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The AUC 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 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.
The AUC is committed to ensuring that Indigenous groups, whose constitutionally protected rights may be directly and adversely affected by proposed developments, have the opportunity to have their concerns heard, considered, understood and accommodated (if required).
The Supreme Court of Canada recognizes regulatory tribunals like the AUC have a role to play in the Crown’s duty to consult with Indigenous groups. In addition, the Alberta government recognizes that AUC decisions may, in some cases, trigger a duty to consult Indigenous communities. When a consultation is triggered, the Alberta government relies on the AUC’s processes to address potential adverse impacts to Aboriginal and treaty rights prior to making regulatory decisions.
Under the AUC’s Rule 007, applicants are required to file a participant involvement program (PIP). PIP’s allow the AUC 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 project and have an opportunity to voice their concerns so that they may be properly addressed and if possible, resolved.
Utility projects often require multiple approvals from different provincial and federal regulators. Other provincial regulators that issue utility project-related approvals include:
Approvals by these departments (especially Alberta Environment and Parks) are often informed by recommendations from the Aboriginal Consultation Office.
The AUC’s requirements for Indigenous consultation are outlined in AUC Rule 007 and includes guidelines for applicants on including Indigenous groups in the PIP (Appendix A1-B – Participant). Applicants may request feedback from the AUC on their PIP for Indigenous groups prior to submitting an application to the AUC, including determining the project category for consultation purposes.
The AUC also offers a statement of intent to participate form for Indigenous groups that is intended to help Indigenous groups provide the necessary information to demonstrate how their asserted rights may be directly and adversely affected by the AUC’s decision on an application.
Visit the Participating in a proceeding or Guidance for proponents pages for more information about the AUC’s application process or how to participate in a proceeding.
You can also learn about a project being considered by the AUC by using the eFiling System database.
Amanda Spyce is the AUC’s Indigenous consultation lead and has over 18 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 and a strong respect for the unique history, culture and protocols of Indigenous peoples from working with over 30 First Nation and Métis communities.
A key part of Amanda’s role is working with Indigenous groups and industry to help them understand the AUC’s regulatory process and explore opportunities for improvement. Amanda works closely with the AUC’s facilities and legal staff to develop and implement the AUC’s Indigenous consultation policies and procedures. This also involves providing advice and guidance on the duty to consult for power plants (i.e. gas, wind, solar), transmission lines and gas utility applications. Amanda regularly liaises with the Alberta government, including the Aboriginal Consultation Office, Alberta Culture and Status of Women and Alberta Environment and Parks with respect to consultation and policy development.
Amanda can be contacted at 403-592-4547 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AUC has a comprehensive database called the eFiling System. You can register to receive three types of global notifications through the eFiling System:
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 email@example.com.
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.