Aboriginal Rights

Material Topics Aboriginal and Native American Rights & Engagement

2014 Performance

Engagement and Economic Participation

In 2014, we spent more than $52 million on procuring goods and services from Aboriginal and Native American businesses, contractors and suppliers. We are committed to doing business with these groups and individuals, and consider our commitment to be a vital cornerstone in our relationship with them. We recognize the important contribution that these groups and individuals make each year to the overall economy, and have a long history of working with them.

As part of our commitment, we have set aside contracting opportunities for qualified Aboriginal and Native American businesses, contractors and suppliers in specific project areas. We also encourage collaborative opportunities between Aboriginal businesses and non-Aboriginal businesses when the collaboration builds capacity and supports mutual business interests.

For example, in 2014, we helped facilitate contracts worth approximately $25 million for Aboriginal businesses at the Roundhill Camp, located between Wandering River and Conklin, Alberta. The work supported the construction of our Woodland Pipeline Extension Project in the winter of 2014/2015.

As another example, 15 members of the Whitefish Lake First Nation Number 128 completed a 10-week Introduction to Pipeline Construction training course that was offered in their community. The course, which was developed by the First Nation and a labour union, prepared them to work on the Wood Buffalo and Woodland Pipeline Extension projects. After completing the course, we were able to secure positions for the newly trained workers with our mainline contractor during the winter construction season.

Following is an overview our 2014 Aboriginal and Native American engagement and participation for some of our projects and operations:

Northern Gateway Pipeline

In June 2014 the Government of Canada approved the Northern Gateway Project (NGP) in Northern B.C. and Alberta, subject to the fulfillment of 209 conditions that the Joint Review Panel (JRP), which was established by Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB), imposed on the project. Several Aboriginal groups have filed legal challenges to these regulatory decisions. For more information, see the Significant Challenges section of this website.

NGP is working to fulfill the conditions and, in doing so, is taking a comprehensive “community as expert” approach to engagement and economic participation to achieve mutually beneficial economic and social outcomes. The engagement includes communities that are located within 80 kilometres (50 miles) on either side of the proposed right-of-way, as well as communities that have expressed interest in, or that have a traditional territory associated with, the project. In planning the right-of-way, NGP used Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge studies to understand land use such as hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering territories, and to understand archeological sites of importance to Aboriginal communities. NGP also invites a diversity of perspectives within Aboriginal communities by conversing with elders, hereditary chiefs, elected leaders businesses, individuals, community associations and organizations, and youth.

NGP conducts its Aboriginal engagement through multiple platforms, including discussions with elders; meetings with leaders, administrators and elected officials; community meetings; open houses; technical sessions with subject matter experts; community feasts; and Community Advisory Boards (CABs), among others. Here is background on some of them:

Engagement Road Map - Many of the JRP’s 209 conditions require NGP to engage with, and seek input from potentially affected Aboriginal groups as well as local stakeholders on various plans and programs. NGP’s Engagement Road Map summarizes the draft plans on these specific conditions. All of the plans presented in Phase 1, and those scheduled in future phases, can be found on the NGP website

In the fall of 2014, NGP travelled to 10 communities along the proposed right-of-way to open dialogue and gain valuable feedback from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal stakeholders on eight of NGP’s proposed plans and programs, including its Construction Environmental Protection and Management Plan, its Marine Environmental Effects Monitoring Program, its Pipeline Environmental Effects Monitoring Program, and its Marine Mammal Protection Plan.

Community Advisory Boards - Community Advisory Boards (CABs) are an important part of NGP’s engagement process for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. They are designed to include diverse community interests in each of five geographic regions – Alberta North Central, Peace Country, B.C. Central, B.C. Northwest and B.C. North Coastal – and to include representatives from local environmental organizations, Aboriginal groups, business associations, municipal governments, community organizations and the public.

Now in their fifth year, CAB meetings are member-driven and enable participants to discuss key areas of regional interest or concern, and to take information back to their communities. CAB meetings encourage meaningful dialogue, create opportunities for learning, and foster mutually beneficial relationships that respect the interests and integrity of all the parties.

In 2014, NGP held its 21st round of regional CAB meetings, introducing cultural awareness moments as a way of honouring the heritage of meeting participants, and of respecting and celebrating the cultural diversity of NGP’s internal and external stakeholders. In June 2014, NGP hosted the fourth annual CAB conference in Prince George, with participation of 81 members (28 per cent identified as Aboriginal).

