship and teaching. A majority of the court ruled that the charter protects the freedom to worship, but does not protect the spiritual focal point of worship.

Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the AFN said the ruling fails to grasp how Indigenous people are connected to the land through spirituality and ceremonies. “More works needs to be done about educating the judicial branch about inherent rights, Aboriginal rights, treaty rights,” he said.

February 2, 2018


Hydro Québec’s Northern Pass Project

CBC – Regulators in the state of New Hampshire have rejected a major electricity project being piloted by Quebec’s hydro utility and its American partner, Eversource. Members of New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee unanimously denied an application for the Northern Pass project today. On July 19, 2019 the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the project’s rejection last year by the state Site Evaluation Committee, followed one week later by the official withdrawal of Eversource from the project.

March 31, 2017


Hydro Québec’s Northern Pass Project

Indigenous Group: Pessamiu Ilnut

Business: Quebec governmen

Issue: Dams are having a devastating impact in the salmon fishery

Comment: Mar. 31, 2017: Pessamit Innu – The current hydraulic management of the Betsiamites River is having a devastating impact on salmon productivity. It is contributing to the leaching out of fry from rearing sites, the peeling of eggs from spawning grounds, and the clogging of the latter by the clay banks stripped naked, in addition to directly affecting the survival rate of smolts. The result is a dramatic drop in the number of salmon.

Latest Updates: March 31, 2017Canadian Insider – Between 1940 and 1950, about 1,000 salmon catches were recorded per year. That number dropped by more than half since the establishment of the dams in the early 60s. According to the criteria of the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks, the Betsiamites River salmon faces very real short-term extinction, and in view of trends established from 1948 to 2016, the salmon population could potentially disappear in the immediate future. All stations built on the Pessamit Nitassinan have been implemented without impact assessments, without authorization and without compensation, which directly contradicts the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982.

January 22, 2022

Fed Govt. BC. AB

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Nesika Services – Nesika Services is a grassroots, community-led not-for-profit, formed to support Indigenous communities to maximize economic opportunity through ownership of the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX). Nesika was conceived from a desire to enable communities to make informed decisions on how Indigenous ownership can govern the environmental and economic impact from the TMX. Nesika Services’ approach is to bring as many of the identified 129 communities together as possible to explore both equity and revenue sharing opportunities in the TMX with no up-front capital requirements from participating groups.

March 5, 2020

AB, BC, Fed. Govt.

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

APTN National News – The Supreme Court of Canada has decided not to hear five challenges from environment and Indigenous groups from British Columbia on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. It means the multi-billion-dollar project has cleared another legal hurdle.

February 10, 2020

AB, BC, Fed. Govt.

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Indigenous Group: 81 First Nations in Alberta and BC

Business: Kinder Morgan Canada (Government of Canada purchased Kinder Morgan on May 29, 2018)

Issue: $7.4B pipeline project would triple the amount of oil being transported through Burrard Inlet, from 300K to nearly 900K barrels per day, and increase oil tanker traffic from one a week to at least one a day, about 400 tankers a year. The project proposes a second pipeline to transport crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Kinder Morgan’s terminal across the Burrard Inlet from Tsleil-Waututh land.

Comment: Sept. 7, 2018: CTV News – The pipeline already runs between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. carrying various types of crude and refined oil products to be shipped on tankers through the Burrard Inlet to the Pacific Ocean. The second pipeline is roughly parallel to the first in order to triple the capacity.
Dec. 1, 2016: Time-Colonist – About one-third of the 120 First Nations groups that Kinder Morgan consulted signed benefit-sharing agreements with the company. Eleven are in Alberta and 28 are in B.C., including some on Vancouver Island. While some have signed letters of support for the project, others are preparing for legal battles and warn that a lack of consent from many First Nations will compromise reconciliation efforts.

Latest Updates: Feb. 10, 2020 – To date, the Trans Mountain Corporation (TMC) has signed 58 agreements with Indigenous communities worth over $500 million and, when complete, the Project will generate over $1 billion of Indigenous-based contract awards. Every dollar the federal government earns from this project will be used to fund Canada’s transition to a cleaner economy. The Department of Finance estimates additional corporate tax revenues of $500 million per year once the Project enters into operation. This money, as well as any profit from the sale of the pipeline, will be invested in clean energy projects that will power our homes, businesses and communities for years to come.

June 1, 2019

AB, BC, Fed. Govt.

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Trans Mountain Expansion Project – Accommodation Measures

As part of the re-initiated Phase III consultations, consultation teams had an expanded mandate to discuss specific accommodation measures to address the concerns of potentially affected Indigenous groups. The government has put forward eight accommodation measures that focus on building capacity and long-term relationships, marine safety, spill prevention, response capacity, cumulative effects, fish and fish habitat, quieter vessels, and further terrestrial studies.

  1. The Salish Sea Initiative – responds to concerns related to cumulative effects and is intended to facilitate the active participation of Indigenous groups in the stewardship of the Salish Sea. The initiative provides technical capacity funding for Indigenous groups to assess and monitor the local marine environment and participate in broader planning processes. A long-term investment strategy to support First Nations in evaluating the impacts of human activities on their local ecosystems and to provide for ongoing project delivery is a central objective of the initiative.
  2. The Co-Developing Community Response (CDCR) – addresses Indigenous communities’ concerns about the risks of increased project-related tanker traffic to marine activities, the environment and culturally important and sacred sites in their traditional territories. Through CDCR, the government and Indigenous communities will co-develop response capacity at the community level to support a meaningful role for Indigenous communities in the broader marine response system. The implementation of this accommodation measure will facilitate a tailored approach to meet the needs of individual communities. As part of the CDCR, the Coast Guard will identify information, tools and services with the objective to improve information sharing with coastal communities and response partners. Some of the tools developed may be available on multiple platforms (e.g. mobile, desktop) and will help facilitate preparedness and response capabilities and safety for coastal communities.
  3. The Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative – launched as part of the Oceans Protection Plan, is a web-based pilot project that displays a range of real-time data on vessel traffic, weather, hydrography and marine protected areas. The information helps coastal communities better plan vessel routes, identify sensitive areas, enhance local marine safety and protect the environment.
  4. The Marine Safety Equipment and Training Initiative – responds to concerns regarding the safety of Indigenous mariners who may face increased interaction with TMX project-related vessels along the shipping route. It will provide funding to Indigenous groups for equipment to enhance the safety of Indigenous vessels and training to build understanding about safety on the water. Specific program parameters, including equipment and training needs, are being developed in partnership with Indigenous communities along the marine shipping route.
  5. The Terrestrial Cumulative Effects Initiative – will be collaboratively developed and involves building capacity and supporting Indigenous-led studies on the cumulative effects of development in freshwater and terrestrial environments.
  6. The Aquatic Habitat Restoration Fund (AHRF) – will assist in the maintenance and restoration of fish and fish habitat in watersheds along the pipeline corridor, including inland watersheds in British Columbia and Alberta, the Fraser River watershed and in the Salish Sea. The AHRF will increase capacity within communities to protect and restore aquatic habitats that may be impacted by the cumulative effects of development. With a goal of encouraging an ecosystem-based approach, projects will be identified collaboratively with Indigenous communities to improve conditions for stocks of concern.
  7. The Quiet Vessel Initiative – will reduce vessel noise in the Salish Sea in order to protect the marine environment and vulnerable marine mammals — including the Southern Resident Killer Whale. This initiative will test the most promising, safe and efficient quiet-vessel designs, retrofits and operational practices to achieve noise reductions, in collaboration with the shipping industry.
    • The Quiet Vessel Initiative is a five-year, $26 million initiative, part of the Phase III Trans Mountain Expansion project consultations, and is one of eight accommodation measures developed to address the concerns of potentially affected Indigenous groups. On Sept. 8, 2020 the government announced funding of up to $2.5M over three years for 29 eligible Indigenous communities along the Trans Mountain shipping route to participate in the Quiet Vessel Initiative.
  8. The Terrestrial Studies Initiative – will support Indigenous-led studies to better understand TMX’s potential impacts, including on traditional land use. It could also inform cumulative effects work.



