Forging a Clearer Path Forward for Assessing Cumulative Impacts on Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

  • Diana Audino
  • Stephanie Axmann
  • Bryn Gray
  • Kim Howard
  • Ljiljana Stanic


Project reviews have become the primary forum to discuss cumulative impacts of energy and resource development on Aboriginal and treaty rights. After thoroughly reviewing the case law and legislation, the authors assert that these impacts cannot be resolved through piecemeal measures like individual permitting decisions. Governments need to use broader actions such as effective land-use planning, regional assessments, and separate forums to address specific concerns with at-risk species. Further, clear policy and regulatory guidelines must be created with careful attention to promoting responsible development and avoiding stifling investment in Canada. By doing so, governments will be in a better position to consider environmental, Aboriginal rights, and treaty rights issues while establishing certainty for project proponents.