Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in Canada (2012)

A summary of key issues, lessons, and case studies towards practical guidance for developers and Aboriginal communities

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The Boreal Leadership Council (BLC) recognizes that responsible development of natural resources within Canada’s boreal region needs to integrate the principle of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of Aboriginal Peoples who inhabit the region. In 2010, as a first step in developing a common understanding of the key issues and promoting a broader dialogue on FPIC in the boreal region, the BLC commissioned The Firelight Group to prepare a report on the current state of FPIC in Canada. The report, Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in Canada: Towards practical guidance for developers and Aboriginal communities contains a literature review, case studies, and focus group results.  This summary provides a synthesis of the key report findings that are supported by the BLC. Our analysis identified four foundational needs:

    1. To express multi-stakeholder support, in the form of the BLC, for the concept of free, prior, and informed consent.
    2. To advance the idea that a discussion about FPIC can and should occur within fora characterized by mutual respect, expertise, and a desire to move forward practically and respectfully on issues of common concern.
    3. To help shape how FPIC can be defined within the Canadian context.
    4. To contribute to a discussion among Aboriginal peoples, developers, environmental organizations, financiers, and investors that will lead to practical guidance on the implementation of FPIC.

It is our hope that this summary will encourage and contribute to a solutions-based dialogue among those interested in collaborating on development of practical guidance for implementation of FPIC in Canada.