... all parties interested therein shall be given convenient opportunity to be heard...
Whenever the International Joint Commission (IJC) is asked to make a decision about a dam or other structure in a river or a lake, it asks for views from the public. The IJC also holds public meetings every three years to discuss progress in cleaning up the Great Lakes, and solicits comments from the public on biennial progress reports on the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement.
Become involved in the work of the IJC by participating in public consultations and giving your perspective on decisions before the IJC. Before the IJC makes decisions or recommendations, views of all interested parties are considered. The IJC welcomes comments submitted in writing at any time. You are invited to share your perspective on general and specific matters under consideration at public meetings and information sessions, formal public hearings, webinars, and in response to information posted on IJC.org. The IJC also sponsors conferences, meetings and round table discussions in which members of the public and representatives of community groups and other organizations can take part. The IJC also involves the public by appointing stakeholders to its boards and convening advisory groups.
IJC Engagement with Indigenous Peoples
The Commission work cannot fulfil the Canadian government’s “duty to consult” with First Nations as it is not the government. Only the Crown has a prescribed duty to consult with first nations as per Supreme Court of Canada rulings. However Canada’s implantation of the BWT through the International Boundary Waters Act acknowledges that nothing in BWT negates aboriginal and First Nation treaty rights.
Although the Boundary Waters Treaty is silent on role of Indigenous Peoples, the IJC in the modern era has worked with individual indigenous people in the basins in which it is active, and with indigenous organizations, as the Treaty does provide for all interested parties “a convenient opportunity to be heard”.
For the first 90 years of the Treaty, the federal governments advised the IJC that they would engage with First Nations and Tribal governments directly. However since the early 21st Century governments have specifically noted the need for the Commission to work with indigenous people when assigning tasks to the Commission.
The Commission has appointed a number of indigenous members to its Boards and has worked on a number of IWI projects with indigenous partners.
The Commission is currently:
- Developing an Indigenous Peoples Engagement Policy
- Developing a history and best practices documents
- Will Offer Working with Indigenous Peoples training to IJC Commissioners, staff and board members in 2018-2019.