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We are making changes to the applications process to better support consultation with First Nations and align with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

DATE ISSUED: March 7, 2023

EFFECTIVE DATE: IMMEDIATELY

The BC Energy Regulator (BCER) honours Indigenous rights, title and values as foundational in our decision-making and applies this in all facets of our work with First Nations and Indigenous communities, as partners in building B.C.’s energy resource future. As of March 7, 2023, we will be making the following changes to the applications process to better support consultation with First Nations and align with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

1. Record of First Nations Pre-engagement Required

To support reconciliation and ensure the meaningful participation of Indigenous people in processes affecting them, the BCER now requires proponents to engage affected First Nations prior to application submission (pre-engagement) when planning energy resource activities on private or non-private land. The BCER has developed these requirements and industry pre-engagement guidance in consultation with First Nations.

The objective of pre-engagement is to have proponents and First Nations proactively discuss or share information, identify potential impacts to Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, and develop avoidance and mitigation measures that reflect the view and input of First Nations. Pre-engagement is most productive during the early planning phase of energy resource activities, when proponents have operational flexibility to consider or accommodate Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

What has changed?

  • Submission of a Pre-engagement Record is now required for all applications that demonstrates how meaningful early engagement has been conducted by a company with a First Nation.
  • A Pre-engagement Guidance Document has been made available to support and advise applicants on how to conduct meaningful and productive pre-engagement.
  • To document pre-engagement, the BCER developed a Pre-engagement Record template document, as an example for energy resource applicants to use and submit. If a specific First Nation prefers the use of an alternate form or record template, the BCER will accept these as well

2. Project Description Form Updates

The Project Description Form is a core component of applications submitted to the BCER; the form is being updated and expanded to allow operators to provide additional details about their proposed developments. This information will support the BCER’s work to complete Initial Impact Assessments and support the consultation process.

If you have any questions regarding this Technical Update, please contact:

Michael Shepard

Operational Transition Lead

BC Energy Regulator

Michael.Shepard@bc-er.ca

250 419-4344

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