Rights of Indigenous Peoples

  • We work with more than 100 Indigenous communities and organizations in Canada

Teepee at Slave Lake mills, Indigenous Peoples Day 2020Forests provide many spiritual, cultural, social, economic and environmental values to Indigenous Peoples. West Fraser’s approach seeks mutual benefits from the opportunities derived from the land and resources through community relationships, employment, education and training programs, business activity and economic opportunities. Through mill and forest operations, sustainable forest management activities, engagement and consultation processes, we work and engage with more than 100 Indigenous governments, communities and organizations in Canada.

We seek long-term, respectful relationships with Indigenous People, based on:

  • Respecting traditional rights, and integrating the perspectives and traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples into forest management activities to enhance benefits and address impacts;
  • Building trust through respectful relationships, early engagement, inclusive dialogue and collaborative processes to better understand each other’s perspectives and priorities; seeking input into planned forestry operations;
  • Working to achieve free, prior and informed consent when seeking input on forest operations plans;
  • Increasing the capacity of both Indigenous Peoples and West Fraser for meaningful dialogue;
  • Collaborating with Indigenous communities to achieve their community goals and facilitate mutual economic opportunities;
  • Striving to provide equitable access to employment, suppliers and contracting in our operations that is reflective of the Indigenous make-up in the communities in which we operate; and
  • When necessary, seek mutually acceptable processes to resolve concerns or conflicts.

 

Forest Management Perspectives

PYEP and WF tree plant summer 2019We recognize that Canada’s First Nations people have a special connection to the land through their culture and historical use. West Fraser’s forest operations take place within Indigenous Peoples’ traditional territories. We respect this when undertaking our forest operations.

West Fraser’s forestry teams focus on developing a solid understanding of the histories, cultures, values and development priorities of the communities, identifying opportunities for the alignment of community economic development initiatives with our business needs and supporting community development in the areas of infrastructure, education, and employment and training.

The Company engages Indigenous communities to understand potential impacts to treaty and Aboriginal rights, and traditional uses, that may arise from our planned forest management operations in Alberta and British Columbia.  As part of this practice, we seek to align our engagement efforts with community relationship building processes. This activity includes working with communities to conduct traditional cultural site visits and taking steps to preserve identified important cultural and spiritual sites.

More information about our approach is available in the 2019 Annual Report, pages 12-13 and 61-62.