Compendium of Indigenous Consultation and Engagement Practices
Table of Contents
- 1. Executive summary
- 2. Context
- 3. CNSC Indigenous consultation and engagement practices
- 3.1 REGDOC-3.2.2, Aboriginal Engagement
- 3.2 Participant Funding Program(s)
- 3.3 Multi-party meetings
- 3.4 Participation in Commission meetings
- 3.5 Participation in Commission hearings
- 3.6 Participation in the CNSC’s Independent Environmental Monitoring Program
- 3.7 Ongoing engagement
- 3.8 Indigenous relations team and governance
- 4. Future considerations and way forward
1. Executive summary
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has prepared a compendium of its Indigenous consultation and engagement practices. This document presents eight current practices developed to ensure that the Commission, to the extent possible, can rely on its proceedings to meet the duty to consult, when raised, with respect to decisions that could affect Indigenous and/or treaty rights. In addition, these practices support a program of ongoing Indigenous engagement and long-term relationship building.
Figure 1 – CNSC’s Indigenous Consultation and Engagement Practices
At its November 2018 meeting, the Council of Federal Tribunal Chairs (CFTC) members expressed interest in the CNSC’s policies and practices related to Indigenous consultation, as well as the CNSC’s broader program of Indigenous engagement. Members asked the CNSC to prepare a compendium of its practices to inform a discussion at the CFTC meeting planned for February 12, 2019.
Background – CNSC
The purpose of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) and the regulatory objectives of the CNSC include preventing unreasonable risk to the environment and to the health and safety of persons from the development, production and use of nuclear energyFootnote 1. The implementation of the NSCA and these objectives allow the Commission to assess if its regulated activities potentially impact Indigenous and/or treaty rights as recognized under s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The CNSC, as an Agent of the Crown, must act honourably in all of its interactions with Indigenous peoples, in particular by appropriately consulting and, as necessary, accommodating Indigenous peoples, should a contemplated decision have the potential to adversely impact Indigenous and/or treaty rights.
The CNSC has codified its Indigenous consultation and engagement commitments and has proactively developed policies, practices and processes within an overarching regulatory framework and management system. This system supports meaningful, responsive and ongoing Crown–Indigenous dialogue and issue resolution in relation to CNSC licensing decisions and lifecycle regulatory activities.
When developing project-specific consultation processes, the CNSC applies the guiding principles outlined in the document Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation – Updated Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Duty to Consult (March 2011). In building on these guidelines, the CNSC’s own policy suite and operational procedures include guidance to licensees and project proponents which set out the Commission’s expectations for meaningful ongoing Indigenous engagement and proactive information sharing between licensees and potentially affected communities.
Beyond consultations that arise from contemplated licensing decisions, CNSC staff focus on building long-term relationships with Indigenous peoples by pursuing informative and collaborative interactions with Indigenous groups who have interests in or concerns about the regulation of nuclear activities within their traditional or treaty territory. The CNSC’s Indigenous engagement practices, including the ongoing encouragement and funding support for Indigenous peoples to participate in Commission proceedings, are consistent with the principles of upholding the honour of the Crown and reconciliation.
In 2017, the CNSC contributed to a compendium of federal best practices for Indigenous engagement. This compendium was assembled by a working group chaired by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the Privy Council Office, and the CNSC’s contributions included the following:
- CNSC REGDOC-3.2.2, Aboriginal Engagement, which provides requirements and guidance to CNSC licensees/project proponents on their role in Indigenous engagement for activities that may give rise to a legal duty to consult (information provided to the CNSC by project proponents may be used to assist in meeting the Crown’s duty to consult, and as appropriate, accommodate).
- The Participant Funding Program, which has the flexibility to support meetings between CNSC staff and Indigenous communities, or studies related to matters of broad regulatory interest including the collection of Indigenous knowledge.
