Indigenous engagement

Indigenous engagement

​AUC's role in Indigenous engagement

 

The Alberta Utilities Commission regulates the construction and operation of utility projects such as transmission lines, substations, power plants, hydro projects, industrial system designations and gas utility pipelines. The AUC has the authority to consider and address potential adverse impacts to Aboriginal and treaty rights as provided in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, when deciding whether approval of a utility project is in the public interest. This authority has been confirmed in recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and by the Alberta government.

AmandaSpyce.jpgAmanda Spyce, Indigenous consultation lead

Amanda Spyce, the AUC's Indigenous consultation lead joined the AUC in May of 2019. Amanda has over 15 years of experience with Indigenous consultation and natural resource development from both a public and private sector perspective in Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

Throughout her career, Amanda has developed comprehensive knowledge of Alberta's regulatory processes, including relevant legislation and policies, and a strong respect for the unique history, culture and protocols of Indigenous peoples from working with over 30 First Nation and Métis communities.

Amanda works closely with the AUC's Facilities and Law divisions and the Commission on the organization's Indigenous consultation policies and procedures. Amanda regularly liaises with the Alberta Government, including Indigenous Relations, the Aboriginal Consultation Office and Alberta Environment and Parks with respect to policy developments and in relation to specific AUC regulated projects.

Amanda can be contacted at 403-592-4547 or by email at amanda.spyce@auc.ab.ca.


Roles and responsibilities

 

Utility projects often require multiple approvals from different provincial and federal regulators. Other provincial regulators that issue utility project-related approvals include Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women for the Historical Resources Act, and Alberta Environment and Parks for the Public Lands Act, Water Act and Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Approvals by these departments (especially Alberta Environment and Parks) are often informed by recommendations from the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO). 

The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed in Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v Enbridge Pipelines Inc., (Chippewas) and Clyde River (Hamlet) v Petroleum Geo‑Services Inc., that regulatory tribunals, like the AUC, may have a role to play in the Crown's duty to consult with Indigenous groups (Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982).

The Government of Alberta has since confirmed that AUC decisions may in some cases trigger a duty to consult Indigenous communities, and where consultation is triggered, the Alberta Government relies on the AUC’s process to address potential adverse impacts to Aboriginal and treaty rights prior to making regulatory decisions.

The AUC is reviewing its processes and procedures to ensure that the application requirements for consultation with First Nations and Métis are clear, as set out in AUC Bulletin 2019-10. Applicants are required under Rule 007 and Rule 020 to file a participant involvement program to ensure that all parties, including First Nations and Métis, whose rights may be directly and adversely affected by a proposed development, are informed of the application and have an opportunity to voice their concerns so that those concerns may be properly addressed and if possible, resolved.

While Rule 007 and Rule 020 are inclusive of Indigenous groups, the AUC is considering revisions to the rule to explicitly reference First Nations and Métis, and to provide more clarity on the application requirements, including the identification of potential adverse impacts to Aboriginal and treaty rights. Updating Rule 007 and Rule 020 will ensure that the requirements for consultation are clear and that Indigenous groups understand when and where they can raise their concerns about projects regulated by the AUC.

You may sometimes learn about a proposed project directly from its proponent or from an AUC notice. You can also learn about the project by using the AUC’s eFiling System database.

How to find out about a proposed project in the AUC’s eFiling System

The AUC has a comprehensive database called the eFiling System. You can register to receive three types of global notifications through the eFiling System: filing announcements, notices of application or issued dispositions. If your community wishes to learn more about a specific application and receive regular updates about the documents filed in the proceeding to consider the application(s) it can register through the eFiling System as an observer or participant for that proceeding. Please check to see if your community is already registered with the eFiling System. If your community is not registered, but would like to be, please contact us at 310-4282 (310-4AUC) or info@auc.ab.ca.

For more details about how to set up global notifications or other eFiling System functions please visit our How to use the eFiling System page and the eFiling System user guide or contact us for more information.


Access all regulatory documents

Anyone can access applications and proceeding information through the eFiling System.

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