March 15, 2022

Fed. Govt.

Kinder Morgan: TMX Open Letter: Investment in the TMX Poses Significant Financial Risks for First Nations

NationTalk: Union of BC Indian Chiefs – Recent announcements that the new cost of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) has ballooned to $21.4 billion, and that the federal government will not invest further public funds into the project should be a major red flag for anyone considering economic participation or ownership of the controversial pipeline, which is also delayed by at least one year.

Because of this massive cost increase – 4 times the original cost estimate – any illusion of the commercial viability of TMX has collapsed and the pipeline is destined to become a stranded asset. The unique structure of TMX’s tolls means that only 25% of cost overruns can be recovered from customers, meaning that the company and its owners will have to absorb $10 billion (and counting) of the cost overruns. Furthermore, the toll structure limits the ability for Trans Mountain to fully recover operating cost such as integrity and safety costs.

UBCIC supports Indigenous self-determination and economic self-sufficiency. However, this cannot come at any cost nor in a way that undermines other Nations’ title and sovereignty.

We are concerned that the government is using TMX as another divide and conquer project and is not providing a full and accurate account of the financial future of the project. Your due diligence must include an assessment of the commercial viability of TMX under its unique toll structure, and also include an analysis of future liability related to maintenance and spills. Otherwise TMX could be modern-day economic version of a small-pox blanket.

Fore fun details, click on the following link:


August 8, 2018


Landore Resources

Indigenous Group: Eabametoong First Nation (EFN)

Business: Landore Resources

Issue: Exploration Permits issued despite concerns raised by community members about impacts to the environment and Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment: Feb. 7, 2016: NetNewsLedger – In March 2016 Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines issued mineral exploration permits to Landore Resources Inc. to drill for gold throughout a culturally and environmentally sensitive area.

Last Update: Aug. 8, 2018CIM Magazine -The Ontario Superior Court threw out a junior mining company’s permit for drilling work on Eabametoong First Nation’s traditional territory in northern Ontario after ruling that the company and the province had failed in their duty to adequately consult with the Nation. Justice Harriet Sachs wrote in a mid-July ruling that Landore Resources Canada and Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) did not meet the required level of consultation to be seen as “upholding the honour of the Crown” when dealing with Eabametoong. The judge wrote that both Landore and the MNDM dealt with Eabametoong in an opaque way that left the First Nation in the dark about why and how decisions were being made, and excluded them from parts of the process.

August 14, 2017

CN Rail

Mattagami Oil Spill

Indigenous Group: Mattagami First Nation

Business: Canadian National Railway

Issue: Two separate train derailments near Gogoma, Ontario in February and March 2015 spilled millions of litres of crude oil into nearby lands and the local watershed

Comment: Mattagami First Nation has launched a court case against CN Railway for the damage caused, which has prevented their access to and use and enjoyment of their traditional land for hunting, fishing and spiritual practices.

Last Update: Aug. 14, 2017: Indigenous Lands and Resources Today – Investigations by the Transport Safety Board have confirmed that the derailments were caused by CN Railway’s failure to properly inspect, maintain and repair their tracks, and by gaps and failures in their training and safety systems. Today, the water is covered in a slick of oil, and animals and plants in the area are contaminated. “Harvesting, hunting and fishing has always been central to our livelihood and central to who we are. Because of the oil spills, many of our people don’t go out on the land anymore. We can’t gather the food we need. We can’t share our knowledge with our young people. It’s devastating.” Chief Boissoneau

October 29, 2018

Fed. Govt.

Mikisew Cree First Nation

Indigenous Group: Mikisew Cree First Nation and Manitoba Métis Federation

Business: Government of Canada

Issue: Jan. 14, 2018: CBC – The case seeks a judicial review of changes made under the previous Harper government to the Fisheries Act, the Species At Risk Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in an Omnibus Bill in 2012

Comment: The Supreme Court will hear this appeal that could force lawmakers across the country to give First Nations a role in drafting legislation that affects treaty rights. Cases on the Crown’s duty to consult appear regularly, but they usually concern decisions made by regulatory bodies. This one seeks to extend that duty to law-making.

Last Update: Oct. 29, 2018: Canadian Lawyer – It was a case that addressed the question of whether the duty to consult Indigenous peoples applies to the law-making process. In a split decision, seven justices found that it does not. The court’s reasoning revolved around the constitutional principles of separation of powers and parliamentary sovereignty; however, it failed to consider any legal principles recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On the other hand, two justices disagreed and held that the honour of the Crown governs the relationship between the entire government of Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Not recognizing UNDRIP is significant, given that Canada has publicly stated that it intends to adopt and implement it. In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration passed and adopted Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

August 12, 2021


Muskrat Falls

The Independent – The Innu of Labrador have launched a lawsuit against the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador for breaking financial agreements with the Muskrat Falls Mitigation Plan. The governments failed to consult with the Innu before unilaterally changing the terms

July 29, 2020


Muskrat Falls

Government established a deputy ministers’ steering committee to oversee the implementation of all the recommendations including the 17 key and ancillary recommendations outlined in Volume 1.