- Encouragement of Indigenous community engagement and participation in Commission proceedings and lifecycle monitoring activities such as participation in the CNSC’s Independent Environmental Monitoring Program.
Building on the 2017 compendium, this document presents eight interrelated Indigenous consultation and engagement practices.
3. CNSC Indigenous consultation and engagement practices
3.1 REGDOC-3.2.2, Aboriginal Engagement
This CNSC regulatory document provides requirements and guidance to CNSC licensees / project proponents on their role in Indigenous engagement for activities that may raise the Crown’s duty to consult. Information provided to the CNSC may be used to assist in meeting the duty to consult and, as appropriate, accommodate.
|What makes this a best practice?||The CNSC was one of the first federal agencies to publish specific requirements and guidance for proponents on their role in Indigenous engagement.|
|How does this best practice support the reconciliation agenda and/or engagement linked to other major Government of Canada policy priorities or initiatives?||REGDOC-3.2.2 encourages early engagement and building long-term relationships among CNSC licensees, CNSC staff and Indigenous peoples. The document also provides guidance on how licensees can work with Indigenous groups to address concerns and mitigate impacts on Indigenous and/or treaty rights, including the gathering of Indigenous knowledge and the creation of a mutually agreeable engagement work plan.|
|How do we know this best practice is working?||CNSC staff have received feedback from Indigenous groups and licensees that REGDOC-3.2.2’s requirements and guidance are clear, and that the document has contributed to broader consideration of engagement with respect to CNSC regulated facilities and activities. REGDOC-3.2.2 requires an Indigenous engagement report to be included with a licence application, thereby ensuring that the CNSC is provided with information about a proponent’s engagement activities early on in the process. This helps the CNSC to develop its own approach to consultation or engagement and to address any issues early on.|
|Can this best practice be used to enhance/inform Indigenous engagement activities carried out by others?||Yes. REGDOC-3.2.2 can enhance other government departments’ engagement activities, because while CNSC’s requirements are clearly described, the regulatory document also includes guidance and references to other resources that can assist the licensee in conducting meaningful and responsive Indigenous engagement.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||REGDOC-3.2.2 underwent extensive public and Indigenous consultation. A number of Indigenous groups provided comments and CNSC staff have consequently adjusted the wording in the document. To date, CNSC staff have heard that Indigenous groups appreciate the clarity provided by REGDOC-3.2.2; for example, its explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the licensee and the Crown.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||REGDOC-3.2.2 is posted on the CNSC’s website and when it was published (in February 2016), a link to the document was sent to the CNSC’s email subscription list. This link was also sent directly to Indigenous groups that the CNSC engages with on a regular basis. When proponents approach the CNSC before submitting an application, the CNSC informs them of REGDOC-3.2.2 and its expectations for Indigenous engagement.|
3.2 Participant Funding Program
In 2011, the CNSC established the Participant Funding Program (PFP) to help individuals, Indigenous groups and not-for-profit organizations participate in its regulatory review processes. In 2015, the CNSC leveraged the flexibility of the program’s terms and conditions to expand funding availability to activities such as supporting meetings between Indigenous groups and CNSC staff. Since 2017, funding has been provided to support the conduct of Indigenous knowledge (IK) studies near CNSC-licensed facilities, and to enable participation of Indigenous community members in the sampling program associated with the CNSC’s Independent Environmental Monitoring Program.
|What makes this a best practice?||In addition to the traditional funding for participation in regulatory review processes (including Commission proceedings and environmental assessments), the CNSC’s PFP awards funding to Indigenous groups to cover eligible costs for meetings with CNSC staff on topics of regulatory interest throughout the regulatory lifecycle. Funding can also be awarded to support participation in workshops, traditional land use and IK studies, environmental monitoring activities and honoraria.|
|How does this best practice support the reconciliation agenda and/or engagement linked to other major Government of Canada policy priorities or initiatives?||CNSC uses an independent third party Funding Review Committee (FRC) to review applications for participant funding. Guidance is provided to the FRC on such topics as value-added criteria and funding thresholds for IK study applications. Funding provides financial support for Indigenous groups to be meaningfully involved in CNSC regulatory processes throughout the project lifecycle. It also helps CNSC build positive long-term relationships through regular and ongoing meetings and information gathering.|
|How do we know this best practice is working?||
Since the CNSC started offering participant funding for meetings between Indigenous groups and staff in 2015, the CNSC has funded more than 36 meetings. CNSC staff have received positive feedback that the funding process is efficient and effective. In addition, five IK studies are currently being funded under the CNSC’s PFP.
