Our mills and forest operations often work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples in the regions where the Company operates. 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. 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. In Canada within our forest planning, engagement and consultation processes as well as separate outreach, we work with more than 100 Indigenous communities and organizations in the regions where we harvest timber and manage public forest land under government licences.
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.