Economic Participation - NGP actively engages with Aboriginal businesses to ensure they are in a position to benefit from the project-related opportunities that exist with NGP and other large infrastructure projects, either proposed or under way in B.C. and Alberta. To that end, NGP commenced the Aboriginal Business Review and Pre-Qualification process in May 2014, as a way of assessing Aboriginal business capacity and of ensuring that Aboriginal companies have the required verification and qualifications to work on the project. NGP continues to assess Aboriginal business capacity and funds the pre-qualification process to ensure that Aboriginal companies have the required verification and qualifications to work on the project. NGP also provides additional support to those that do not meet the requirements.

In February 2014, NGP launched its Regional Skills and Business Database to link job seekers with opportunities. The database helps NGP to engage with communities, and to assess the business capacity of local, regional and Aboriginal businesses and individuals in advance of business and supplier selection. By the end of 2014, more than 2,400 registrants (individuals, businesses and suppliers) were in the database, approximately 16 per cent of whom identified themselves as Aboriginal.

To support its commitment to Aboriginal employment and business opportunities, NGP hosted its third Business Summit in Prince George on October 20 and 21, 2014, in response to community stakeholders and Aboriginal groups. The summit focused on Aboriginal and local inclusion (hiring and social/community engagement) and the business requirements needed to work with NGP. Approximately 300 people attended the summit, approximately 40 per cent of whom had identified themselves as Aboriginal.

Equity Partners - NGP offered First Nation and Métis communities along its proposed right-of-way the opportunity to become Aboriginal Equity Partners (AEPs), providing them, as a group, 10 per cent equity in the project. The total benefits from this partnership, including equity, procurement, training, employment and community investment over a 30-year life, are estimated to total approximately $1 billion for Aboriginal communities. As at December 2014, 26 First Nations and Métis groups, representing approximately 60 per cent of the Aboriginal communities along the proposed right-of-way, are AEPs.

Community Partnerships - Over the past two and a half years, NGP has committed to more than $4 million in capacity and skills training in community-driven initiatives that were identified through community and Aboriginal engagement.

In 2014, through partnerships and focused investment, NGP offered skills programs such as Construction Craft Worker certification, Intro to Trades programs and Paramedic Certification Training to Aboriginal individuals. NGP also supported capacity-building initiatives and programs, such as Growing Young Movers and Greater Strides.

Social, Education Economic Development Sustainability Plans - NGP offers Social Education Economic Development Sustainability (SEEDS) Plans to communities located close to the proposed NGP right-of-way. SEEDS Plans are co-created between Aboriginal communities and NGP, and help communities achieve economic inclusion in NGP through employment and business participation. They define how NGP works with communities as partners, and map out the short, medium, and long-term steps communities must take to achieve their desired inclusion in NGP during construction and operations.

Line 9B Reversal

The NEB approved the reversal of Line 9B, a 639-kilometre (397-mile) section of Line 9 from North Westover, Ontario, to Montreal, Quebec, on March 6, 2014. The Line 9B Reversal Project represents the second and final phase of Enbridge’s Eastern Access Initiative, which is designed to provide critical capacity for western Canadian and Bakken crude oil producers to access refineries in eastern Canada, the U.S. Midwest and eastern U.S. In February 2015, the NEB imposed additional conditions regarding the placement of valves near water crossings. Because the project involves an existing piece of pipeline infrastructure it is expected to be completed in early 2015.

Prior to the NEB’s approval, the Kahnawake First Nation in Quebec had submitted a Statement of Concern to the NEB about Line 9B, identifying 115 conditions that they wanted resolved. As a result, the NEB approved the project subject to 30 regulatory conditions that Enbridge needed to meet to move forward. In response, we worked with the Kahnawake First Nation to resolve all of their original 115 issues.

Also in 2014, prior to Enbridge receiving NEB approval, the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ontario filed a Statement of Concern to the NEB, bringing forward multiple issues, some of which were outside of the scope of the NEB’s project review. The Statement of Concern included issues regarding the impact of the project on climate change and also regarding valve placements, pipeline integrity and our ability to safely manage the pipeline.

In 2014, our Liquids Pipelines business segment (LP) conducted a number of regular preventive maintenance integrity digs along our pipeline network. To help strengthen our relationships with First Nations communities along the Line 9B right-of-way from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal East, Quebec, we hosted more than 18 First Nations communities on tours of the integrity dig sites. These tours gave us the opportunity to speak with Aboriginal representatives about what we are doing on traditional lands from an operational perspective, and gave participants the opportunity to speak directly to subject matter experts on pipeline safety.

In fact, in May, for the first time, we collaborated with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation to develop and execute our Public Awareness Program. And, in 2014, we attracted 127 members of First Nations in our Eastern Region to our roundtable meetings regarding our integrity-dig program and regarding our emergency preparedness and response activities.

