The Rules of Engagement? NWT Negotiated Agreements and Environmental Assessment

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, North Slave Region

Tags: environmental assessment, social sciences, agreement negotiation, socio-economics

Principal Investigator: Lukas-Amulung, Sandra E (1)
Licence Number: 14452
Organization: EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd.
Licensed Year(s): 2008
Issued: Jan 08, 2009
Project Team: Sandra Lukas-Amulung (Principal Investigator, Royal Roads University & Kiggiak-EBA Consulting), Ben Bradshaw (Thesis Supervisor, University of Guelph)

Objective(s): The objectives of this research are to: describe the problematic overlap between NWT environmental assessment (EA) and negotiated agreements (NA); prepare several project review process models to explore possible relationships between NA and EA; evaluate the models and select a preferred model during an expert workshop; and assess the suitability of the preferred model using the views of First Nations and industry.

Project Description: The objectives of this research are to: describe the problematic overlap between NWT environmental assessment (EA) and negotiated agreements (NA); prepare several project review process models to explore possible relationships between NA and EA; evaluate the models and select a preferred model during an expert workshop; and assess the suitability of the preferred model using the views of First Nations and industry.

The proposed research will use action research to investigate a problematic real-world situation involving real organizations. The action research proposed will use multiple methods including: (a) participant observation; (b) interviews; and (c) focus group techniques to address the research objectives. Following from precursor NWT studies by Galbraith et al. (2007) and Prno (2007), these research techniques comprise what is becoming a standardized approach to NA research.

At present the regulatory framework in the NWT involves two parallel processes, environmental assessment and negotiated agreements. These systems are intended, in part, to address socio-economic impacts to First Nations, but they are not integrated or coordinated. This research seeks collaborative input from First Nations, industry and regulators to develop an innovative model of coordination of the overall project process. The model will be based on participants' past experience, interests and values, and their envisioned improvements to the current process.

The results of the study will be communicated to individuals and communities in the NWT through public availability of the thesis and through the Aurora Research Institute. The thesis document, and a planned article in a peer reviewed journal will be made available on the Impact and Benefits Research Network website www.impactandbenefits.com, and hardcopies can be made available upon request. It is also the researcher’s intention to present on this topic at appropriate industry forum in the NWT and elsewhere in Western or Northern Canada.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 8 to March 31, 2009, Yellowknife, Inuvik, Tulita and Rae-Edzo (Behchoko).