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February 09, 2023

Indigenous Communities: Stewards of the Land

From the early days of planning the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI), Indigenous communities have been involved in the process. More than 40 engagements took place with Indigenous communities and organizations during the Environmental Assessments (EA) held before the start of work. Updates have continued with these communities and organizations through regular meetings and conversations, becoming more frequent in recent years, especially with the Mississauga First Nations as the local treaty rights-holders.

CNL maintains open dialogue with and seeks input from Indigenous communities and organizations to strengthen understanding of Indigenous worldviews and relationship to the land and monitor concerns about PHAI activities.

Indigenous communities have urged CNL to leave remediated sites in better condition than when the project began. CNL works closely with the communities to balance the commitment to remove contaminated soils with the protection of lands and waters. A key example of this is movement toward incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems in PHAI work, and ensuring meaningful participation from Indigenous communities.  During a recent property restoration, CNL integrated Indigenous knowledge systems to include native species of trees, plants and shrubs and the creation of habitat for smaller animals and insects. Dialogue continues with Indigenous communities to share information and receive input on CNL approaches to the protection of animal habitat and movement, accommodating species at risk and preventing invasive species.

CNL has also increased staffing to continue this dialogue.  A draft corporate reconciliation action plan will be released for input in 2023 and a PHAI Program for Engagement with Indigenous Communities and Organizations has been developed with input from Indigenous communities.

As the Port Hope Area Initiative continues, CNL remains focused on honouring treaty rights, advancing truth and reconciliation through meaningful actions and continued inclusion of Indigenous communities and organizations in the successful completion of the project, to ensure the project leaves an honourable legacy for future generations.

Read more about the Indigenous history of the Port Hope area and PHAI engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations.

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