Backgrounder: Engagement Process with Indigenous Groups on Trans Mountain Expansion Project


The Government of Canada wishes to thank all of the interested parties for participating in the economic participation engagement process, for their time and consideration. No relationship is more important to the Government than its relationship with Indigenous peoples – one based on respect, cooperation, partnership, and the recognition of and commitment to Indigenous rights.


During Phase III consultations regarding the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the Project), and separately, many Indigenous groups expressed interest in opportunities for greater economic participation in the Project. In March 2019, the Government of Canada announced its intent to explore such opportunities, should the Project be approved.

On June 18, 2019, the Governor in Council approved the Project subject to 156 conditions and to adhering to recommendations of the National Energy Board (NEB), and directed the NEB to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and a positive environmental decision statement in respect of the Project. With these, the Project will proceed to the next stage in the regulatory review process, including Phase IV consultations regarding detailed route approvals, condition compliance, and the NEB's consideration of routing and non-routing variance requests, as well as the implementation of mitigation and accommodation measures from Phase III.

With the Project now approved to move forward, the Government is launching an engagement process that will be led by the Department of Finance Canada, starting with an exploratory, information-gathering step in Summer 2019.

Engagement Principles

The engagement process will be informed by the following principles:

  • Potentially impacted Indigenous groups could have an opportunity for meaningful economic participation in the Project;
  • Participation of Indigenous groups could help the economic development of their communities in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation;
  • The Government of Canada invested in Trans Mountain to benefit all Canadians; and
  • The Project will be built and operated on a commercial basis.

Scope of Exploratory Discussions

For the exploratory step of the engagement process, officials from the Department of Finance Canada will organize a series of meetings over the Summer in Ottawa, Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, and Edmonton. This first step of engagement will seek to understand views on how Canada should approach the broader engagement process, and to gauge preliminary views about how economic participation in the Project might be structured.

The Government will seek to meet with Indigenous groups and organizations that represent Indigenous groups. This step will also allow for input from other interested parties, including the general public, should these parties wish to express their views. Input can be sent via e-mail to until August 30, 2019.

Guiding Questions

  1. What are your views on how the Government should engage potentially impacted Indigenous groups regarding their potential economic participation in the Project?
  2. Based on information that is currently available, does your group see a benefit in participating economically in the Project?
  3. If yes to question 2, do you have any initial views on how such "economic participation" should be structured (e.g., form, timing)? What does "economic participation" mean to you and your group (e.g., equity, partnership)?
  4. Are you interested in collaborating with other groups in subsequent steps of the engagement process?
  5. In order to participate effectively in subsequent steps of the engagement process, what information, advice, or support would you need to have?

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee will support the Government of Canada in its engagement with the Indigenous communities. The Committee will provide advice and recommendations on the Government's engagement process and, particularly, on the subsequent steps of that process. The members of the Committee are Linda Coady (Chair), Garry Wouters and Kathryn Teneese.

Biographical Notes

Linda Coady, Chair

Linda Coady was Chief Sustainability Officer from 2013 to 2018 for Enbridge Inc., one of North America's largest energy infrastructure companies delivering oil and natural gas and operating and investing in utilities, power and renewable energy.

Prior to joining Enbridge, she was Vice-President of Sustainability for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Vice President of Pacific Region for World Wildlife Fund Canada, Vice President of Environmental Enterprise for the BC Coastal Group of forest companies Weyerhaeuser Canada and MacMillan Bloedel, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia.

She also served as a member of the 2015 Climate Advisory Panel to the Government of Alberta, and in 2018 as Co-Chair of the Government of Canada's Generation Energy Council on Canada's energy future a generation from now.

Garry Wouters

Garry Wouters is a consultant at Coastal First Nations in West Vancouver, B.C. He has extensive experience providing advice and analysis to First Nations groups. In 1999 he joined Turning Point, which became the Great Bear Initiative.

Prior to his work as a consultant, Mr. Wouters worked in various government positions including B.C. Jobs and Timber Advocate, Associate Deputy Minister at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and as Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Deputy Minister of Skills and Training and Deputy Minister of Finance in British Columbia.

Kathryn Teneese

Kathryn Teneese is the Chief Negotiator for the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Financing Society and the Chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, which represents 1,200 Ktunaxa Nation members in four communities. She is active in making Ktunaxa Nation a visible part of local communities, from participating in economic development to revitalizing language and culture.

She has been instrumental in building relationships and negotiating an Incremental Treaty Agreement. She has served on the Board of Directors for the New Relationship Trust, dedicated to strengthening First Nations in B.C. The Ktunaxa Nation Council’s commitment to environmental stewardship includes the installation of a 119 panel solar array and a public electric vehicle charging station at its government building.

Next Steps

Following the close of exploratory discussions with Indigenous groups, the Government expects to continue the engagement process by refining potential models for economic participation. This could entail a second round of meetings, and roundtables with representatives from the banking and financial services sector and the oil and gas sector (e.g., shippers), as well as representatives from project aggregators.

The engagement process led by the Department of Finance Canada will be separate from any Phase IV consultations, which will be overseen by the Department of Natural Resources Canada and the Minister of Natural Resources.