The standards for Indigenous engagement are evolving rapidly in Canada. The risks to project approvals and schedules, based on whether consultation has been complete, have been recently demonstrated by the denial of project permits and protests against projects. Indigenous rights and the duty to consult with affected Indigenous groups is based on the Constitution Act, 1982 and has been, and is being, better defined through case law. At the same time, international standards, including the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, are influencing government and corporate policies regarding consultation. The Government of Canada is revising policies and project application review processes, to incorporate the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; that Commission specifically called for industry to take an active role in reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Pipeline companies can manage cost, schedule and regulatory risks to their projects and enhance project and corporate social acceptance through building and maintaining respectful relationships and creating opportunities for Indigenous participation in projects.

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