The Canada Energy Regulator says it is joining an aboriginal liaison program in B.C. meant to improve the relationship between regulators, government, and northern First Nations.
The program began in 2014 as a partnership between the Doig River First Nation and the BC Oil and Gas Commission. Today it includes 10 provincial government agencies and 15 First Nations in northern B.C. that are supported by the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society.
The CER says joining the program and collaborating with First Nation communities will help ensure federally regulated pipelines are safe, that the environment is protected, and that aboriginal rights are recognized and respected.
“Being part of this well-established program in Northern B.C. will further our awareness and understanding of the traditional and cultural worldviews of these communities by honouring their expertise in traditional land use, sacred sites, and historical knowledge,” said CEO Gitane De Silva in a release.
There are 12 liaison positions, hired and employed by First Nations communities, who share local knowledge with natural resource agencies and regulators, including the BCOGC and CER.
Lori Lineham, a member of the Doig River and a liaison since 2015, says the work has helped develop. her understanding of development and its impacts while being able to inform her community with reliable information.
“I love working with agency staff to help them understand First Nation’s values and traditional ecological knowledge, and to learn firsthand about my culture and community,” said Lineham.
“Building relationships between First Nations and all Government agencies is important, and I am looking forward to working with the CER and their staff to learn and share knowledge and experiences.”
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