As shown in Figure 2 below, in the past two years, the PFP awarded over $1,500,000 to eligible recipients with over 60% of the funding going towards Indigenous communities. During this time, funding awards to Indigenous groups have ranged anywhere from $1,000 to support a one-day meeting, to over $200,000 for an IK study. Since the inception of the program, the CNSC has seen a steady increase in requests for funding from Indigenous groups.
|Can this best practice be used to enhance/inform Indigenous engagement activities carried out by others?||Yes. Lack of funding for consultation and engagement activities is one of the major concerns that Indigenous groups consistently raise with government departments and agencies. The flexibility for the CNSC to financially support a variety of different activities throughout the regulatory lifecycle can serve as an approach to help other tribunals to achieve greater engagement.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||CNSC staff have received feedback from Indigenous groups that funding availability for a variety of different topics is appreciated and helps address gaps. While the CNSC’s funding helps Indigenous groups become more involved in CNSC regulatory processes on an on-going basis, some groups say it is still not enough to be fully engaged or remain engaged between licensing hearings. In addition, Indigenous groups have expressed a desire for more regular year-to-year funding to build capacity within communities, such as funding to hire more permanent consultation and engagement personnel or assessment specialists. Currently, the terms and conditions for CNSC’s PFP do not allow for the provision of capacity funding such as for hiring personnel.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||The CNSC has a PFP Web page that includes guidance and information on the different funding opportunities available to Indigenous groups and the public, as well as detailed instructions on how to apply. CNSC staff also notify Indigenous groups with interest in nuclear facilities directly via letter or email about funding opportunities and promote the various PFP options at meetings, conferences, open houses and through local radio stations and newspapers.|
3.3 Multi-party meetings
Multi-party meetings, involving the CNSC, Indigenous groups and CNSC licensees/proponents, are held.
|What makes this a best practice?||When agreed to by all parties, CNSC staff have advocated having meetings among all the various parties involved in a particular CNSC regulatory process or activity. This way, the questions and concerns raised by Indigenous groups can be answered by the appropriate responsible party. These meetings help ensure transparency, accountability and consistency in messaging, while reducing the need for multiple meetings on the same topic. The CNSC has also invited provincial representatives and staff from other federal government departments to participate in meetings with Indigenous groups and proponents.|
|How does this best practice support the reconciliation agenda and/or engagement linked to other major Government of Canada policy priorities or initiatives?||Meetings with all parties involved in a particular project or activity help to disseminate project related information and work towards addressing the concerns of Indigenous peoples in relation to CNSC regulatory activities in a more efficient and holistic manner.|
|How do we know this best practice is working?||Government departments and agencies typically meet separately with Indigenous groups and proponents/licensees. The CNSC has, however, found that multi-party meetings with all involved can lead to meaningful discussions and can clarify concerns or issues.|
|Can this best practice be used to enhance/inform Indigenous engagement activities carried out by others?||Yes. The CNSC strongly recommends that other departments and agencies consider this approach, where appropriate, to make engagement with Indigenous peoples more efficient, transparent and effective.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||The CNSC has received feedback from several Indigenous groups and organizations that these types of meetings and workshops are a best practice and were very productive for all involved.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||When engaging with Indigenous peoples, the CNSC offers the option to have meetings with all parties involved in a regulatory process.|
3.4 Participation in Commission meetings
The CNSC promotes Indigenous engagement and participation in Commission meetings, such as for information sharing, including review and discussion of licensee performance via regulatory oversight reports (RORs).
|What makes this a best practice?||
As requested, CNSC staff provide timely information and expertise to the Commission at public meetings that are not focused on licensing decisions, such as those for annual updates on the performance of the nuclear sector through RORs. Participant funding is made available to potentially interested Indigenous groups, members of the public and stakeholders to review each ROR and to intervene in the public meeting.