Mainline Enhancement Project

Since 2013, we have been engaged in ongoing discussions with the Bad River tribe in Wisconsin to renew an existing easement agreement. We continue to work on finding a resolution

Mainline Operations

Our Mainline system, which crosses Canada and the U.S., transports approximately 53 per cent of U.S.-bound Canadian production, a figure that accounts for 15 per cent of total U.S. crude oil imports.

In 2014, 2 Aboriginal communities living in proximity to our Mainline system in our Eastern Region raised a series of historical complaints and concerns regarding their need for involvement in the system’s operations. In response, we are developing a longer-term strategic plan for all of our Mainline operations, with the intent of building stronger, long-term relationships with our Aboriginal neighbours. We foresee that the plan will include the allocation of economic benefits throughout the life of the project and the duration of operations.

Line 3 Replacement Program

Our Line 3 Replacement Program is the largest project in our history and will result in the replacement of one of our Mainline crude oil pipelines running from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.

We are currently engaging with Aboriginal and Native American groups along the right-of-way and will continue our engagement throughout the regulatory process and the construction and operations phases. Our engagement will involve providing groups with the information they need and working with them to identify their interests.

Our engagement will also involve working with Aboriginal and Native American groups to obtain information on traditional land and resource use as part of our environmental assessment program. Several Aboriginal groups have expressed an interest in being included in the environmental assessment program, by completing Traditional Land Use (TLU) studies, and working with us to understand areas of sensitivity and historical significance along our right-of-way.

In addition, we are piloting an Aboriginal environmental inclusion strategy, and have two related projects under way involving six First Nations in Saskatchewan.

Sandpiper Pipeline Project

Our proposed Sandpiper Project will transport light crude oil from our Beaver Lodge Station, near Tioga, North Dakota, through Clearbrook, Minnesota to our existing terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. We anticipate that the project will be in service in 2017.

The White Earth Nation is a formal intervener in the Minnesota regulatory process, which is expected to continue throughout 2015.

Flanagan South Pipeline

We have completed construction on our Flanagan South Pipeline, a nearly 965-kilometre (600-mile) interstate crude oil pipeline that originates in Pontiac, Illinois, and terminates in Cushing, Oklahoma, crossing Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

We began the engagement process early on with the Osage Nation and carried the work over into 2014. Job training was a clear priority for the tribe, so we worked with tribal representatives and a labour union to teach community members the skills required to construct a pipeline.

Since 2013, Osage Nation tribal members worked more than 190,000 person hours and earned more than $5.6 million constructing the Flanagan South Pipeline.

Norman Wells Pipeline

Our Norman Wells pipeline stretches 869 kilometres (540 miles) from Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories to Zama, Alberta. Most of the communities along our right-of-way are Aboriginal.  Throughout our operating history, legacy issues continue to exist regarding economic opportunities and benefits available to the Aboriginal communities in the area.  Because of the small population base along our Norman Wells Pipeline right-of-way, we generally address these issues informally, immediately, and directly with the parties involved.

Blackspring Ridge Windfarm

Our 300-MW Blackspring Ridge Windfarm, located in Vulcan County, Alberta, was completed in May 2014. During the project’s development process, the developer from whom we acquired the windfarm consulted with representatives from the Kainai First Nation. In addition, we involved Elders in a traditional blessing of the site before construction began. We celebrated the grand opening for the windfarm in the summer of 2014 with representatives from the First Nation.

Greenwich Windfarm

In March 2010, we acquired the 99-MW Greenwich Windfarm, located on the northern shore of Lake Superior, Ontario. In adherence with agreements from the past owner, we maintain relationships with three Aboriginal groups: Red Rock, Fort William, and Métis Nation of Ontario.

All three groups claim traditional uses on the lands in proximity to the windfarm. We engaged them in the process when the asset was developed and constructed by the original owner, and agreements with the groups have provided benefits for their communities.

The impact of our engagement on the communities has been significant. We hire Aboriginal individuals and companies in this region of high unemployment, and their earnings flow back into their communities. In turn, these individuals add value to our business.

Our agreements with the Fort William and Red Rock First Nations stipulate that we must give these communities the first opportunity to bid on road work and snow removal. Each of these First Nations will remain a priority vendor for two consecutive years.

We have almost daily contact with these First Nations members through our business relationships. Our engagement with the communities is informal and we often hear of concerns directly from the Chief and Council.

In 2014 we rolled out our Contractor Management Program for these First Nations.

Our commitment with the Métis Nation of Ontario is to maintain our site and to report on our use and composition of herbicides. We are also required to involve the community in environmental monitoring.

We comply with all of our obligations within these agreements.

Enbridge Ontario Windfarm

Our Enbridge Ontario Windfarm is a 181.5-MW windfarm developed by Enbridge Ontario Wind Power LP (EOWP) north of Kincardine, Ontario, along the shore of Lake Huron.