Key Finding # 13:

GNL failed to ensure that it and Nalcor acted fairly in its consultations related to Indigenous Peoples and environmental matters. While not speaking to GNL’s legal obligation regarding consultation with the Indigenous groups in Labrador, GNL did not act appropriately from a fairness perspective with the Nunatsiavut Government, the NunatuKavut Community Council and the Innu of Ekuanitshit. GNL and Nalcor created an environment of mistrust and suspicion by not allowing all of the Indigenous Peoples and other concerned citizens to engage in a meaningful and transparent consultation process. This mistrust and suspicion led to protests that caused Project delays and significant cost overruns.

March 13, 2020


Muskrat Falls

Indigenous Group: Nunatsiavut Govt, Innu Nation and NunatuKavut Community Council,

Business: Nalcor

Issue: Overexposure to methylmercury in food and resources

Comment: The Avativut, Kanuittailinnivut Scientific Report (produced by Harvard University after four years of research on the topic) concludes that methyl mercury levels could rise by 1500%, cause serious food insecurity and disrupt a way of life that is heavily dependent on the land and the water. Indigenous groups in the area have been fighting in courts and making their concerns known to government and other stakeholders over past years.

Mar. 5, 2020: Muskrat Falls Inquiry – The Executive Summary noted that although the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (GNL) had publicly professed that a business case for the Project would have to be established, in effect GNL had predetermined that the Project would proceed. In so acting, GNL failed in its duty to ensure that the best interests of the province’s residents were safeguarded. A thousand-page report into the financial and operational issues facing the multi-billion dollar Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project says the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as its Crown corporation Nalcor, “created an environment of mistrust” by failing to allow concerned Indigenous peoples and other citizens to “engage in a meaningful and transparent consultation process.”
The report’s six volumes are available at: http://www.gov.nl.ca/nr/muskrat-falls-a-misguided-project/.

Latest Updates: Mar. 13, 2020: APTN News – Release of the report on the Muskrat Falls Inquiry from the Honourable Justice Richard D. LeBlanc, Commissioner: “Muskrat Falls, A Misguided Project”. Inquiry finds environment of ‘mistrust’ after lack of Indigenous consultations for Muskrat Falls project. The Muskrat Falls project has had a profound impact on ratepayers and the financial situation in Newfoundland and Labrador. The report makes findings and recommendations related to the inquiry’s terms of reference, as announced by government in November 2017.

September 13, 2022


Muskrat Falls Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee announced by Minister Osborne

NationTalk: The Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Health and Community Services, today announced Dr. Ray Copes, as the Independent Chair to oversee the work of the Muskrat Falls Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee (MHMOC).

Dr. Copes is a physician with a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology. He was selected as the Independent Chair by the members of the MHMOC, comprised of federal, provincial, municipal, Nunatsiavut Government, Innu Nation, NunatuKavut Community Council and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro representatives. The biography of the Independent Chair can be found in the backgrounder below.

The members of the MHMOC committee comprised of scientific and traditional knowledge experts are:

  • Raymond Copes – Independent Chair
  • Peter Penashue – Innu Nation
  • Jim Goudie – Nunatsiavut Government
  • George Russell – NunatuKavut Community Council
  • Jackie Wells – Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro
  • Beverly Ramos-Casey – Health Canada
  • Douglas Howse (acting member) – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Member for affected communities (Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Northwest River, Mud Lake, Sheshatshiu, Rigolet, and Cartwright)  – To be determined

On April 11, 2018, the Provincial Government received the final recommendations of the Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC) to address concerns related to methylmercury at the Muskrat Falls project. The IEAC recommended an independent body to oversee the design and implementation of a monitoring program for the Lower Churchill Project, ensuring that it is community-based, and that it provide information that is relevant to the protection of human health.

“Thank you to Dr. Copes for agreeing to take on the important role of Independent Chair. By establishing an independent group, which includes individuals from the Provincial and Federal Government, Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government, and the NunatuKavut Community Council, we are providing another outlet to provide ongoing oversight to the implementation of the monitoring program and interpretation of monitoring results.”
Honourable Tom Osborne
Minister of Health and Community Services

“I commend Dr. Copes for taking on the role of Independent Chair of the Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee. The committee will play a critical role in continuing the oversight and monitoring of methylmercury at the Muskrat Falls site. Dr. Copes and all MHMOC committee members bring a wealth of scientific and traditional knowledge to inform this important work.
Honourable Bernard Davis
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“I am pleased to have been selected as the independent Chair of the Muskrat Falls Monitoring and Health Management Oversight Committee. I look forward to working with representatives of the Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government,  NunatuKavut Community Council, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Health Canada and the Provincial Government to ensure that the monitoring done in connection with Muskrat Falls addresses questions that local residents have about potential impacts on their health and that the results are shared with them in a timely manner.”
Dr. Raymond Copes
Independent Chair, MHMOC

– 30 –

Learn more

Independent Expert Advisory Committee

News Release: Final Recommendations Provided by Independent Expert Advisory Committee

Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee

Methylmercury Monitoring Plan

Methylmercury Monitoring in the Muskrat Falls Reservoir, Churchill River, Goose Bay, Lake Melville

Media contacts
Tina Coffey
Health and Community Services
709-729-6554; 687-9903

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466


Biography – Dr. Raymond Copes
Dr. Raymond Copes is a licenced physician and has a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology. He is an Adjunct Professor of Public Health Sciences with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Dr. Copes worked at the BC Centre for Disease Control as Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health. He also worked in Environmental and Occupational Health in Public Health Ontario. Dr. Copes worked as an Environmental Health Physician with First Nations Inuit Health Branch BC, Yukon region, Health Canada. He reviewed datasets on mercury, other metals and organic pollutants in fish and other country foods. Dr. Copes has completed consulting projects for several governments including: Health Canada, Saskatchewan Department of Health, Nunavut Department of Health, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Health and Community Services.

July 16, 2019


New Propsperity Gold Mine

Indigenous Group: Tsilhqot’in First Nation BC

Business: Taseko Mines Ltd. (TML)

Issue: Granting drilling permits for extensive pre-construction exploration in dying days of previous Liberal government.

Comment: July, 18, 2017: The Nelson Daily – The permits authorize 76 km of new or modified trails, 122 drill holes, 367 test pits dug by an excavator, and 20 km of seismic lines near Teztan Biny and Nabas – an area of profound cultural and spiritual importance that the Tsilhqot’in successfully fought to protect against two mine proposals. Proposal was rejected twice by the Harper-era Federal Government in 2010 (Prosperity) and 2014 (New Prosperity) due to strong opposition by the Tsilhqot’in Nation and unacceptable environmental and cultural impacts

Last Updates: July 16, 2019: APTN – TML filed a notice of civil claim and an application for an injunction. Chief Alphonse says the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) is planning more court challenges of their own, but don’t feel it’s fair or legal that they should be forced to. “We have proven Aboriginal Right and have proven Aboriginal Title and nobody else has done that, yet every industry, government and non-aboriginal person tries to minimize what that means,” says Alphonse. “For B.C. to continue to issue permits without our consent or involvement in our opinion is illegal and that is the real issue here.