For each ROR, CNSC staff proactively identify and notify potentially interested Indigenous groups of the report, the opportunity to participate, and the availability of participant funding. In addition, the CNSC has recently allowed Indigenous intervenors (and not other intervenors) the opportunity to make oral presentations in cases where oral presentations were not otherwise part of the process. Whereas Indigenous intervenors previously had to ask for special permission to present orally, the CNSC now offers this option in recognition of the Indigenous oral tradition for sharing knowledge.
This process provides interested Indigenous groups an opportunity to review the CNSC’s regulatory oversight and performance of the nuclear sector in Canada and to provide comments directly to CNSC staff and the Commission on an annual basis, outside of more formal Commission hearings that focus on specific licensing decisions.
|The opportunity for Indigenous peoples to participate in public meetings annually and to voice their opinions directly to the Commission helps to build trust between Indigenous peoples and the CNSC. This opportunity also contributes to CNSC staff’s ability to build long-term relationships with interested Indigenous peoples outside of a formal regulatory review process such as a licence renewal or environmental assessment.|
|How do we know this best practice is working?||The CNSC has received a number of funding applications and written interventions from Indigenous groups in relation to the RORs. The CNSC has also received requests for CNSC staff to meet with Indigenous community representatives to give an update on the performance of the nuclear sector and provide an overview of what is being reported in the RORs.|
|Yes. The CNSC would strongly recommend that other departments and agencies consider engaging Indigenous peoples regularly on performance reports and other reporting and oversight mechanisms that may be of interest to them. This practice strengthens the relationship between the community and the Crown, promotes transparency and reassures communities of the CNSC’s continued regulatory oversight of a project or industry sector.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||The CNSC has received positive and constructive feedback from interested Indigenous groups on the opportunity to raise issues directly with the Commission annually via the ROR process. Engaging Indigenous peoples on a regular basis in relation to the RORs has helped CNSC staff to learn more about specific Indigenous interests and concerns and to develop relationships and mutual understanding.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||The CNSC posts RORs on its website. The availability of the reports for comment and the opportunity to apply for funding are advertised through a message to CNSC email subscribers, and reports are also sent directly to Indigenous groups that the CNSC engages with on a regular basis.|
3.5 Participation in Commission hearings
The CNSC promotes Indigenous consultation and engagement through participation in Commission hearings that contribute to a licensing decision.
|What makes this a best practice?||
The CNSC is a quasi-judicial tribunal and an Agent of the Crown, which means that in parallel to contemplating licensing decisions, the Commission determines if any duty to consult has been met in respect of the decision. Through its approach to Indigenous consultation for licensing decisions with the potential to impact Indigenous and/or treaty rights, CNSC staff identify and encourage potentially affected and interested Indigenous groups to participate in the Commission hearing. Indigenous participation at hearings gives the Commission and all participants an opportunity to hear and meaningfully respond to issues or concerns.
Commission hearings also provide an opportunity for potentially affected and interested Indigenous groups to directly challenge what CNSC staff or licence applicants (proponents) have submitted to the Commission (in Commission member documents). During the public hearings, the Commission members ask questions of staff, the proponent and Indigenous groups, and all responses form part of the public record. As part of its decision, the Commission is able to place conditions on a licence, issue recommendations to licensees, or direct CNSC staff with respect to continued Indigenous consultation, engagement and/or implementation of accommodation measures such as mitigation of effects, pursuit of long-term relationship agreements, and/or Indigenous involvement in ongoing environmental monitoring and follow-up programs.
