3,200+ = That’s the number of meetings and conference calls Energy East teams have had so far with more than 166 Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada since the pipeline project was announced in August 2013.
Working collaboratively with Indigenous communities, Energy East has reached many milestones, like signing 66 engagement agreements with First Nations and Metis communities or conducting 72 traditional knowledge studies on the ground.
So how exactly do we engage Indigenous communities? And why do we do it?
Our relationship with Indigenous communities can be captured in that one word. This means respect for their distinct history, cultures and legal status as well as their unique relationship to the land.
How do we demonstrate this respect? by engaging in a meaningful dialogue to support specific local needs and build lasting relationships. Energy East is a decades-long project so we are going to be partners for years to come just like we have been in communities along the Mainline natural gas system.
2. Listening and learning
Our goal is also to contribute to the long-term aspirations of Indigenous peoples through the development of local economic opportunities and local workforce capacity.
3. Engaging Indigenous businesses
We’ve heard and responded to the business and employment aspirations of the Indigenous business community. How? by providing opportunities for Indigenous businesses to participate in the construction and ongoing maintenance of TransCanada’s facilities, and by developing training initiatives to build local skills.
4. Traditional knowledge studies
We are committed to learning from the communities with whom we work. That’s why we have 72 traditional knowledge studies completed or underway along the proposed Energy East Pipeline route.
Knowing the locations of important sites and the timing of traditional activities helps us minimize our project footprint and carefully plan construction to avoid or reduce potential adverse effects on traditional land use.
- Find out what Deborah Bear, an environmental scientist from the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, learnt about ash trees during field studies she took part in for Energy East.
5. Investing in ways that matter
Through our community investment program, we support initiatives with long-lasting impacts. Some examples of this include:
- The donation of a fire truck requested by Carry the Kettle First Nation, and support for their science learning program.
- A partnership with an environmental contractor to conduct two training sessions that provided 56 Saskatchewan and Manitoba First Nation community members with health and safety training as well as preparation skills related to geotechnical investigation worksites.
A total of 48 positions were later filled by Indigenous participants on geotechnical investigation worksites included two liaisons/elders, 19 drilling assistants and 27 labourers to perform work such as land clearing and site decommissioning.
Want to know more about how we engage with Indigenous communities? Find out here.