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Understanding FPIC: A new model for Indigenous engagement on resource development
The paper explores the meaning of “free, prior, and informed consent” and how it interacts with current Canadian law and practice. It also sets out recommendations on how the Trudeau government can fulfill its promise to incorporate FPIC into the Canadian system without disrupting the slow yet steady progress that is being made to establish partnerships between Indigenous communities and companies on resource development. There is not a strong case that FPIC currently applies to resource development in Canada, or that it would bestow a veto on resource projects, but the new federal government’s embrace of the concept creates a welcome opportunity to further clarify the terms for Indigenous support for resource projects on their traditional lands. It would be a mistake to simply attempt to adopt FPIC as a new standard.