The Canada Energy Regulator announced last month that it’s Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) and Board of Directors have co-developed and co-endorsed the committee’s terms of reference.
In a press release from the CER, the agency calls the agreement a key milestone in the committee’s development. The CER says advice and work from the IAC will be grounded in advancing reconciliation by transforming the relationship between the CER and Indigenous peoples of Canada.
While the IAC is not a decision-making body and does not engage in CER operational matters or offer advice on any particular decision, the regulator says the committee along with the board of directors, commission and CEO is an integral part of the CER governance structure.
Tribal Chief Tyrone McNeil, Interim Chairperson of the Indigenous Advisory Committee said “In building strong, long-term relationships with the CER, the Indigenous Advisory Committee has an opportunity to bring Indigenous worldviews into the governance and work of the federal regulator, furthering the implementation of the UN Declaration toward understanding, respect and recognition of Indigenous values and rights.”
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous peoples will form the foundation, and provide the roadmap, for the Committee’s work.
The CER is hoping the establishment of the committee will help build trust and mutual capacity as well as provide an opportunity for frank discussions, shared learnings and the promotion of positive systemic change within the CER and its regulated industry.
The regulator says the committee’s nine members are leaders at the local, regional and national level, are respected voices of their communities, and bring deep experience in the energy and natural resources sector. They have been nominated directly by national Indigenous organizations including the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
Tyrone McNeil has been selected interim chairperson by the committee and Kaella-Marie Earle is the interim Vice-chairperson.
“These are exciting times for the Canada Energy Regulator and I’m personally looking forward to working closely with our Indigenous Advisory Committee,” said Gitane De Silva, Chief Executive Officer Canada Energy Regulator. She added the CER is working to create a more inclusive and effective regulatory system.
The committee will provide advice to the CER board of directors at a broad and strategic level as well as have tangible impacts on the day-to-day operations of the energy regulator.
As an example, the CER will see the committee’s advice on approaches to Indigenous peoples’ involvement in CER compliance and oversight activities. As well, the committee will advise the regulator on the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples within the CER’s mandate.
According to the press release, this advice will bring meaningful changes to the way the CER works, including in its oversight, expectations and requirements of the CER’s regulated companies.
The work of the IAC is expected to also support other initiatives that the CER has undertaken to advance reconciliation, such as with the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees for the Trans Mountain Existing Pipeline and Expansion and the Line 3 Replacement Program.