UNDRIP & Impact Assessment: Opportunities & Challenges for Reconciliation

March 30, 2021 at 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET

Facilitator: Cheryl Chetkiewicz

Context

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples developed to date. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous Peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to Indigenous Peoples. In Canada, the first jurisdiction to develop a legislative framework to implement the declaration is British Columbia. Canada has recently introduced Bill C15 to do the same.

During this webinar, speakers will present the ways in which different levels of government are looking to implement the declaration and hear views from others, including Indigenous People, about the opportunities that the declaration provides to facilitate effective impact assessment.

Speakers

Amy Avila is the Executive Director of Indigenous Relations at the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office. Since joining the BC Public Service over a decade ago, Amy has worked with Indigenous nations on a wide variety of initiatives, from consultation for mine exploration projects to the review of the Columbia River Treaty, negotiations on hydro and oil and gas projects, and major mine development as the Executive Director of the Major Mine Permitting Office. Since joining the EAO, Amy has worked with the Indigenous Implementation Committee and directly with nations across BC to develop policies to support the new Environmental Assessment Act (2018) including the Indigenous Knowledge Guide and collaborative approaches to undertaking assessments with Indigenous Nations. Amy studied political science at St. Mary’s University and dispute resolution at the University of Victoria.

Julie Abouchar, B.Sc. (Hons.), LL.B., B.C.L., LL.M., is a Partner and Certified Specialist in Environmental Law and in Indigenous Legal Issues: Rights and Governance / Corporate and Commercial by the Law Society of Ontario at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP. Julie is a recognized expert in environmental, Indigenous and energy and natural resources law. Julie has a substantial Indigenous law practice, negotiating and drafting resource agreements for industry and Indigenous clients, advising on Aboriginal consultation, and facilitating dispute resolution in the mining, infrastructure, and energy sectors. She is co-author of Ontario Water Law, published by Canada Law Book. Julie is called to the Bar in Ontario, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Lana Eagle is an Indigenous relations strategist and a Social Innovator advising companies on how to better engage and work with Indigenous communities and to find a pathway forward through a Reconciliation framework. She also works with clients to develop Indigenous Engagement Protocols. Her background is in banking, economic development, wealth management, mineral exploration and mining. Lana was a “pioneer” for Aboriginal women in being one of the first to Chair a junior mineral exploration company. She is also an avid volunteer. Lana joined Association for Mineral Exploration’s (AME) Aboriginal Relations Committee in 2012 where she served as Chair for 6 years.  In 2017 she was elected to the Board of AME, being the first Indigenous woman to serve as a Director in its over 100 year history. Lana is a dedicated volunteer of AME where she is the founder and co-chair of the Gathering Place. She is a Program Advisory Committee Member for Mining and Mineral Exploration at the BC Institute of Technology. As well she sits on the Advisory Boards of (Sustainable Economic Futures) SEF Canada and CTEM, the Centre for Training Excellence in Mining.  She has been nominated to the Advisory Board of Development Partner Institute (DPI) Mining. And she has been appointed to the Indigenous Business and Investment Council for the Province of BC. She is also the Board Chair of the Central City Foundation. Most recently she has been appointed to the Board of Geoscience BC. Lana is a sought out speaker and lecturer on the topic of “Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation in Canada”, as well as “Diversity and Inclusion.” Lana is a member of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Danika Billie Littlechild is Cree from Ermineskin Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Treaty No. 6 territory in Alberta, Canada. Danika is an Assistant Professor at Carleton University in the Department of Law and Legal Studies (Faculty of Public Affairs). Prior to joining the Faculty in January of 2020, Danika practised law in Canada for two decades, advising Indigenous Peoples across Canada and internationally. Within Canada, Danika has served Indigenous representative organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations, as well as regional treaty based organizations and First Nations (Indigenous Peoples). Internationally, Danika served as an advisor and Indigenous Peoples Representative in various UN mechanisms, treaty bodies and special procedures including submitting Indigenous alternative reporting under treaty body mechanisms, participating in the development of the SDGs as a member of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group, and the intergovernmental process leading to the Minimata Convention on Mercury, as a few examples. She was as an advisor to the North American representative on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for three years (2013-2016) and was general counsel for International Indian Treaty Council (www.treatycouncil.org) from 2011-2018, working internationally with Indigenous Peoples from the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Americas. Danika has focused much of her efforts on issues related to environment, water, climate change, sustainability and more recently conservation and biodiversity. Danika was the first Indigenous woman to be appointed as Vice-President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (2014-2018) after almost 15 years of working with CCUNESCO in various voluntary, leadership and advisory capacities. After becoming a mother in 2017, Danika withdrew from international activities. Besides her primary work of teaching and research, she now serves as a member of the Canadian Joint Committee on Climate Action, whose members were appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Kevin Hanna, PhD is the Director of the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research at the University of British Columbia.  Dr. Hanna grew up on his family’s ranch in the southern interior of British Columbia. He is an alumnus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Toronto, where he obtained his PhD. Dr. Hanna teaches natural resources management and environmental assessment, and leads the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research at UBC’s Okanagan Campus. He is also an Associate Member of the Faculty of Forestry. Dr. Hanna has served on the BC government’s Environmental Assessment Advisory Committee, and the province’s Environmental Assessment Implementation Committee. His research centres on integrated approaches to natural resources management, impact assessment, and energy systems and resources. Recently, Dr. Hanna has been working with the Tŝilhqot’in National government on approaches for Indigenous led impact assessment.