Indigenous Relations

Canada's oil and natural gas industry works with Indigenous groups to seek ways to mitigate impacts and to share the benefits of resource development.

The oil and natural gas industry acknowledges the importance of Indigenous reconciliation in Canada, and considers natural resource development to be linked to the broader Canadian reconciliation process. Strong and responsible development contributes to overall reconciliation and Indigenous self-determination by supporting the growth of sustainable Indigenous communities. Industry believes this is the strongest contribution and best path forward, and will ultimately help build a better Canada.

Indigenous Communities and Canada’s Upstream Industry

Friendship and Trust: Canada’s Energy Industry and Indigenous People

The industry has a role in building respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous peoples. Opportunities for learning and improvement continue to arise. The oil and natural gas industry is open to meaningful dialogue, and developing respectful relationships and partnerships that lead to mutual benefits and a strong shared future. Companies are working to find their own path forward with the communities in whose traditional territory they operate.

Oil and Gas Needed to Fight Poverty on Indigenous Lands

National Coalition of Chiefs president Dale Swampy says reserves need more jobs from responsible energy development and fewer fly-by celebrities.

Mutually Beneficial Energy Development

Successful engagement at any scale stems from clear expectations on the part of companies and communities, including an understanding of needs, scope, risks, schedule and goals. In short, there is a need for balance when it comes to engagement between the industry and Indigenous peoples.

The energy sector, governments and Indigenous peoples are finding new ways to work together, to grow energy development in a sustainable and mutually beneficial manner. Actions include consultation, procurement, equity partnerships, consultation capacity funding, agreements; community investment, and training, skills development and employment. Other elements involve environmental stewardship and social responsibility.


Indigenous Communities and Canada’s Oil Sands

The oil sands industry also benefits from its relationship with Indigenous communities and sees value in continuing to build strong relationships. Between 2013 and 2016, oil sands operators procured goods and services valued at $7.3 billion (an average of about $1.8 billion per year) from Indigenous businesses. Despite the economic downturn that began in 2014, the proportion of activity with Indigenous businesses as a proportion of total capital expenditures has grown by 2.5 per cent. (Source: CAPP, Indigenous Supply Chain, 2017)

In 2015 and 2016, 399 Indigenous companies from across Alberta had direct business with oil sands operators. These companies represent 65 communities across Alberta.

United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People

In 2007 the United Nations adopted the United Nations Declaration on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The governments of B.C., Alberta and Canada have committed to implement UNDRIP. These commitments present an opportunity to transform the relationship between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. CAPP endorses UNDRIP as a framework for reconciliation in Canada and we support the implementation of UNDRIP’s principles in a manner consistent with the Canadian Constitution and law.

The upstream oil and natural gas sector has worked for decades to improve relations with Indigenous peoples and communities, recognizing that Canada’s natural resources belong to all Canadians, and all Canadians deserve to benefit from resource development. The industry has decades of work and leadership in this regard, with demonstrable, positive, mutually beneficial results.

Download UNDRIP Discussion Paper

Benefits of Working with Indigenous Communities

The growing trend toward deeper engagement, and the experience of individual Indigenous communities that have engaged in economic partnerships and other programs in collaboration with industry, prove that the economic participation of Indigenous peoples in resource development is desirable. The oil and natural gas industry benefits from working with Indigenous businesses that are located close to operations, offer competitive prices and understand industry’s challenges. This is a growing source of mutual benefit for companies and Indigenous communities. These opportunities help Indigenous communities to build pathways into prosperity, and are tangible, positive steps toward overall reconciliation.