United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples, governments and other Canadians has progressed significantly over the past decade.

Federal and provincial governments have made clear commitments to building renewed relationships with Indigenous Peoples, including implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canadian law has recognized the importance of reconciliation and Parliament and the courts have developed detailed constitutional and legal protection for Indigenous rights and interests.

As reconciliation continues to advance and evolve, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) and its members are at the forefront of ensuring the pipeline industry is playing its part in the reconciliation process. As articulated in our Principles and Objectives for Indigenous Engagement, our members are committed to identifying and operationalizing best and emerging practices for Indigenous engagement in the context of the spirit and intent of UNDRIP. In support of that commitment, below is an articulation of our industry’s policy position on how the principles of UNDRIP should be incorporated into Canada’s regulatory framework.

As an industry we strongly support the protections set out in UNDRIP for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to be free from all forms of discrimination. With that in mind, we offer the following interpretations of some of the key concepts in UNDRIP and the role our industry plays with respect to them.

  • Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC): CEPA and its members believe that FPIC should be interpreted as the objective of consultation when the duty to consult is triggered, but not a veto. Accordingly, any incorporation of the principles of FPIC, into regulatory processes or decision-making should be done in a way that is consistent with our constitutional framework and Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence on Indigenous and treaty rights.
  • Right to Self Determination: CEPA and its members support the right of self-determination in UNDRIP, including the right to maintain distinct political, social and cultural practices and institutions, and is open to exploring new ways of working together with Indigenous groups pursuing greater self- determination.
  • Economic and Social Sustainability: CEPA member companies contribute to the economic and social well-being of Indigenous groups in various ways, including community investment, employment and business opportunities. We believe this has been a successful approach to engaging Indigenous groups in the Canadian economy. While we acknowledge that pipeline companies have a role in contributing to the economic and social sustainability of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, government has the primary responsibility. It is important for government to fulfill its duty in reconciliation and not pass this responsibility or cost on to industry.
  • Recognition of Culture and Education: CEPA and its members strive to work collaboratively with Indigenous groups in a way that also respects their unique cultures, practices, customs and traditional knowledge as set out in UNDRIP in the context of Canadian law. We recognize the importance of these practices and traditions to Indigenous groups and to all Canadians.

Back to Principles and Objectives for Indigenous Engagement