February 2, 2021


Niobay Metals

Indigenous Group: Moose Cree First Nation

Business: Niobay Metal

Issue: This is a sensitive wetland area and Moose Cree has identified it as important for water as well as a highly used cultural area for its members.

Comment: May 26, 2017: Moose Cree First Nation – has unanimously rejected a drilling project in the heart of its Homeland and is calling on the Ontario government to respect its “Right to say NO”. Montreal-based Niobay Metals Inc (TSX-V: NBY) was informed last October that drilling would not be permitted in the Moose Cree Homeland near the South Bluff Creek area. The creek and the North French River Watershed are located in the heart of the Homeland and are of great cultural and environmental significance to the Moose Cree people. Moose Cree is working on a Homeland Protection Plan. This includes a restoration plan for areas already impacted from the heavy footprint of industrial development. The area Niobay wants to drill in had a drilling program on it almost 50 years without consulting Moose Cree. The effects from that historical program are still visible on Google Earth Satellite Maps.

Last Update: Feb. 2, 2021: Niobay Metals Inc. – is pleased to announce that Moose Cree First Nation has signed an updated Protection Agreement (“PA”) in support of the 2021 exploration program. The PA sets out a framework for effective communication, information exchange, environmental protection and the inclusion of MCFN businesses in the exploration program. “The PA reflects the mutual interests of NioBay and Moose Cree to work in partnership with the exploration program and continue to build a relationship that could then see a mine built with MCFN consent,” said Claude Dufresne, NioBay President and CEO. “Respect for Moose Cree’s Aboriginal and treaty rights is at the core of the Protection Agreement. NioBay has acknowledged our community’s rights and decision-making role. This forms the basis of a positive working relationship between Moose Cree First Nation and NioBay,” said MCFN Chief Mervin Cheechoo.

November 29, 2016


Northern Gateway

Indigenous Group: 8 First Nations along pipeline route

Business: Enbridge

Issue: Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway project pipeline route which spans 1,170 kilometres from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat. that would link Alberta’s oilsands to British Columbia’s north coast. The project would dramatically increase tanker traffic along the northwest coast.

Approved in 2014

Comment: Jan. 12, 2016: Vancouver Sun – BC Supreme Court ruled that “BC government abdicated its statutory duties and breached its duty to consult with the Nation when it signed and failed to terminate an Equivalency Agreement that handed the federal National Energy Board (NEB) sole jurisdiction over the environmental assessment decision-making regarding Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.”

The Constitutional challenge was brought by the Gitga’at First Nation and the Coastal First Nations
Rejected by federal government

August 17, 2016


Northern Gateway

Vancouver Sun -The extraordinary decision by a Haida clan to strip two of its hereditary chiefs of their titles for secretly supporting the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is being closely watched by First Nations across Canada. The rebuke came as the Haida Nation rejected what they say is a growing trend by companies to enlist the support of hereditary chiefs as a way of claiming broad First Nations support.

June 30, 2016


Northern Gateway

Global News – The Federal Court of Appeal has overturned the government’s approval of a controversial pipeline proposal that would link Alberta’s oilsands to British Columbia’s north coast. The court says Canada fell short in its duty to consult with aboriginal people before giving the green light to the$7.9-billion Northern Gateway project. Eight First Nations, four environmental groups and one labour union launched the legal challenge in October 2015

February 24, 2016


Northern Gateway

Indigenous Group: 8 First Nations along pipeline route

Business: Enbridge

Issue: Enbridge’s $7.9-billion Northern Gateway project pipeline route which spans 1,170 kilometres from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat. that would link Alberta’s oilsands to British Columbia’s north coast. The project would dramatically increase tanker traffic along the northwest coast.

Approved in 2014

Comment: Jan. 12, 2016: Vancouver Sun – BC Supreme Court ruled that “BC government abdicated its statutory duties and breached its duty to consult with the Nation when it signed and failed to terminate an Equivalency Agreement that handed the federal National Energy Board (NEB) sole jurisdiction over the environmental assessment decision-making regarding Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.” The Constitutional challenge was brought by the Gitga’at First Nation and the Coastal First Nations

Latest Updates: Feb 24, 2016: Terrace Standard – As many as three coastal First Nations could sign on for a share of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project in the coming months, says an aboriginal leader closely identified with the project.

They will join 28 First Nations and Métis groups who have already negotiated deals for their portions of the 10 per cent of the project set aside for aboriginal ownership, says Bruce Dumont, the president of the Métis Nation of B.C.

May 6, 2021


Northern Pulp

Indigenous Group: Pictou Landing First Nation

Business: Northern Pulp, Governments of PEI and Nova Scotia

Issue: Pictou Landing First Nation and other First Nations are apprehensive of a plan to dump millions of liters of pulp mill effluent into the Northumberland Strait.

Comment: Nov. 29, 2018: Assembly of First Nations – The AFN Regional Chiefs believe dumping polluting effluent into the Strait will impact their peoples’ inherent rights. “The population surrounding the Northern Pulp mill should not have to bear the burden of this company’s waste. It is crucial that the impact be studied before any dumping occurs and that First Nations in the region be fully informed and give their approval to any proposal.”

In 2019, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna asked for a new recommendation on whether Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent treatment plant should be forced to undergo a federal environmental assessment. The recommendation was made based on the revised federal Impact Assessment Act that places more weight on whether a project impacts aboriginal peoples.

Last Update: Dec. 20, 2021: Halifax Examiner – On December 15, Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation, together with 10 other affiliates, including owners Paper Excellence and Hervey Investment B.V. filed a statement of claim in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. seeking damages “to compensate them for loss and damage suffered as a result of acts and omissions of officials and representatives of the Province which have forced the closure of the Boat Harbour effluent treatment facility (the “BH-ETF”) and the pulp mill (the “Mill”).”The Northern Pulp mill has been closed since January 2020, when its proposal and focus report for a replacement effluent treatment facility for Boat Harbour failed to get provincial approval, and it found itself with no place to send its effluent.
The attached article provides a detailed account of the history of Norther Pulp and the extensive environmental damage it has produced as well as numerous tax breaks, political favours and “indemnifications” provided by successive governments of all political parties over the years.

