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Federal guide for inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in impact assessments

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The Government of Canada has announced a new framework to guide inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in impact assessments for mining projects. The framework – known as The Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework for Project Reviews and Regulatory Decisions – was developed in partnership with 79 Indigenous communities and organizations across the nation.

The framework is designed to inform the respectful, consistent and meaningful inclusion and protection of Indigenous knowledge in project reviews and regulatory decisions under the Impact Assessment Act; the Canadian Navigable Waters Act; the Canadian Energy Regulator Act; and the fish and fish habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act.

The framework provides a foundation for stronger relationships between the government and Indigenous Peoples based on respect for different worldviews and sources of knowledge. It will better enable the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in the impact assessment process to improve project design, strengthen mitigation and accommodation measures, and make sound regulatory decisions for sustainable resource development.

Recognizing the importance of Indigenous knowledge systems and providing for its respectful inclusion in assessments of major projects like dams, mines and liquefied natural gas facilities is one more step in the government’s efforts to strengthen partnership with Indigenous Peoples. It is a concrete example of how the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada is implementing the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The framework represents the first step in the development of guidance specific to Indigenous knowledge in impact assessment, including on best practices for reviewing Indigenous knowledge in project submissions and establishing confidentiality procedures.

“Indigenous knowledge has made, and continues to make, valuable contributions to environmental, regulatory and other processes across the country. Today’s announcement is an important step forward in the Government of Canada’s commitment to foster reconciliation and partnership with Indigenous peoples by aligning federal regulators and decision-makers on how to respectfully and meaningfully include Indigenous knowledge in project reviews and regulatory decisions,’ said the Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Click here to learn more about the new framework.