Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Paddle Prairie Metis MOU signingOur mills and forest operations work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples in the regions in Canada where we are responsible for forest management activities. Through our Aboriginal Community Engagement Framework, we seek to build respectful, long-term, mutually beneficial working relationships with the Indigenous communities located near the areas in which we operate.

Within our engagement framework, we 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.

We also engage 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, including working with communities to conduct traditional cultural site visits. Within our forest planning, engagement and consultation processes as well as separate outreach, we work with more than 100 Indigenous communities and organizations in Canada where we harvest timber and manage public forest land under government licences.

Examples of activities with Indigenous communities where we operate:

 

United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) 

Our voluntary forest certification standards include respect for Indigenous Peoples’ property, tenure and use rights. This is specifically addressed in SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules, which recognizes the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. SFI Program Participants, including West Fraser, communicate and collaborate with local Indigenous Peoples and communities in order to better understand their traditional practices with respect to forest management.

The Canadian federal government and the provincial governments in Alberta and British Columbia have made commitments to renew their relationships with aboriginal groups and have expressed their support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”) and their intent to adopt and implement UNDRIP.  

See more information about our approach on the First Nations page and Responsibility section of our website, and our 2016 Annual Report, pages 10 and 41. 2017 Annual Report, pages 15 – 16, and 65 – 66.