Head of new Indigenous committee aims for systemic change at Canada Energy Regulator

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VANCOUVER — The leader of a new Indigenous Advisory Committee at the Canada Energy Regulator says he wants to fix the system of natural resource development in the country that has previously treated First Nations, Inuit and Metis people as an "afterthought."

Tribal Chief Tyrone McNeil, a Sto:lo member in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, is the chairman of the committee, which was established by federal government legislation that replaced the National Energy Board with the new regulator in 2019.

The committee met earlier this month to endorse its terms of reference, which say its purpose is to advance reconciliation by transforming the relationship between the regulator and Indigenous Peoples.

While the committee isn't a decision-making body and doesn't engage in operational matters, McNeil says it has "tremendous potential" to influence energy projects.

The committee meets with the board regularly, and McNeil says it will help the regulator and companies understand the diverse groups they're consulting with on the ground.

Regulator chairwoman Cassie Doyle says the Indigenous committee will support systemic change in the organization, and its advice will impact how it communicates and collaborates with communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press