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Ivey’s Energy Centre examines the responsibility to consult Aboriginal groups in Canada

Mar 31, 2015

Aboriginal policy brief

LONDON, ON, March 31, 2015 – From the Energy East Pipeline to the Supreme Court’s Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia decision, the role of Aboriginal people in energy and natural resource projects figures prominently in Canada today.

Many energy projects, including those involving electricity, oil, gas, mining, and pipelines, are located on Aboriginal land used for hunting, fishing, burial grounds, and other cultural purposes. Consequently, there is a legal duty to consult with Aboriginal groups and evaluate the potential impacts these projects may have on their lands.

The Energy East Pipeline is expected to cross the traditional territories of approximately 180 aboriginal communities, each with their own concerns and treaty status.  However, navigating the consultation process can be challenging even when only a single community may be affected because standards continue to evolve.  This is illustrated by the June 2014 Tsilhqot’in decision, which changes the ability of Aboriginal groups to influence energy project development and has consequences for how proponents approach new initiatives.

A new policy brief from the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre, The Duty to Consult and Accommodate Aboriginal Groups in Canada, outlines the evolution of the duty and explains current approaches. The brief is written as a primer on the history and current state of the legal environment around Aboriginal rights on energy projects. 

“The duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal groups remains a complex issue with definitions and standards that continue to evolve as courts provide more interpretation and guidance,” said Margaret Loudermilk, Research Director, Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre. 

Loudermilk is the lead author of the policy brief, which was co-authored with Guy Holburn, Director of the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre and Suncor Chair in Energy Policy, and André Wilkie, Associate at The Boston Consulting Group. 

To interview the authors, please contact Ivan Langrish, Senior Manager Media Strategy, at, or call 416-203-0664. To read the full policy brief, visit The Duty to Consult and Accommodate Aboriginal Groups in Canada

About the Ivey Business School, Western University
The Ivey Business School ( at Western University is Canada’s leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today’s complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Education at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong. 

About the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre
The Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre is the centre of expertise at the Ivey Business School focused on national energy business issues and public policies. It conducts and disseminates first class research on energy policy and promotes informed debate on public policy in the sector through supporting conferences and workshops that bring together industry, government, academia and other stakeholders in a neutral forum. The Centre draws on leading edge research by Ivey faculty as well as by faculty within Western University. More information is available at 

Ivan Langrish
Senior Manager, Media Strategy