NPMO's role in Crown Consultation
NPMO acts as the Crown Consultation Coordinator for major projects in the territories. Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut each have their own environmental assessment and regulatory processes, which were set up under land claim agreements. While the environmental assessment and regulatory processes in each of the territories vary, NPMO's coordination activities are similar across the territories.
The Government of Canada relies on co-management boards and their processes to meet its duty to consult with Indigenous peoples and help accommodate adverse impacts on asserted or established rights. The board processes provide potentially affected Indigenous peoples, governments and organizations with an understanding about a proposed project and its potential impacts. Board processes also provide an important opportunity for the sharing of Indigenous traditional knowledge related to the impacts of a proposed project, and the voicing of concerns regarding potential impacts on Indigenous rights, and what can be done to address the concerns and issues raised.
NPMO is responsible for:
- Identifying, on a project-specific basis, Indigenous groups and organizations that may be potentially affected by a proposed project or its associated activities, and assessing the scope of the Crown's duty to consult. The identification of affected Indigenous groups looks at a specific project's location and the reach of its potential effects considering the established or asserted Indigenous rights in that area.
- Facilitating early engagement and meaningful participation of Indigenous groups and organizations in the environmental assessment process.
- Corresponding with each identified Indigenous group and organization early on and throughout the review process to provide an opportunity to share the federal approach to the assessment process and to ask for comments regarding the project's potential impacts.
- On behalf of federal departments, maintaining the Crown consultation record to track and understand concerns and issues about potential project impacts, including how they relate to asserted or established Indigenous rights, and the potential mitigation and accommodations to issues and concerns raised.
Through various phases of the board process, the Government of Canada actively engages with Indigenous groups. For example, the Government sends notification letters encouraging participation, provides financial support through the Northern Participant Funding Program to further promote engagement, and shares information to help Indigenous groups with their understanding and navigation of board processes.
The Crown consultation record
The official Crown consultation record maintained by NPMO includes detailed information primarily gathered through board processes, Indigenous engagements or consultations undertaken by proponents and government officials. Project-related issues and concerns, along with possible mitigations and accommodations are tracked for the record.
A territorial board's final report and recommendations from an environmental assessment process, along with Canada's tracking of concerns and potential solutions, provides federal decision-makers with information to help with the assessment of the adequacy of Crown consultation prior to Ministerial decisions about proposed major projects.
For more information, go to Regulatory Systems in the territories.
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