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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Canada Energy Regulator has joined the province’s Aboriginal Liaison Program in a one-year pilot project.

The Aboriginal Liaison Program was created to expand the innovative partnership between regulators, government, and Northern British Columbia First Nations.

The first ALP was created between the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission and  Doig River First Nation in 2014. Today, the program has expanded to 10 government agencies and 12 Indigenous Liaison positions, representing 15 First Nations in northern British Columbia.

“The CER’s participation in the ALP is another way we can collaborate with Indigenous communities to ensure Canada’s federally regulated pipelines are safe, the environment is protected, and Indigenous rights are recognized and respected,” says Gitaine De Silva, Chief Executive Officer, CER.

“Being part of this well-established program in Northern B.C. will further our awareness and understanding of the traditional and cultural worldviews of these communities by honouring their expertise in traditional land use, sacred sites, and historical knowledge.”

Liaison positions are chosen by Indigenous communities participating in the program. Liaisons will enhance understanding of resource development through training and, as employees of their First Nation, will have valuable community knowledge to share with natural resource agencies and regulators, like the BCOGC and CER.

Lori Lineham, the most senior ALP Liaison, says her understanding of development activities has grown, which she can relay to her community.

“As an ALP Liaison, I have worked with a lot of government agencies to build my knowledge and understanding of development activities and impacts, as well as inform community members with objective, reliable information,” says Lineham.

“I love working with agency staff to help them understand First Nations values, traditional ecological knowledge, and to learn firsthand about my culture and community. Building relationships between First Nations and all government agencies is important, and I am looking forward to working with the CER and their staff to learn more and share knowledge and experiences.”

Jacques Corstanje, BCOGC Executive Director of Northwest Operations, says this agreement helps build and develop meaningful relationships between the CER and Indigenous communities in the ALP.

“I am pleased to welcome the Canada Energy Regulator to the ALP and look forward to working together to further enhance the program,” says Corstanje.

For more information about the Aboriginal Liaison program, go to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission website.

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