Government streamlining of the assessment of resource development projects will be the a huge discussion topic over the next few years as mining and oil sand development increase. To the general public this looks like a way to bypass the rigorous environmental assessment, public participation process and aboriginal consultation, however if it is done correctly it will bring effeciencies to the internal communication within government.
To the outsider, it is quite noticeable to many that the effort in environmental assessments, stakeholder engagement and aboriginal consultation conducted by industry sometimes does not meet the standards of the government regulatory decision maker. Why is this? A lot of it has to do with the lack of understanding within government of the different agencies responsibilities.
Coordinating the communication within government will indirectly coordinate the communication and engagement externally. This alone will eliminate much of the duplication of effort done by government and industry in regards to environmental assessment work, tenuring review, public participation and aboriginal consultation. Plus much of the “holes” that are usually found near the submission stage of a project will be addressed. In essence this is the utopia everyone involved with resource project reviews is looking attempting to achieve.
Coordination of aboriginal consultation involves the coordination of the review of the entire project application (including tenuring). Yes this seems simplistic, and it is. However it has to be done with the willingness of everyone involved, and this is where much of the effort will be needed. To change a system that has always had silos and duplication of effort due to professional legal responsibility, it will take time and effort to get all professionals involved to work together as a team – but it can be done and it has been successfully implimented.
– Michelle Goodkey, March 2012