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Indigenous equity and its growing role in Canadian energy and resource development – MLI

December 6, 2023

Heather Exner-Pirot evaluates the growth of Indigenous equity ownership in Canada.

For most of Canadian history, Indigenous peoples have been dispossessed from their lands and excluded from the benefits of natural resource development that other Canadians, businesses and governments have enjoyed. Instead, they have borne the costs of resource development, in terms of environmental impact to their traditional territories and limits to their hunting, gathering and cultural rights.

The past two decades have seen a major evolution in the legal rights of Indigenous peoples to be consulted, accommodated, and consent to resource development on their territories. While initial fears in the resource sector centred around the perception that most Indigenous peoples were against resource development, and thus would veto or protest future projects, a more nuanced reality has since set in: the majority of Indigenous peoples are not against resource development, they are against being left out of resource development. As a result, strategies for Indigenous engagement and participation in the
resource sector have been developing and growing over the past two decades. This paper evaluates the growth of one such strategy: Indigenous equity ownership.

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