January 18, 2022


Oulook Channel Project

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs – On January 13, 2022, a court order approved the settlement agreement of $85.5 million for anyone who owned real or personal property, off the nearby First Nation’s reserve and within a 30 km radius of the lake that was damaged by the intentional flooding of Lake Manitoba in 2011. AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas stated, “This settlement amount is a fair outcome for the damages cottage owners and others suffered as a result of the Province’s negligence and decision to flood Lake Manitoba as well as Lake St. Martin in 2011.

The Province is still paying for its decision to divert flood waters through the Interlake, affecting not only the property owners along the shores of Lake Manitoba, but several First Nations as well, including the Lake Manitoba First Nation and the Lake St. Martin First Nation amongst others.”

“The impacts of the 2011 flood on First Nations such as Lake St. Martin, still continue to suffer to this day from the displacement and impacts of the government policy that allowed their reserve lands and ancestral territories to be flooded and allowed their citizens to languish in hotel rooms in Winnipeg and elsewhere for a decade where, tragically, many died and never had a chance to return home.” “The Assembly notes that this media story cannot take away from the immeasurable harms in terms of loss of land, culture and infrastructure suffered by First Nations as a result of a lack of provincial planning and a lack of infrastructure that would have protected all Manitobans in 2011.

Without any progress on the outlet channel projects and as we go into Spring season, the potential for more flooding in the Interlake still remains,” continued Grand Chief Dumas.

November 8, 2021


Oulook Channel Project

CTV News – The Interlake Reserves Tribal Council, which includes six communities in Manitoba’s Interlake region, is in court asking for a judicial review related to ongoing work on a multimillion-dollar flood protection project. The First Nations say the province issued a permit to start clearing a 23-kilometre-long portion of Crown lands to start building an all-season road in 2019 without advising nearby communities. The council also wants the court to evaluate the province’s duty to consult before issuing permits that allow Crown land to be cleared.

April 14, 2021


Oulook Channel Project

Indigenous Group: Interlake Reserves Tribal Council (IRTC)

Business: Government of Manitoba

Issue: The IRTC states that there was an agreement with Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister to consult with First Nations that is not being honoured.

Comment: IRTC – In 2017, Premier Pallister promised that consultations with Indigenous communities on the Outlet Channels Project would be the most comprehensive in the history of Manitoba and committed to the affected communities that they would share in the economic opportunities arising from construction of the project. The IRTC has discovered a 23-kilometre route in the Interlake was cleared in preparation for a channel from Lake St. Martin to Lake Winnipeg, but were not informed by the government of Manitoba and are not aware if the necessary approvals were obtained. The IRTC has taken the issue to court.

Last Update: April 14, 2021: CTV News – The Interlake Reserves Tribal Council (IRTC) has filed an application of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada after an appeals court struck down an injunction on the Lake Manitoba, Lake St. Martin outlet channels project. At the time, the premier called it a temporary victory for the project, which is a $540 million flood protection plan to drain water from Lake Manitoba to Lake Winnipeg vis Lake St. Martin.
On April 9, the IRTC applied, saying it will allow the Supreme Court of Canada to consider, “the importance of indigenous rights in Canada and the Federal Government commitment to reconciliation.” The IRTC added that project will cause harm to the environment and their sources of livelihood.

“This supreme court of appeal application was filed due to the conflict of interest the province of Manitoba is in with the Lake St. Martin Channel Project, when a proponent is able to consult as the crown, issue its own permits and licenses and also build the project; this conflict of interest concerns us,” said Cornell McLean, chairman of the IRTC and Chief of Lake Manitoba First Nation, in a news release.

August 17, 2022


Outlet Channels Project: Manitoba investing $3.1 Million to establish Environmental Advisory Committee

NationTalk: The Manitoba government is investing $3.1 million to establish an environmental advisory committee for the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels Project, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk announced today.

“Since plans for the outlet channels project first began in 2011, our government has continually engaged with Indigenous groups and other communities that may be affected by the project,” said Piwniuk. “As planning and implementation work on the project continues, this environmental advisory committee will formalize that ongoing engagement process to ensure meaningful input, accurate information and constructive feedback are openly shared.”

The new environmental advisory committee will provide advice and guidance during the planning, construction and operation of the outlet channels.

The minister noted the department has submitted information to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada as part of the process to receive federal environment approvals for the project. The department has also developed environmental management plans that outline the protection measures that will mitigate adverse effects. The project team will continue engaging with Indigenous groups and other communities to discuss these plans and community-specific concerns.

The Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels Project involves building two diversion channels, each approximately 23 km long. The Lake Manitoba Outlet Channel will run north from Watchorn Bay on Lake Manitoba to Birch Bay on Lake St. Martin. The Lake St. Martin Outlet Channel will run northeast from Lake St. Martin to Lake Winnipeg south of Willow Point. The project also includes building three bridges and two water control structures, a 24-kilovolt distribution line and adjusting the surrounding highway infrastructure.

The outlet channels will improve water regulation of Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin, reduce the likelihood of flooding on both lakes, and lower the risk of flood-related damages and disruption to communities in the area, the minister noted.

For more about the project, visit www.manitoba.ca/mit/wms/lmblsmoutlets/.

– 30 –

For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications and Engagement: newsroom@gov.mb.ca.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-451-7109.

July 25, 2017

Fed. Govt., . BC

Pacific Northwest LNG

Petronas announced that they were cancelling the project due to changing market conditions

September 27, 2016

. BC, Fed. Govt.

Pacific Northwest LNG

Indigenous Group: Haida Nation

Business: Petronas, a Malaysian national energy company is project lead

Issue: The $11.4B Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal near Prince Rupert in BC and associated pipeline subject to conditions to mitigate the environmental impact on salmon and climate.

Latest Updates: Sept. 27, 2016: Haida Nation – Approved by federal government. The 2015 House of Assembly, the legislative body of the Haida Nation, passed a resolution expressing opposition to British Columbia’s LNG agenda and demanding that the mass export of any fossil fuel through its territory be prohibited. The main areas of concern are:

  1. Waterway Management: The existing regime does not provide for adequate Haida inclusion in the management and planning of vessels travelling through Haida waters, and current vessel management does not reflect the globally significant, ecological and cultural values of the region. In addition, the current management of vessel traffic is not aligned with the Haida Gwaii Marine Use Plan.
  2. Environmental Stewardship: There is no environmental assessment or stewardship process that reflects emerging science and policy regarding the cumulative impact of the proposed LNG and oil pipeline projects.
  3. Emergency Preparedness and Response: Emergency response capacity in the region has lagged as major vessel traffic continues to grow. Comprehensive emergency plans that increase regional and sub-regional response capacity are urgently needed

January 1, 1970

. BC, Fed. Govt.