Where appropriate, Commission proceedings open with a culturally appropriate Indigenous ceremony and recognition of the local traditional or treaty territory. Commission hearings have also been translated into local Indigenous languages, such as Dene and Cree.
Commission public hearings are webcast live. Based on the Commission’s hearing procedures, participants can intervene in writing, in person or via telephone or videoconference where available.
Commission hearings form an important part of the CNSC’s approach to Indigenous consultation and engagement and provide a transparent, thorough and meaningful way for Indigenous groups to be involved in the regulatory review process for major nuclear facilities.
Commission hearings also form an important aspect of the CNSC’s consultation process as part of the duty to consult and, where necessary, accommodate.
|How do we know this best practice is working?||Indigenous groups are regular participants in Commission public hearings and recipients of CNSC participant funding.|
|Yes; however, recognizing that not all departments and agencies have a public hearing process, this is somewhat unique to the CNSC.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||The CNSC has received positive and constructive feedback on the Commission hearing process and, when offered, Indigenous groups have appreciated the simultaneous translation of hearings into the local Indigenous language. Potentially affected and interested Indigenous groups regularly participate in Commission hearings and often indicate that they felt that the Commission hearing process was thorough and meaningful and that their voices were heard.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||The CNSC’s Commission hearing processes are webcast live on the CNSC website. There are also transcripts for all Commission hearings and a detailed record of decision that is provided to interested Indigenous groups after a Commission decision. Commission hearings are also advertised through a message to CNSC email subscribers and are communicated to Indigenous groups with a potential interest in the application being considered by the Commission.|
3.6 Participation in the CNSC’s Independent Environmental Monitoring Program
The CNSC encourages Indigenous participation in its Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP).
|What makes this a best practice?||
In addition to licensees’ regulated environmental monitoring programs, the CNSC established the IEMP to verify that the public and environment around CNSC-regulated nuclear facilities are not adversely affected by releases to the environment from a nuclear facility. This verification is achieved through independent sampling of environmental media in publicly accessible areas around nuclear facilities and analysis by the CNSC’s independent laboratory. The sampling program and results are posted on the CNSC’s interactive IEMP Web page.
The CNSC understands that environmental protection and monitoring are important to Indigenous peoples and have actively engaged potentially interested Indigenous communities with respect to the IEMP. The CNSC’s Participant Funding Program is made available to Indigenous communities to assist them in participating in the IEMP.
Prior to each sampling campaign around a CNSC regulated facility, CNSC staff sends a notification to potentially interested Indigenous communities to inform them of planned sampling activities and invite input and/or suggest a meeting to provide more information on the program. Recently, Indigenous communities have collaborated with CNSC staff on the selection of sampling locations and other considerations, and have also been provided with honoraria to directly accompany CNSC staff during sampling activities.
CNSC staff also encourage communities to provide feedback on the program and input into future sampling campaigns so that CNSC can incorporate, to the greatest extent possible, sampling locations, environmental media and foodstuffs that are important to Indigenous peoples. This is a unique program that contributes to building trust between the CNSC and Indigenous communities.
