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Participant Funding Program – Aboriginal Funding Envelope
Funding Review Committee's Report

Allocation of Federal Funds for the Environmental Assessment of the Kingsvale-Oliver Reinforcement Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) is established pursuant to subsection 58(1.1) of the current Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), which states: For the purposes of this Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels. The PFP also includes an Aboriginal Funding Envelope (AFE) to strengthen the ability of Aboriginal groups to participate in federal or joint federal-provincial environmental assessment (EA) processes and in related consultation activities.

A Funding Review Committee (FRC) independent of the EA was established for the proposed Kingsvale-Oliver Reinforcement Project (the Project). The EA of the Project is being conducted by means of a comprehensive study (CS). The FRC's purpose was to assess funding applications received under the PFP – AFE for the proposed Project, and to provide recommendations to the President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) on whether funding should be provided, and if so, in what amount.

Under the AFE for this Project, a total of $146,700 was made available to support Aboriginal participation in the EA, and related consultation and community engagement activities, linked to the:

  • review and comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines;
  • review and comment on the EIS Summary or the EIS; and
  • review and comment on the Comprehensive Study Report (CSR).

The deadline to submit an application was April 30, 2012. Five applications were received requesting a total of $102,614.

On May 2, 2012, the FRC met to review the applications. The FRC members were Paul Scott, retired Regional Director of the Agency's Pacific and Yukon Regional Office, acting as Committee Chairperson; Bruce Young, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency; and Raymond Crook, Environmental Assessment Consultant.

Background

FortisBC Energy Inc. is proposing to construct a new 161-kilometre (km), 24-inch (610-mm) diameter natural gas transmission pipeline, generally to be placed alongside the existing natural gas transmission pipeline between Kingsvale, British Columbia (BC) (near Merritt) and Oliver, BC. The Project also includes a new compressor station near Yahk, BC, including a one km extension of the existing FortisBCSouthern Crossing Pipeline, and a new compressor station in the vicinity of Trail, BC.

The Project is also subject to review under the BCEnvironmental Assessment Act.

Eligibility

Under the PFP – AFE, funding may be provided to Aboriginal applicants to support their input to an EA and/or to support their engagement in consultation activities with the federal government. These activities must be linked to the EA of a proposed project through a CS, mediation or review panel.

Eligible recipients must plan to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government that are linked to the EA of the proposed Project and be able to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have a direct, local interest in the Project, such as living or owning property in the Project area;
  • Have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EA; or
  • Have expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the Project.

All of the applicants were deemed to have met the eligibility criteria.

Under the PFP – AFE, applicants can request funding for costs related to:

  • professional fees;
  • staff salaries and benefits;
  • travel expenses;
  • honoraria for Elders and Chiefs to attend meetings and functions;
  • ceremonial offerings related to receiving traditional knowledge in relation to the EA;
  • administrative and reporting costs;
  • local collection and/or distribution of information;
  • office supplies and telephone charges;
  • rental of office space and meeting rooms;
  • legal fees;
  • general media advertising and/or promotion;
  • purchase of information material, with supporting documentation; and
  • other detailed expenses.

Rationale for Allocation

In reviewing the five applications and in reaching its conclusions and recommendations, the FRC took into consideration a number of factors, including the following:

  • Whether Aboriginal groups could demonstrate that they plan to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government that are linked to the EA of the proposed Project.
  • The ability of the Aboriginal groups to demonstrate that they had met one or more of the eligibility criteria listed above.
  • The quality, clarity and content of the application, particularly with respect to the relationship between specific Project components and the applicant's traditional lands and resources, and the applicant's proposed EA participation work plan.
  • Advice received from the Agency regarding which Aboriginal groups are expected to be participants in the EA, and the role that these groups may play in the review.
  • The ability of the applicant to represent the interests of First Nation communities that might be impacted by the Project.
  • Presence/absence of specific Project components within the traditional lands of First Nations represented by the applicant.
  • Potential Project impacts on traditional lands and resources, and on the related interests and asserted rights and title of the First Nations represented by the applicant.
  • The eligible activities under the PFP – AFE for the Project, which include
    • review and comment on the EIS Guidelines;
    • review and comment on the EIS Summary or the EIS; and
    • review and comment on the CSR.
  • The extent to which the proposed activities meet the requirements of the PFP – AFE.
  • The amount of funds available under the AFE for this Project.
  • The maximum funding available to individual applicants.

Recommendation

The FRC recommends allocating $96,939 of the available AFE funding to support the five applicants as follows:

  • $21,310 to the Lower Similkameen Indian Band;
  • $16,025 to the Upper Similkameen Indian Band;
  • $17,240 to the Osoyoos Indian Band;
  • $21,089 to the Lower Nicola Indian Band; and
  • $21,275 to the Coldwater Indian Band.

The FRC further recommends that any funding allocation be conditional on the applicants providing written comments to the Agency on the EIS Guidelines, the EIS Summary or the EIS, and the CSR

Recommended Participant Funding Allocations
Kingsvale-Oliver Reinforcement Project
Aboriginal Funding Envelope

Applicant Total Allocation Amount Recommended
Lower Similkameen Indian Band< $21,310
Upper Similkameen Indian Band $16,025
Osoyoos Indian Band $17,240
Lower Nicola Indian Band $21,089
Coldwater Indian Band $21,275
TOTAL $96,939

The Funding Review Committee
Kingsvale-Oliver Reinforcement Project
Aboriginal Funding Envelope

______________________________________________________________________
Paul Scott, retired Regional Director of the Agency's Pacific and Yukon Regional Office, acting as Committee Chairperson

______________________________________________________________________
Bruce Young, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency

______________________________________________________________________
Raymond Crook, Environmental Assessment Consultant

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