A major study released in August 2020 by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) indicates the Canadian natural gas and oil industry has made tremendous progress in building positive relationships with Indigenous communities.
In the publication, titled How far we've come: Indigenous engagement with the Canadian energy economy, researcher and author Ken Coates delves into the engagement of Indigenous peoples in the energy industry. This is the first paper in a planned series from MLI that will examine the front lines of Indigenous reconciliation in Canada. The report notes that Canada’s natural resource sector has emerged as one of the front lines of Indigenous reconciliation in Canada, providing the nation and Indigenous peoples with a new and evolving model of Indigenous-corporate engagement and a pathway to prosperity that is unique in Canadian history.
The report outlines numerous economic and social benefits within Indigenous communities, including well-paying jobs and other benefits that arise from various business opportunities. Further, the report corroborates findings in Toward a Shared Future: Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and the Oil and Natural Gas Industry, a 2018 report by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, available at capp.ca.
Coates notes that Indigenous communities are becoming increasingly willing to defend the industry and make large equity investments in natural gas and oil. External forces, particularly environmental criticism, regulatory turmoil, and uncertainty about the federal government’s priorities, are a much greater threat to the future of the industry – and, by association, growing Indigenous prosperity – than opposition from some Indigenous groups and governments.