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August 11, 2023
Strengthening relationships, improved timelines for First Nation and Métis communities’ participation in the duty to consult
The Government of Saskatchewan has strengthened its commitment to meaningful consultation with First Nation and Métis communities and supporting investment in the province with changes to the First Nation and Métis Consultation Policy Framework (CPF).
“The revised First Nation and Métis Consultation Policy Framework reflects our government’s dedication to building positive relationships, honouring Aboriginal and Treaty rights, and supporting economic reconciliation while planning for growth across our resource sector,” Minister responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs Don McMorris said. “The changes to the CPF were informed by what we heard from First Nation and Métis communities and organizations as well as industry stakeholders during our engagement held last year. We thank all of the engagement participants for their contributions.”
In the summer and fall of 2022, the Government of Saskatchewan engaged with the leadership of First Nation and Métis communities and organizations, industry associations, and municipal organizations to discuss the successes, strengths and opportunities to revise the CPF.
Based on the feedback received, the province has made changes to the CPF that support the province’s objectives to advance reconciliation, drive economic activity for the benefit of all in Saskatchewan, and build meaningful and productive relationships between First Nation and Métis communities, government and proponents.
Implementation in 2024
The Ministry of Government Relations will develop the informational and outreach materials for First Nation and Métis communities, industry, government and municipal proponents to support these policy changes through 2023. The current 2010 CPF policy will remain in place until all the necessary supports are in place prior to the new policy going into effect, targeting January 2024.
Crown Land Sale and Lease Pause
Effective immediately, Ministry of Agriculture Crown land auction sales and lease auctions are being paused for two years to allow for implementation of Consultation Policy Framework policy changes. First Nation communities will continue to be able to purchase agricultural Crown land under their Treaty Land Entitlement and Specific Claims agreements. Note that existing agriculture Crown land lessees can continue to apply to purchase their leased lands.
Principles of CPF Affirmed
The 2023 policy affirms the province’s constitutional obligations concerning Aboriginal and Treaty rights and the province’s commitment to economic reconciliation, to improve social and economic outcomes for First Nation and Métis people throughout the province.
Enhanced Role for Government Relations
An enhanced, centralized coordination and advisory role for the Ministry of Government Relations will support collaboration and overall consistency in the implementation of the policy.
Government Relations will assist First Nation and Métis communities with their participation in the duty to consult process and provide tools and support to proponents. This coordination is one aspect of the increased emphasis on the importance of relationship building between all parties involved in the duty to consult. Relationship building will be a focus in every step of the CPF.
Revised Assessment Chart
When an action or decision of the Government of Saskatchewan triggers the duty to consult, officials will consult with First Nation and rights-bearing Métis communities. Prior to consulting, officials use an assessment tool to determine the level of consultation required.
In response to feedback received on how consultations were assessed, a new Duty to Consult Assessment Chart was developed to improve clarity for all participating parties, ensuring accountability and predictability for communities, government and proponents. Timelines for government response have been shortened and consultation timelines for communities have been increased to support participation and reduce the need for extensions.
Keeping the CPF Current
This policy will replace the CPF released in 2010. Responding to requests that the policy be reviewed and updated more frequently, the government is committed to continuously reviewing the CPF to ensure consistency with case law, legislation, and policy. Future implementation of the policy may also inform revisions.
Additional policy updates include clarity on decisions subject to the duty to consult and matters not subject to the duty to consult which reflect current case law, and the important role of proponents in the consultation process.
The revised policy is available at saskatchewan.ca.
For more information, contact:
Ministry of Government Relations