Economic Reconciliation Efforts Ramp Up

Canada’s integrated oil and gas operating companies are ramping up efforts to advance meaningful change in their relationships with Indigenous peoples. It has trickle down implications for pipelining. At the recent inaugural Forward Summit in Calgary, Brian McGuigan, lead for Aboriginal Policy at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), presented Economic Reconciliation as one of two key Indigenous engagement strategies being advanced by Canadian energy sector leaders. The other strategy, responsible development, aligns with PLCAC’s efforts to reinforce Canada’s unionized pipelining industry as the partner of choice for safe and responsibly constructed and maintained pipelines.

CAPP issued a discussion paper in 2016 about how the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) could be approached by Canada’s energy sector. CAPP followed up in late 2018, issuing a major economic report called Towards a Shared Future. It offers a leadership agenda and set of recommendations for how Canada might better share benefits of resource development as a pathway to Indigenous selfdetermination and growth of sustainable Indigenous economies. CAPP discusses Economic Reconciliation as “identifying and finding feasible ways to share economic opportunities arising from resource development, while continuing to learn, improve and grow strong relationships based on trust and respect.”

In a Forward Summit panel of Aboriginal procurement champions, Howard McIntyre, Vice-President, Supply Chain & Field Logistics for Suncor Energy Inc., discussed the energy sector’s commitment to more intentionally grow an Indigenous supply chain as a way to build stronger relationships. This includes mandatory Indigenous content in tenders. McIntyre stressed the focus is not promoting, but rather including, capable Indigenous businesses within the supply chain.

Indigenous engagement in downstream operations is also ramping up. Three of PLCAC’s Regular Member firms were successful in securing contracts for the Canadian section of the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program. Enbridge’s Line 3 projects had meaningful Indigenous content requirements for employment and services which our contractors successfully fulfilled. Other PLCAC contractors have also entered joint venture arrangements and use a variety of approaches to support Indigenous engagement in various pipelining projects.

Including more Indigenous businesses and employees is consistent with practices that pipeline-owning companies have gradually shifted to within bid requirements and commercial terms of contracts. It appears to be an evolving business practice that is migrating to become more intentional and aligned with Canada’s Reconciliation commitments.

The Canadian Pipeline Advisory Council (CPAC) recently agreed to study and document best practices from the major pipeline projects. This is consistent with an overall tone of Forward Summit, where the guiding theme was one of current good will and permission to learn together and better understand industry’s role in Reconciliation. The PLCAC remains committed to keeping our members informed and helping them remain competitive and responsive as this rapidly evolving area of business practice continues to unfold.

*Featured image originally published by Enbridge Inc.