|The CNSC works hard to ensure that the IEMP is flexible and responds to the needs of interested Indigenous groups, where possible. This unique program contributes to raising a community’s knowledge about a facility and the CNSC, promotes and supports increased participation, and builds trust between the CNSC and Indigenous communities.|
|How do we know this best practice is working?||CNSC staff have received a number of requests to meet with Indigenous communities to discuss the IEMP with their leadership, Elders, youth and community members. The CNSC has met with a variety of Indigenous groups to discuss the IEMP and have worked with community members to identify appropriate sampling locations in relation to CNSC-licensed facilities nearby.|
|Yes. CNSC staff highly recommend that other departments and agencies engage Indigenous people in any environmental monitoring or sampling programs or activities, where appropriate.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||The CNSC has seen much interest and received constructive feedback from Indigenous peoples on the IEMP. CNSC staff have responded to Indigenous groups who would like to have some of their land users and Elders help identify sampling locations and accompany CNSC staff on their sampling campaigns to observe how sampling is done. CNSC staff have also learned that Indigenous peoples may consume certain species in higher quantity, and in different ways compared to the general population, such as an entire fish. The CNSC has therefore adjusted sampling and analysis techniques to take any unique circumstances or Indigenous consumption practices into account.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||CNSC staff notify potentially interested Indigenous groups to inform them in advance of sampling activities, and offer to provide more information on the program including the opportunity to meet with CNSC staff in their community. In addition, the CNSC has an IEMP Web page with an interactive map displaying sampling locations and results.|
3.7 Ongoing engagement
The CNSC conducts ongoing activities to engage with Indigenous groups throughout the licensing lifecycle.
|What makes this a best practice?||
Conducting outreach and engagement activities on a regular basis, outside of a formal regulatory process helps to build relationships, trust and helps CNSC staff learn more about the history, rights, interests, and culture of Indigenous groups with an interest in CNSC-regulated facilities.
Upon invitation, CNSC staff will participate in community events and workshops, including opportunities to provide CNSC’s "Meet the Regulator" presentations. For example, the CNSC has participated in annual tours of Indigenous communities in northern Saskatchewan along with CNSC licensees.
Proactively, CNSC staff are embarking on a long-term Indigenous engagement strategy under which the CNSC is initiating regular structured dialogue, supported by terms of reference, when appropriate, for long-term relationship agreements with Indigenous groups with a direct interest in CNSC-regulated facilities.
|Conducting outreach and engagement activities on a regular basis, outside of a formal regulatory process supports building relationships, trust and helps CNSC staff learn more about the history, rights, interests, and culture of Indigenous groups with an interest in CNSC-regulated facilities.|
|How do we know this best practice is working?||
CNSC staff have received a number of requests to participate in community events. As a result of their participation in these events and activities, CNSC staff have received feedback from Indigenous communities that they appreciate it when they participate in their community events and visit on a regular basis. The view is that it demonstrates that CNSC staff care about the relationship with their community.
As it is currently still being developed, it is too early to know if the long-term Indigenous engagement strategy is effective. However, identified Indigenous groups have provided positive early feedback on the strategy’s approach and intent.
|Yes. CNSC staff highly recommend that other departments and agencies participate in Indigenous community events, workshops, open houses and other activities as much as possible. This is a great way to meet community members and build relationships.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||As a result of participation in these events and activities, CNSC staff have received feedback from Indigenous communities that they appreciate it when CNSC staff participate in their community events and visit on a regular basis, as it demonstrates that CNSC staff care about the relationship with their community and are open to learning more about their history, culture, rights and interests.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||The CNSC communicates directly with Indigenous groups to coordinate participation in events and activities. Also, CNSC staff will post photos and information about their outreach with Indigenous communities on its social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, website, etc.).|
3.8 Indigenous relations team and governance
The CNSC has a dedicated policy and operations team with expertise and a focus on Indigenous relations, as well as a strong governance structure to oversee and align consultation and engagement efforts across the organization.
|What makes this a best practice?||
The CNSC has a dedicated team of approximately six full-time equivalent employees with expertise in Indigenous consultation and engagement policy and operational practices.
The role of the Indigenous relations team is to provide strategic advice to CNSC staff on the duty to consult and any associated accommodation considerations, as well as practices required for upholding the honour of the Crown and for building positive relationships with Indigenous groups with respect to the regulated activities.
In addition, the Indigenous relations team coordinates and conducts engagement and supports consultation activities along with other CNSC experts and project officers, and it is actively involved in licensing and environmental assessment review processes including answering questions before the Commission tribunal. The team also develops policy and guidance to ensure that CNSC’s Indigenous engagement and consultation practices stay effective and relevant. Upon request, experts from the team identify or provide training opportunities and information on Indigenous consultation, history, culture and rights to CNSC staff, management and the Commission.