Pacific Northwest LNG

The Province – The federal government is announcing two B.C. First Nations have agreed to be members of a new environmental monitoring committee for the proposed $11.4-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project. The government says the agreement, the first of its kind, will include the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation, aboriginal groups whose members have been split on support for the proposed export

January 31, 2022


Peel Watershed

ATAC Resources – ATAC announces that it has voluntarily relinquished 327 quartz mineral claims located within designated wilderness areas of the finalized Peel Watershed Land Use Plan (“the Plan”). As an exploration company, we are constantly looking for ways to positively engage with local communities and this contribution is consistent with our commitment to implementing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles.”

August 29, 2019


Peel Watershed

CBC – First Nations of the Peel Watershed came together with the Yukon government on Aug. 22 after 15 years of negotiations, court battles, protests and consultations to sign a landmark planning agreement that would protect more than 67,000 square kilometres of critical wilderness in the watershed region. “This is a great day for the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and the people of the North,” said Chief Simon Mervyn of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation, which hosted the ceremony in Mayo, Yukon to celebrate the signing of the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan.

December 1, 2017


Peel Watershed

Indigenous Group: Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, and Gwich’in Tribal Council, Vuntut Gwitchin

Business: Yukon Government

Issue: Opening up the Peel Watershed to roads, infrastructure and resource extraction

Comment: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Larger than Nova Scotia, the Peel Watershed is the homeland of four First Nations who have been stewards of the land for thousands of years. This remote region has gained national attention after the Government of Yukon shelved the results of a public planning process that recommended wilderness protection, choosing instead to open up the majority of the Peel Watershed to roads and resource extraction. Ensuing legal action from three First Nations and two environmental groups has now brought this issue to the attention of the Supreme Court of Canada in March 2015 to decide on Yukon’s Land Claims Treaties.

Latest Updates: Dec. 1, 2017: CBC – In 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a unanimous decision against the Yukon government who undermined the land use process by improperly and unilaterally rewriting a plan for the watershed after a recommended plan negotiated with First Nations had already been agreed upon. The government’s change drastically altered the final plan by removing protections for the majority of the watershed and opening up more than 70% of the area to roads, mining and drilling.

November 22, 2021


Porcupine Cariboo Herd

Vuntut Gwitchin Government, Gwitchin Tribal Council – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the “Build Back Better Act”, which restores protections to Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins), also known as the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Coastal Plain is critical to the survival of Vadzaih (caribou). The Porcupine caribou herd completes of one of the world’s largest land animal migrations and is vital to the subsistence lifestyle of the Gwich’in people in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska.

When more than 400,000 acres of the Coastal Plain were leased by the Trump Administration, not a single acre was leased by a major oil and gas company.

January 8, 2021


Porcupine Cariboo Herd

Indigenous Group: Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

Business: US Government and State of Alaska

Issue: Opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling which threatens the Porcupine Caribou herd. The animals are protected under a U.S.-Canada treaty, which commits both nations to preserve it.

Comment: April 23, 2018: CBC – The herd is the largest and healthiest in the North and one that is considered crucial to the physical and cultural health of Indigenous people in Canada’s northwest. While it calves in Alaska, the 218,000-strong herd spends most of its time in Canada.

The Porcupine Caribou Management Board (PCMB) is an advisory board established under the Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement (1985) to communicate information about the herd and provide recommendations to agencies responsible for managing the herd. In 1987, the Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America on the Conservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd was signed, establishing the International Porcupine Caribou Board (IPCB). The Chair of the PCMB is a member of the IPCB.

Last Update: Jan. 8, 2021: Government of Northwest Territories – Partners to the Canadian Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement came together on January 6, 2021 to respond to the recent oil and gas lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): “The parties are committed to advocating for protection of the Porcupine caribou herd and this vital habitat. We are disappointed that the US government proceeded with the lease sale on Wednesday, January 6, despite significant concerns we have raised which remain unaddressed. However, we are pleased the sale attracted little attention from major oil companies, who have recognized that drilling in this area is neither acceptable nor profitable. We believe this is a result of our collective action, as well as a lack of local support and economic viability. We will continue to work collaboratively to oppose oil and gas development in the ANWR protected areas and to protect the Porcupine caribou herd and its habitat, now and for future generations.”

January 31, 2019

AB, Fed. Govt.

Redwater Energy

CBC – Energy companies must fulfil their environmental obligations before paying back creditors in the case of insolvency or bankruptcy, Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled. The top court’s ruling released Thursday overturns two lower court decisions that said bankruptcy law has paramountcy over provincial environmental responsibilities in the case of Redwater Energy, which became insolvent in 2015. That meant energy companies could first pay back creditors before cleaning up old wells. In practical terms, that means energy companies could walk away from old oil and gas wells, leaving them someone else’s responsibility.

The top court ruled 5-2 to overturn the earlier ruling. In doing that, it said bankruptcy is not a licence to ignore environmental regulations, and there is no inherent conflict between federal bankruptcy laws and provincial environmental regulations

February 14, 2018

AB, Fed. Govt.

Redwater Energy

Indigenous Group: Multiple First Nations and Métis communities

Business: Redwater Energy Corp Receiver

Issue: In May 2016, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta stated that the receivers and trustees who manage company bankruptcies can avoid complying with provincial legislation, ignoring environmental and public safety obligations, in order to maximize profit for secured creditors.

Comment: Alberta Energy Regulator – In Alberta, companies must be responsible and properly abandon the infrastructure and reclaim the site after ceasing activities. From the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER’s) perspective, the repayment of loans should not come at the expense of public safety and the environment.

Last Update: Feb. 14, 2018: Alberta Energy Regulator – Alberta’s approach to managing liability was built to balance multiple interests: environmental protection, public safety, landowner interests, investment, royalties, jobs, market volatility, to name a few. They have also made sure there is a safety net. As a last resort, they have the Orphan Well Association, an industry-funded organization that abandons and reclaims infrastructure left behind when companies go bankrupt.

The Redwater case has turned the very foundation of that system—the provincial legislation that says polluters must pay to clean up their mess—on its head. If this decision is upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, we—and every other regulator in Canada—will no longer be able to hold companies accountable for cleaning up their mess.

August 28, 2020


Rio Tinto/Iron Ore Company

CIM Magazine – On Aug. 25, Chief Mike McKenzie announced that the Innu communities have negotiated an agreement with IOC on reconciliation and collaboration, following a decades-long conflict that has reached the Supreme Court several times. The agreement is an impact and benefit agreement on environmental cooperation, benefit sharing and economic development such as training, jobs and contracts within the communities. McKenzie clarified that it is not a treaty and will not affect the communities’ rights, but that the agreement aims to end the long-standing conflict between the two peoples and IOC over its mining project, which has been in operation since 1954.

