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Michael Rattray

Indigenous Relations

Arcadians across Canada are part of an important shift in the communities in which they live and work. Indigenous-led solutions and principles of reconciliation have rightfully emerged at the forefront of societal concerns. At a time when the world is undergoing significant economic change, alongside profound environmental shifts accelerated by the impact of climate change, Indigenous Peoples and their worldviews are being given due consideration and respect. Across the planet, a positive future is awakening, and Indigenous organizations are leading the way.


The vision and commitment for a collective future

Arcadis was introduced to the First Nations Major Project Coalition (FNMPC), an advocacy group dedicated to advancing strategies that promote meaningful Indigenous inclusion in major developments, through its acquisition of Arcadis IBI Group. The FNMPC articulates Indigenous perspectives concerning ESG investment standards and sustainable business practices.

Driven by Arcadis IBI Group’s former President, David Thom, the company joined as a Sustaining Partner of the FNMPC in 2022, recognizing the importance of building relationships and creating partnerships with Indigenous communities. The Sustaining Partners are committed to economic reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and are dedicated to upholding this objective as part of their corporate ethos. The group is made up of a select cohort of ten organizations, working with Indigenous leadership to support and enable Indigenous participation and equity ownership in major projects across nations. For Arcadis, the partnership strengthens our commitment to Indigenous-led solutions and our relationships with numerous Indigenous clients.


The impact of Free, Prior and Informed Consent

The release of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007 was a watershed moment for the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples around the world. Although Canada would not officially support UNDRIP until 2016 and not release a federal framework document outlining its commitment to the declaration until 2021, the effects of UNDRIP have placed incredible pressure on governments to acknowledge, support, and enshrine the unique rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent already carried significant legal precedent in Canada since 1982, and the Duty to Consult has resulted in significant and important legal challenges to secure Indigenous Nations as rightsholders across the country. However, UNDRIP, alongside the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reports from 2015, and 2019, respectively, have ignited a necessary and needed cultural and political shift. The TRC’s Call to Action 92 has inspired corporations to lead by example through investment and partnership with Indigenous-led organizations like the FNMPC.

In partnership, Arcadis is proud to support the FNMPC in its mission. Our own journey towards reconciliation is made fuller and more significant through the opportunity to be part of a collective advantage that is ethically-conscious and a sustainable movement for change. Today Indigenous Nations, with support from FNMPC, are key partners in significant projects that lay the foundation for a net-zero future.

Arcadis works closely with Indigenous-led organizations and Nations to uphold environmental remediation standards and assessments, ensuring that every step is taken with mutual consent and respect. We support and enable the right to access clean and potable water, sustainable energy, and to build integrated communities that combine Indigenous and non-indigenous ways of seeing (what the Mi’kmaq Knowledge Keepers Albert and Murdena Marshall call Etuaptmunk, or two-eyed seeing). Across the country, partnership, consent, and reconciliatory working methods are leading the way.

It is now more important than ever to recognize the value of equity participation in project development for Indigenous Nations. As we further develop our supply chains to incorporate Indigenous consent and integrate procurement metrics to ensure equitable distribution of business opportunities for Indigenous-owned businesses, we continue working towards a model of economic reconciliation inspired and led by Indigenous organizations.


Looking towards the next FNMPC Conference

Join us at this year’s FNMPC conference from April 21-23 in Toronto, Canada. Discover why incorporating Indigenous consent is key to our mutual environmental and economic success, and how to create equitable solutions to the climate crisis while maximizing project investments and returns.

Together, we can continue to foster partnerships that are rooted in respect, collaboration, and a shared vision for a brighter, more sustainable future.

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