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June 21, 2022

CNL is committed to strengthening Indigenous relationships

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) Port Hope locations and the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) projects are situated on the treaty lands of the Williams Treaties First Nations, specifically the treaty signed with the Mississauga First Nations of Alderville, Curve Lake, Hiawatha and Scugog Island.

The Mississauga First Nations are also signatories to various 18th and 19th century treaties that covered lands in different parts of south-central Ontario. In 1923, the Mississauga First Nations and the Chippewa First Nations consisting of Rama, Beausoleil and Georgina Island signed the Williams Treaties and together, over 90 years later in June 2018, joined to ensure that their rights to and the relationship with these lands is respected through a renewed agreement with Canada and the Province of Ontario. The area in which we are situated is also home to Indigenous Peoples from across the region and Canada. CNL is grateful to have the opportunity to work on these traditionally and culturally significant lands and waterways.

Indigenous engagement is a critical component of the PHAI and all CNL projects. CNL and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the Crown corporation that provides federal government oversight of CNL, are committed to open and transparent communication with Indigenous rights and interest holders. Both organizations seek to advance reconciliation through meaningful actions.

CNL recognizes that including Indigenous Knowledge – particularly in the areas of environmental protection and sustainability – in the life cycle of projects can complement and improve the operations and activities carried out at its sites. Last fall, CNL hired a Director of Indigenous Relations to establish and lead a corporate-wide approach to building relationships with Indigenous Peoples. The PHAI team has also been expanded to include a role dedicated to Indigenous engagement.

When the PHAI moved to the implementation phase in 2012, the Mississaugas of the Williams Treaties First Nations asked to receive regular updates about the project. CNL staff met at least annually with representatives from Hiawatha First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and Alderville First Nation to share project updates and engage in discussions on topics including environmental protection, economic opportunity and heritage resource protection.

In recent years, CNL has also shared PHAI updates with representatives from the Anishinabek Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario. Based on their proximity to the PHAI sites and interest in other projects in the area, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and local Métis Councils have been sent project information and invitations to special events such as Industry Day, career fairs and information sessions.

In 2021, at the request of Curve Lake First Nation, CNL’s Indigenous engagement team established monthly meetings with representatives from the Mississauga First Nations and Chippewa communities including staff from Beausoleil First Nation, Georgina Island First Nation and Rama First Nation. Discussion topics are mutually determined and focus on CNL environmental remediation projects and/or interests identified by these Nations. Valuable feedback from Indigenous engagement is supporting CNL’s efforts to use more balanced language and inclusive perspectives in project documentation.

CNL is committed to recognizing Indigenous rights and interests as we continue to build relationships with Indigenous communities through ongoing learning about their history and values.

Learn more about the Indigenous History of the Port Hope Area here.

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