February 21, 2020


Rio Tinto/Iron Ore Company

CBC – The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by Newfoundland and Labrador to strike parts of a lawsuit by two Innu Nations in Quebec against mining giant Rio Tinto. The Innu wanted Quebec courts to make a declaration over their traditional territory, and part of that is in Newfoundland and Labrador. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador launched the appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada after Quebec’s highest court ruled the Innu and others could sue the company and its Iron Ore Company subsidiary through Quebec courts. The N.L. government argued Quebec doesn’t have jurisdiction, but in a 5-4 spilt decision released Friday, the Supreme Court dismissed that appeal.

November 15, 2018


Rio Tinto/Iron Ore Company

Indigenous Group: The Innu First Nations of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam (Uashaunnuat) and Matimekush-Lac John

Business: Iron Ore Company (IOC) (wholly owned by Rio Tinto)

Issue: IOC caused harm by operating a large mining complex and railway on traditional territory in northeastern Quebec and Labrador since the 1950s without their prior consent.

Comment: Sept. 22, 2014: CBC – The Innu claim that IOC’s mines and other facilities have ruined the environment, displaced members from their territory and prevented them from practicing their traditional way of life. They also said the 578-kilometre railway between Schefferville and Sept-Îles has opened up their territory to “numerous other destructive development projects.”

A Quebec judge rejected the Iron Ore Company of Canada’s efforts to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed by two Innu communities in March 2013 which claim the miner has violated their rights for nearly 60 years and are seeking $900 million in compensation.

Latest Updates: Nov. 15, 2018: Bloomburg – The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear an appeal by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on the issue of the jurisdiction of Quebec Courts in respect of the Innu’s $900 million lawsuit against Rio Tinto (IOC). After the Quebec Superior Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal had found in favor of the Innu on the issue, there will now be a hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether Quebec Courts have jurisdiction over violations of the rights of the Innu caused by the mining operations of Rio Tinto (IOC) in Labrador.

July 24, 2020


Sisson Mines

CBC – Northcliff has engaged with the province of New Brunswick to extend the deadlines under the provincial EIA (environmental impact assessment) and the process is ongoing,” the company said in a quarterly management update for investors filed last month. The project was to have begun construction within 5 years of receiving provincial approval.

August 14, 2017


Sisson Mines

Mining Watch Canada – A new study concludes that “the mining waste facility design is business-as-usual, using the same facility design and water cover approach used at the failed Mt. Polley Mine”.

Using recent government data, the delegation estimates the total liability for contaminated mining sites across Canada to be well above 10.0 billion dollars, a figure it estimates can easily triple or quadruple once the true costs for site clean-up and risks from spills and failures are considered. The delegation also draws on recent studies to highlight a 60% increase in rates of catastrophic failures and large mining spills worldwide over the last two decades. Researchers predict this trend will continue to worsen due to ever larger mining waste facilities, poor economics of many mines, decreasing ore quality, and inadequate mining oversight. In Canada, the delegation reports over 20 mining spills in the last decade alone (2008-2017), including 6 that released more than 1 million litres of contaminated wastes in nearby rivers, lakes and soils

February 10, 2017


Sisson Mines

Indigenous Group: Six Maliseet First Nations communities in NB

Business: Sisson Mines Northcliff Resources (Canada) and Todd Minerals, NZ

Issue: Protect the Nashwaak’s and St. John’s River watersheds from toxic mining spills

Comment: The Conservation Council of New Brunswick identified three risks that Sisson Mine’s Environmental Impact Assessment did not address effectively (July 17, 2015):

  • Not assessing the impacts of a failure of the tailing ponds dams
  • Failure to properly address wastewater from the mine
  • Poor archaeological research

Latest Updates: Feb. 10, 2017: CBC – The six Maliseet First Nations in New Brunswick have reached a multimillion-dollar financial deal with the provincial government that clears the way for the Sisson mine project north of Fredericton to proceed. Under the accommodation agreement announced Friday, the six First Nations — St. Mary’s, Woodstock, Oromocto, Tobique, Kingsclear and Madawaska — will receive 9.8 per cent of provincial revenue generated from the metallic mineral tax. The six First Nations will share in:

  • $3 million upon federal environmental approval of the mine.
  • 35 per cent of the first $2 million the province receives in royalties each year.
  • 3.5 per cent of annual royalties above $2 million.

February 28, 2018

Fed. Govt., NU

Tallurutiup Imanga/Lancaster Sound

Indigenous Group: Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA)

Business: N/A

Issue: Feb. 28. 2018: QIA – As the Designated Inuit Organization representing the five High Arctic communities that border these waters, QIA expects to have a seat at the table when new decisions are made on allocation of conservation related funds. QIA has engaged with Parks Canada via a Whole of Government approach in a negotiation process.

Comment: The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) is a not-for-profit society which represents approximately 14,000 Inuit in the Qikiqtani (Baffin) Region of Nunavut, including 13 communities from Grise Fiord in the High Arctic to Sanikiluaq (Belcher Islands) in the southeast of Hudson Bay. QIA’s mission is to safeguard, administer and advance the rights and benefits of the Qikiqtani Inuit; and to promote Inuktitut and Inuit traditions, environmental values, self-sufficiency, and economic, social and cultural well-being in an open and democratic forum. Under Article 39 of the Nunavut Agreement, QIA is considered a Designated Inuit Organization (DIO) responsible for managing Inuit Owned Lands in the Qikiqtani Region.

In August 2017, in a letter to QIA, Prime Minister Trudeau affirmed that a “whole government approach” would be taken in the establishment of Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Are (NMCA), meaning that agreements with Inuit would not be isolated to a single government department, but would include participation from all relevant government departments.

Last Update: August 1, 2019 – The federal government and Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) – today announced an historic agreement that finalizes a joint governance model for the long-sought Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area which will protect more than 109,000 square kilometres of biologically rich Arctic waters. The accord, called an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement, is a major step toward completion of Canada’s largest national marine conservation area at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, and represents decades of work by Inuit to safeguard a culturally significant region crucial to their subsistence way of life. Large populations of narwhal, bowhead whales, beluga and other marine mammals migrate through these icy waters each year.

An Inuit advisory board will be established to oversee Tallurutiup Imanga. Ottawa will also invest $190 million in the broader region to support new infrastructure, like small craft harbours, and employment opportunities, including an Inuit stewardship program, for the five Nunavut communities bordering the national marine park.