The CNSC also has a strong governance structure for oversight and alignment, including a director-general level steering committee (Indigenous Relations Steering Committee) that meets regularly to discuss policy and operational matters with respect to Indigenous relations.
Having a dedicated team of experts and strong governance structure helps to ensure consistency and a high standard of Indigenous consultation and engagement activities across the organization.
|Having a dedicated team of experts in the field of Indigenous relations helps to ensure that the CNSC consistently considers the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples in relation to its regulatory decisions and activities across the organization. In addition, this enables the CNSC to have the necessary resources to build long term collaborative relationships with Indigenous groups.|
|How do we know this best practice is working?||Indigenous relations have been identified by CNSC senior management as a high priority for the organization. The Indigenous relations team is involved in all major regulatory activities across the organization. There is a dedicated Indigenous consultation and engagement section in all CNSC Commission Member Documents and other reports. Consideration of Indigenous peoples, their rights and interests is now incorporated and considered across the vast majority of the CNSC’s work. Indigenous groups are also often the most prominent and active participants in CNSC proceedings and form the majority of Participant Funding Program recipients. CNSC staff has also built a number of very strong and positive relationships with Indigenous groups who have an interest in CNSC regulated facilities.|
|Yes. CNSC staff highly recommend that other departments and agencies establish a dedicated team of experts with a focus on Indigenous relations, with both a policy and an operational mandate.|
|What are the Indigenous perspectives on this best practice?||Indigenous groups who participate in Commission proceedings have regularly stated on the record that they appreciate the CNSC’s approach to Indigenous consultation and engagement and enjoy working with the dedicated experts in the Indigenous relations team. The Indigenous relations team provides a single point of contact for groups that have questions and concerns. This approach has been highlighted as valuable by many Indigenous groups, since it supports building trust and mutual respect.|
|What is the dissemination approach for this best practice?||The CNSC has information about its approach to Indigenous relations on its website and presents information on its structure and area of activities to Indigenous groups through presentations and formal communications.|
4. Future considerations and way forward
The CNSC’s goal of being a world-class regulator requires the organization to stay current with trends and good practices with respect to regulation and engagement. CNSC staff continue to monitor evolving approaches to Indigenous consultation, engagement and relationship building in support of reconciliation. Where appropriate, the CNSC will align its approach with policy and operational innovations taking place across Canada and internationally.
As an example, during 2018, the CNSC pursued the implementation of a new long-term Indigenous engagement strategy to more routinely and proactively engage and collaborate with Indigenous groups with a direct interest in CNSC-regulated facilities. This includes the development of terms of reference and an engagement work plan to ensure meaningful engagement and dialogue throughout the lifecycle of nuclear facilities that are of interest to identified groups. As the strategy is implemented, CNSC staff will monitor this work plan’s success and gather feedback from Indigenous groups to ensure that it is meeting their needs and intended objectives.
Also during 2018, CNSC took initial steps towards implementing an Indigenous and Reconciliation Learning Strategy. The vision behind this strategy is to enable all CNSC staff, including executives, to seize opportunities to increase individual and collective awareness of Indigenous history, culture, rights and reconciliation objectives. Through targeted staff training planned for 2019, and ongoing awareness activities involving all staff, the CNSC is making strides to meet the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action in respect of embedding reconciliation as a principle for the Public Service.
The CNSC is hoping to continue this important dialogue and can share more detailed information on practices presented in the compendium with CFTC members upon request.
- Footnote 1
Sections 3 and 9 of the NSCA state that the purpose and objects of the Commission include limiting the risks associated with the development, production and use of nuclear energy, related substances or information to a reasonable level, and to regulate to prevent unreasonable risk to the environment and to the health and safety of persons.
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