Report from AANDC-AFN Working Group on Natural Resource Development online

AFN Press Release

National Chief Acknowledges Final Report by Working Group on Natural Resource Development

March 3, 2015 

(Ottawa, ON) - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today acknowledged the final report by the Working Group on Natural Resources Development, Advancing Positive, Impactful Change.  The report was publicly released today by members of the Working Group.

"I thank the members of the Working Group on Natural Resource Development for their work and the time they put into this report," said National Chief Bellegarde, who is in Geneva, Switzerland, participating in the twenty-eighth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.  "This is an issue that is critical to First Nations and all Canadians and any movement forward must respect and recognize First Nations rights and title.  First Nations need to be involved in resource development during all phases. We bring the added element of ensuring the protection of lands and waters.  Sustainable economic development is what we want. I encourage First Nations to review the report and consider next steps consistent with our right to self-determination.  I look forward to continuing the conversation and dialogue around the issues raised in this report including the implications for rights and title." 

The Working Group was established in December 2013.  The members met on many occasions to discuss their mandate, review recent key studies on First Nations and resource development, and convened discussion sessions with business and First Nations leaders.  Based on this information-gathering phase, they identified four key thematic areas addressed in the report: governance, prosperity, environment, and finance.  The report Advancing Positive, Impactful Change includes observations and recommendations in all four thematic areas and sets out a series of recommendations for immediate action.

A link to the report is on the or you can click here.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.


Contact information: 

Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director (613) 292-2787 or 

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or 

Jenna Young Castro AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or


Working Group Press Release

Working Group on Natural Resources Development Releases Its Final Report: Importance of Engaging First Nations in Canada's Resource Future 

Toronto, ON - The Working Group on Natural Resources Development, set up as an independent body by the Assembly of First Nations and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada today released its final report, Advancing Positive, Impactful Change. The report builds on discussions with First Nations leaders, industry and experts and sets out key themes and recommendations outlining potential ways to increase First Nations participation in natural resources development projects.

In November 2014, the Working Group held two working sessions that focused on the themes of governance, environment, prosperity and finance. The report details these discussions and ideas, along with observations and recommendations for next steps that provide a foundation for further dialogue and action.

At sessions in Edmonton and Toronto, a central message that emerged is that individuals, businesses, communities and governments need to move beyond a basic duty to consult and embrace a more robust duty to engage and involve First Nations in all aspects of natural resources development. This requires the commitment and support of all levels of government. These efforts have potential to promote greater First Nations' participation, prosperity and well-being in a way that benefits all Canadians.

In terms of immediate action, the report recommends that the dialogue on First Nations involvement in natural resource development be taken up nationally by governments and First Nations across Canada, with the support of experts, industry, and non-governmental organizations. This is necessary for moving forward on key issues like resource revenue sharing and other important matters.

The Working Group report supports the creation of an independent resource centre that can provide easy access to practical and technical information and advisory services that can enable First Nations governments, businesses and individuals to participate more fully in all aspects of natural resource development. The information collected and shared will help advance

understanding, planning and decision-making. Topics covered could include governance, capacity, best practices, skills, knowledge-sharing, markets, finances, environment and geology. The federal and provincial/territorial governments can take an active role to help establish such a resource centre in cooperation with First Nations. This initiative would also benefit from the expertise and capacity of industry and the non-governmental sector.

The Working Group identified access to international markets and business and investor relations as an area of much interest to First Nations. The report recommends that an international meeting be organized within the next 12 months to examine and expand First Nations involvement in resource development, trade relationships, business partnerships, and access to foreign markets.

The Working Group acknowledges all of those who participated in the sessions and dialogue that advanced the understanding of these complex issues.   It is clear that Canada is at a pivotal moment.  The time is now and the opportunities are immense.