Aboriginal Affairs Panel

Summary of the Speaker's Panel held on November 10, 2016:

Our line-up of experts introduced a wholesome discussion of the challenges of environmental management in first nation communities and what it really means to have meaningful consultation.

Our first speaker, Chuck Birshall from Willms & Shier Environmental Law introduced the legal obligations of consultation.

Craig Wells from INAC spoke about the importance of building consensus and extending the project timelines in order to ensure all ideas and are considered. He noted that by facilitating a number of workshops and meetings, it exposed that there were different visions of the outcome within the community. Despite the process of consultation being a legal obligation, it is an imperative part of building trust in the project and ensuring that the community could stand behind it.

Chantal Quesnel, a Masters of Engineering student at the University of Ottawa highlighted some of the key concerns and issues of managing waste in these smaller, first nation communities. Poor management practices such as open dumping and open burning of waste leading to contaminants leaching into water sources. Chantal’s highlighted some efforts to manage project will provide the necessary information to work with stakeholders to remediate the issues and to implement better practices going forward.

We wish to thank all of our speakers for their insights into Aboriginal affairs and for helping us provide a successful discussion panel!