February 23, 2020


Teck Frontier

Reuters – Teck Resources Ltd has withdrawn an application to build its C$20.6 billion ($15.7 billion) Frontier oil sands mine in Alberta, d ays before the federal government was to decide on whether to approve a project opposed by environmentalists and indigenous groups. “The growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved,” Lindsay wrote in his letter. “In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project.”

February 7, 2020


Teck Frontier

Indigenous Group: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Business: Teck Resources

Issue: Frontier Oil Sand Mines will be the largest open pit mine in Canada

Comment: Alberta’s failure to consult and take meaningful action on environmental concerns – ranging from caribou habitat to water issues – could jeopardize the project.

Last Update: Feb. 7, 2020Minister of Environment and Parks – Jason Nixon stated: “The project has undergone a rigorous 10-year review, including a recommendation for approval from the independent federal regulator. Teck has played by the rules endorsed by Ottawa – including by the current federal government. To arbitrarily reject the project at the eleventh hour for political reasons would send a chilling signal to international investors…All of the 14 directly affected First Nations have reached agreements with the company, and Frontier will provide large numbers of jobs for Indigenous Canadians. They recognize that responsible resource development can serve as a path to prosperity.”

October 5, 2017

Fed. Govt., AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NS, NB

TransCanada Energy East Pipeline

Trans Canada pulls plug on Energy East

March 29, 2017

AB, Fed. Govt., MB, NB, NS, ON, QC, SK

TransCanada Energy East Pipeline

Indigenous Group: 122 First Nations in Canada and the US

Business: Trans Canada Pipelines

Issue: Proposed pipeline crosses 155 First Nations territories

Comment: Energy East is a proposed 4,500-kilometre pipeline that would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick.

Latest Updates: Mar. 29, 2017: Assembly of First Nations Quebec – Labrador – One hundred and twenty-two First Nations in Canada and United States, including many in Quebec, have said no to Energy East and have committed, by signing the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, to stopping the Kinder Morgan, Line 3, and Keystone XL tar sands pipelines, as well as tar sands by rail transport projects such as the Belledune project. The AFNQL resolution dated June 15, 2016 also demands a complete overhaul of the Energy East project review process. The federal government, on the other hand, announced that the review of the Energy East project by the NEB would follow its course, with a few minor adjustments, and would not be affected by the NEB “modernization”. The National Energy Board (NEB) has launched an initiative (June 5, 2017) to gather input from Indigenous peoples and the public to help shape the hearing process and other engagement activities for the Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects. The comment period ends on 15 July 2017.

December 11, 2020


Ungava Peninsula Cariboo

The Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table (UPCART) – Executive committee agreed that the next steps will be to develop a plan for habitat protection and continue discussions on a sharing agreement. In 2018, the Innu Nationi withdrew from UPCART; but a standing invitation has been extended in hopes that they will re-engage in discussion with the UPCART. The UPCART works to find ways to take ownership of the management of the herds in an inclusive way.

January 27, 2020


Ungava Peninsula Cariboo

Indigenous Group: 7 Indigenous groups in the north

Business: Federal Government

Issue: Preserve and manage caribou in the Ungava Peninsula

Comment: Response to the critical population declines in both the caribou herds of George River (770K in 1993 to 5.5K in 2018) and Leaf River (628K in 2001 to 181K in 2016)

Last Updates: Jan. 27, 2020: The Nunatsiavut Government – advises Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement that a provincially-imposed hunting ban on George River caribou remains in effect. As a member the Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table (UPCART), the Nunatsiavut Government has agreed to discourage Beneficiaries from harvesting any George River caribou while the ban is in place.

“The George River caribou is in a critical state and any harvesting now will significantly impact the recovery of these precious animals that are so culturally important to the Labrador Inuit,” notes Lands and Natural Resources Minister Greg Flowers. “We have relied on these caribou for many years for social, cultural, and nutritional purposes to feed and cloth ourselves, families, and communities. We must do whatever we can to help protect these animals that have provided so much to us.”

February 16, 2021


Wood Buffalo National Park

Toronto Star – By the end of a 30-day consultation period in mid-March, the government is set to enshrine the 143,800 hectares of additional land for the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland (KNW) in legislation, creating the largest boreal protected region in the world, which includes habitat for the wood bison and woodland caribou, both identified as species at risk. Approximately two-thirds of the extended wildland area comprises Crown mineral rights surrendered by Athabasca Oil Corporation.

“Oil and gas industry participants recognize the ecological and cultural significance of the area and came to the table with the contribution of significant lease land holdings,” said Rob Broen, president and CEO of Athabasca Oil. He, like Powder, joined the announcement virtually. Powder acknowledged that Athabasca Oil along with Cenovus Energy, Imperial Oil, Teck Resources, Suncor, Northland Forest Products and Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries collaborated by giving up their interests in the area.

December 21, 2020


Wood Buffalo National Park

Government of Canada – will invest $59.9 million over 3 years to continue implementing federal commitments under the Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site Action Plan. Funding announced today builds on the Government of Canada’s initial investment of $27.5 million through Budget 2018 for work to date on the Action Plan. It will support the delivery of remaining Action Plan initiatives including strengthening park management in collaboration with Indigenous partners, enhancing research, monitoring and management of the Peace-Athabasca Delta using science and Indigenous knowledge, and establishing new mechanisms to support improved water management in the Peace-Athabasca Delta.

June 26, 2018


Wood Buffalo National Park

Indigenous Group: Mikisew Cree First Nation

Business: Federal Government

Issue: Mikisew Cree First Nation in December 2014 applied to have Wood Buffalo National Park added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger because their way of life is tied to the Peace-Athabasca Delta and Canada’s failure to protect this important area has put their people at risk.

Comment: Parks Canada – Wood Buffalo National Park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Canada’s largest World Heritage Site covers 4.5 million hectares of Canada’s boreal plains in northern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories and also contains the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the largest freshwater deltas. The land in the park and its surroundings is an integral part of indigenous and local culture, spirituality and livelihoods, including of the Métis. WBNP’s impressive natural heritage includes the world’s largest herd of free-ranging Wood Bison and the breeding ground for the only wild, self-sustaining migratory flock of Whooping Cranes in the world.

Latest Updates: June 26, 2018: Toronto Star – an environmental assessment provided to UNESCO says oilsands activity, climate change and hydro development are fundamentally changing the environment of Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta. The report’s executive summary suggests things are getting worse in the Peace-Athabasca Delta. The report says hydroelectric development, oilsands, pulp and paper facilities, industrial mines, forestry and municipal development are all likely to affect the park in future.

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