Our commitment to Indigenous Nations and communities and the public
At the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), we work closely with Indigenous Nations and communities and the public as part of our ongoing commitment to consultation, engagement and reconciliation.
Consultation and engagement with Indigenous Nations and communities
We have been actively working for many years to advance reconciliation and forge a shared path forward with Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations. Our future together is reliant on our commitment to listening to and understanding Indigenous perspectives and amplifying Indigenous voices through respectful consultation and collaborative engagement.
Throughout our regulatory processes, we conduct comprehensive consultation and engagement activities for all projects. This includes meeting and engaging with and actively listening to Indigenous Nations and communities to learn about issues and concerns, and seeking opportunities to understand and meaningfully address the potential impacts of nuclear projects on Indigenous and/or treaty rights.
Our consultation and engagement processes follow best practices for nuclear projects, and our staff regularly benchmark against processes undertaken by other federal departments and agencies, such as the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, to ensure that they are responsive and adaptive to the needs of Indigenous Nations and communities.
Some of the consultation and engagement activities our staff undertake as part of the environmental assessment (EA) and licensing regulatory processes for projects include:
- negotiating and signing project-specific terms of reference and long-term engagement arrangements with interested Indigenous Nations and communities
- supporting the collection and inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in the EA and licensing regulatory processes using our Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework
- working with interested Indigenous Nations and communities to assess the impacts of a potential project on Indigenous and/or treaty rights, ultimately culminating in collaboratively drafted rights impact assessments that are submitted to the Commission
- collaboratively drafting key sections of our environmental assessment reports to ensure that the Commission can clearly assess the CNSC’s and Indigenous Nations’ positions on key environmental and rights-based information
- providing financial support to help Indigenous Nations and communities participate in the EA and licensing regulatory processes via our Participant Funding Program
- for example, for the proposed near surface disposal facility (NSDF) project, we provided over $920,000 to Indigenous Nations and communities to support their participation in consultation and engagement activities; this included negotiating project terms of reference, collaboratively drafting rights impact assessments and sections of the environmental assessment report, conducting Indigenous Knowledge studies, and participating in Commission proceedings
- providing additional support to Indigenous Nations and communities through the newly launched Indigenous and Stakeholder Capacity Fund so that they can build capacity within their Nations and continue to engage with us throughout the lifecycle of nuclear facilities located within their traditional territories
- as a lifecycle regulator, continuing to be an interface between licensees and Indigenous Nations and communities to ensure that they are involved in the long-term management of sites
- our Independent Environmental Monitoring Program is one tool that is used regularly to involve Indigenous Nations and communities in the monitoring of CNSC-regulated sites
We are fully committed to continued engagement and reconciliation with Indigenous Nations and communities to address the Action Plan commitments stemming from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and we continue to work closely with federal departments and agencies on this issue.
Public engagement and participation
Listening to communities is an essential part of the work we do to understand the effects of a nuclear project on the public. The public can participate, be heard, and learn in many ways, such as by:
- intervening in or attending the Commission’s public proceedings – the Participant Funding Program is available to support formal contributions (either written or oral presentations) from eligible applicants
- attending a CNSC webinar or one being hosted by a licensee or applicant to learn and ask questions about a project
- consulting the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry for information on ongoing environmental assessments
- emailing comments to CNSC staff or asking to be added to the mailing list for a specific project
- creating an account on Let’s Talk Nuclear Safety for opportunities to participate in a range of CNSC consultations
- subscribing to our mailing list to receive news and updates
For more information and guidance, there are many CNSC and additional resources.
- Media Kit: Near Surface Disposal Facility
- REGDOC-3.2.2, Indigenous Engagement
- Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework
- Statement on Indigenous engagement and consultation
- Arrangements with Indigenous Nations and communities
- CNSC policy statement: CNSC’s Commitment to Indigenous Consultation and Engagement
- Compendium of Indigenous Consultation and Engagement Practices
- Participant Funding Program
- Get involved
- Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation – Updated Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Duty to Consult
- Government of Canada and the duty to consult
- Aboriginal and Treaty Rights Information System
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
For more information about our approach to Indigenous consultation, engagement and reconciliation, please contact us.
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