Consultation versus Engagement – What is the difference? Is there really a difference? Now it depends to who you talk to but to keep things simple: consultation is the legal responsibility of the crown (Canadian Government) and engagement is the delegated responsibility from the crown to the industry proponent proposing a resource project on the land. If you think of these two terms in this way it keeps it quite simple.
Basically industry cannot discuss treaty rights, government revenue sharing, cumulative impacts on a land base with Aboriginal (First Nation) communities, these are Government fiduciary responsibilities. Government usually does not have the intimate details and expertise to adjust a project to minimize or avoid potential impact to Aboriginal rights or title. Thus the two types of communication by both government and industry with Aboriginal communities are slightly different yet they are both very important to the community. So both Government and industry have a responsibility to discuss the project fully with the impacted aboriginal communities.