We have an agreement with, and engage collectively regarding, the EOWP Project with two First Nations: the Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. The two First Nations refer to themselves collectively as the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. We have nine staff members based in Kincardine (at EOWP), two of whom are from the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.

We engage the First Nations in formal meetings throughout the year to discuss outstanding matters.

In 2014, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation requested that we negotiate an agreement to complete and finalize our original negotiations with them. We met with them twice to discuss their concerns, and our work toward an agreement continues.

We also support the two First Nations through our community investment initiatives such as the School Plus program at Kikendaasogamig Elementary School, associated with the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation; and the Saugeen First Nation’s Anishnabek after-school program.

Sarnia Solar

Our Sarnia Solar energy facility in Sarnia, Ontario, has the capacity to generate 80 MWs of renewable electricity, enough to power more than 12,000 homes.

We have limited Aboriginal engagement in the vicinity of our solar operations in Sarnia. However, our contractor, Williams Landscaping, offered summer employment opportunities to students from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation at our Sarnia Solar facility.

Significant Corporate Aboriginal Community Investments

School Plus Program

Our School Plus Program, which we developed in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Canada, supports enriched programming and extracurricular activities in First Nations schools near our major pipeline routes in Canada. The program’s goal is to encourage First Nations youth to stay in school by assisting schools in offering sports activities, music or arts programs, field trips and school clubs.

The initial three-year pilot program, launched in 2009, provided funding to 42 eligible First Nations schools located close to our Mainline right-of-way between central Alberta and southwest Manitoba, and close to our windfarm near Kincardine, Ontario. The success of our pilot School Plus Program, prompted us to expand it to include communities along our Mainline right-of-way in Ontario and Quebec, and along the proposed Northern Gateway Project (NGP) right-of-way in Alberta.

In 2014, 36 on-reserve First Nation schools, plus two urban Aboriginal partnerships, received $662,000 in grants under the School Plus Program. More than 3,700 students benefitted from the program in 2014. Since its inception in 2009, more than 25,000 students have benefitted from it.

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Under a 2013 partnership with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), in 2014, we contributed $20,000 to the Certified Aboriginal Business Program to support the development of the CCAB directory, an online database that links Aboriginal businesses in Canada with non-Aboriginal businesses to create more bid opportunities for Aboriginal businesses interested in working with industry. Certified businesses can access tender opportunities posted by CCAB members such as Enbridge.

Habitat for Humanity

The Enbridge Aboriginal Home Program represents a five-year, $1 million ($200,000 paid in 2014) partnership with Habitat for Humanity National to provide safe and affordable housing to 20 Aboriginal families across Canada by 2017. We have completed eight builds so far. In 2014, builds took place in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan; Regina, Saskatchewan; Kikino Métis Settlement, Manitoba; and Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Approximately 10 Enbridge employees participated in each build.

In 2014, we also invested $50,000 in a Métis Capital Housing Corporation (MCHC) housing project to build a half-duplex in Edmonton. The renovation project was carried out in partnership with the MCHC and Habitat for Humanity Edmonton.

Portage College Enbridge Training to Employment Program

In 2014, we invested $100,000 in Portage College’s Enbridge Training to Employment Program. Part of the program will be conducted in an Aboriginal community, while the remainder will take place at Portage College’s Pipeline Training Centre in Boyle, Alberta. The centre combines patented simulation technologies with practical  training.

Investments in Education

In 2014, we invested in the following scholarships and bursaries:

  • Portage College:  Enbridge Aboriginal Career Leadership Award (6) – $15,000
  • Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology:  Enbridge Aboriginal Women in Trades Scholarship (8) – $20,000
  • Southeast Regional College:  Enbridge Aboriginal Leadership Awards (10) – $20,000
  • Brandon University:  Enbridge Dakota Language Awards (10) – $20,000
  • Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards:  Enbridge Aboriginal Awards in Engineering (1) – $2,500
  • Alberta School for the Deaf:  Enbridge Aboriginal Youth Leadership Award (2) – $2,000
  • Blue Quills First Nations College:  Enbridge Indigenous Language Awards (4) and Enbridge Indigenous Business Leader Award (4) - $20,000
  • Queen’s University: Enbridge Bursary in Arts and Science (1) – $2,500; and Enbridge Bursary in Engineering and Applied Science (1) – $2,500
  • University of Ontario:  Enbridge Indigenous Student in Energy Bursary (1) – $2,500; Enbridge Indigenous Women in Business Bursary (2) – $2,500; Enbridge Indigenous Student in Engineering Bursary (1) – $2,500
  • Leech Lake Tribal College Scholarship (1) – $2,500
  • Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College Scholarship (1) – $2,500