How do pipeline companies work with Canada’s Indigenous communities?

Pipeline companies’ relationships with Indigenous groups are a critical component to building a better future for all Canadians. CEPA members recognize the value in building and maintaining mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with Indigenous groups through principled approaches to Indigenous relations.

Commitment to mutually beneficial relationships

The following principles have been developed by CEPA and its member companies to govern interactions with Indigenous groups:


Meaningful engagement, economic partnerships and other collaboration with industry are approaches for participation of Indigenous peoples in resource development. These opportunities help Indigenous communities to build pathways to prosperity and are tangible, positive steps toward reconciliation.

Respect for Indigenous rights

CEPA and its members recognize and respect Indigenous and Treaty rights as recognized and affirmed in Section 35 (1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Duty to consult

CEPA and its members acknowledge that the duty to consult rests with the Crown. The Crown has the ultimate responsibility for meeting the duty to consult and cannot delegate the duty itself or the honour of the Crown, though it can delegate the procedural aspects to proponents. The courts have affirmed that Canada can rely on existing regulatory processes to fulfill and/or to contribute to this responsibility.


CEPA and its members commit to open, honest and clear communication between industry and Indigenous groups and commit to establishing relationships that are positive and mutually beneficial.


CEPA and its members recognize that each Indigenous group is unique and therefore the relationships with industry may also vary requiring flexible and transparent relationship building processes and structures. As such, CEPA members will actively work to develop appropriate and effective mechanisms, designing processes and engagement tools that recognize the varying needs and capacity of Indigenous groups. Accordingly, the level of engagement can vary depending on the nature of a project or activity and the extent of the potential impacts on the exercise of Indigenous and Treaty rights.


CEPA and its members are committed to working with Indigenous groups to develop and articulate best practices and approaches that enable pipeline proponents’ relationships with Indigenous groups to address and consider Indigenous interests and concerns in planning and decision-making processes.

Meaningful engagement

CEPA and its member commit to actively engaging with government and Indigenous groups to better define and develop practical standards that meet a mutual understanding of meaningful engagement. Engagement programs should anticipate, prevent, mitigate and manage conditions which have the potential to affect Indigenous groups.

Safety and integrity

CEPA and its members are committed to advancing a safety culture supported by robust safety management aimed at protecting the health and safety of the public, our workplaces and the environment, wherever we operate.

Working together to strengthen Indigenous communities

Pipelines can bring long-term benefits to Indigenous communities, including jobs, training and business opportunities from pipeline construction and operations. There is also rent, property tax payments, and often direct compensation for the use of reserve lands.

Protecting traditional ways

Building a pipeline can put pressure on the traditional Indigenous way of life. To minimize this pressure, pipeline operators work closely with Indigenous communities to deliver economic prosperity while preserving traditional culture. Operators also find it beneficial to learn local traditional knowledge of the land, forest, water and wildlife.

Building capacity

Pipeline operators seek to establish long-term relationships with Indigenous communities. To build the foundation of this relationship, companies have capacity building programs to help develop the skills necessary to benefit from pipeline development while protecting the environment and their traditional way of life.

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