At Enbridge, we work to ensure our relationships with communities and Indigenous groups are mutually beneficial—environmentally, socially, culturally and economically.
We’re working hard to align our interests with those of Indigenous communities and collaborating for mutual benefit. And we’re committed to doing it with trust and respect.
Business Context and our Strategic Response
Enbridge is committed to fostering strong, respectful, long-term relationships with Indigenous nations and groups throughout North America. We believe that building, enhancing and sustaining these relationships is an operating expectation—and the right thing to do.
We recognize and respect Indigenous communities as distinct peoples, with their own cultures and priorities. Wherever our operations neighbor with Indigenous communities, we seek to partner and engage with them to reduce our operational impacts and maximize the social and economic benefits we can bring. With infrastructure for delivering oil, natural gas and power that spans North America, Enbridge engages regularly with over 200 Indigenous nations and groups in Canada and 30 federally recognized Native American Tribes in the U.S.
We are guided by a set of strong internal values and systems that help us navigate this rapidly changing landscape.
Our Indigenous Peoples Policy outlines the key principles that guide our engagement with Indigenous nations and groups in areas where our pipelines cross their lands. The policy, and its supporting guidelines, practices and management systems, recognizes the legal, regulatory and historic context of Indigenous rights and supports best practices on Indigenous consultation and engagement across all of our projects and operations.
Through our experience with the Line 3 Replacement Program, we stepped back and explored how our Indigenous engagement practices had evolved over the past few years. This resulted an ongoing, deeper dialogue and a more comprehensive approach piloted across the enterprise to work more strategically with Indigenous communities on shared goals. Today, we more fully appreciate the value that building longer-term relationships can create for both the communities involved and our business.
Our Indigenous Lifecycle Engagement Framework, introduced in 2018, guides our approach to building and sustaining long-term relationships across our business. We shared the framework with focus groups and Indigenous communities in Canada and are now incorporating their feedback into our planning. We will continue to actively engage and invite input.
The framework sets out an engagement strategy on three distinct levels:
- Landscape level of engagement captures strategic, enterprise-wide engagement initiatives that impact the Company as a whole. Engaging with Indigenous leaders at this level will support ongoing and active engagement and communication.
- Regional level engagement involves Indigenous nations and groups located in geographic proximity to one another (e.g. the U.S. Midwest, the Canadian Prairies region and British Columbia). Regional initiatives focus on establishing opportunities for regional dialogue around key issues.
- Direct engagement is focused primarily on high priority nations— those that are near our infrastructure including: nations with Enbridge infrastructure on reserve (e.g. Fond du Lac and Swan Lake); nations within 12 to 19 miles (20 to 30 kilometers) of a pipeline right-of-way; and communities downstream of where a liquids pipeline crosses a waterbody. Direct engagement activities tend to be site-specific and narrow in scope—activities that may be implemented most effectively and appropriately on a communityby- community basis.
Depending on the nature of a project, our Indigenous consultation and community engagement process can include elements from the diagram below:
Creating Economic Participation Opportunities for Indigenous Nations
Wherever we engage with Indigenous communities, we pursue the support of economic development opportunities consistent with Indigenous communities’ culture and community development plans. Indigenous socio-economic participation is central to our Indigenous Engagement Program. We have long recognized that hiring Indigenous businesses and contractors supports local employment, gives us the opportunity to understand available services and talent, and helps us build trust and relationships. We also appreciate the important contribution that Indigenous businesses make each year to the overall economy.
A specialized team within our Supply Chain Management (SCM) function focuses exclusively on expanding opportunities for socioeconomic participation by Indigenous groups. The team includes Indigenous business development specialists with the skill sets required to support the achievement of our goals for Indigenous procurement.
In Canada, the SCM Indigenous Engagement team developed opportunities for Indigenous communities and businesses, with the largest effort on the L3RP. We have been able to work with local Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses and our contractors to put over 150 Indigenous businesses and partnerships to work. The project employed over 1,100 Indigenous workers. Further, the project recorded an Indigenous spend of $345 million as of the year-end 2018.
The SCM Indigenous Engagement team in the U.S. works with Indigenous communities and businesses to provide opportunities in training and education, employment, procurement and business development. By working with our general contractors and Indigenous business, we increased Indigenous economic spend from $4.3 million in 2017 to $14.9 million in 2018. This includes contracting, labor, business development and training initiatives. We have committed $100 million in Indigenous spend focused on the L3RP in Minnesota.
Building Meaningful Relationships with Indigenous Communities
Investing in capacity
Enbridge is proud to partner with Indigenous communities near our projects and operational rights-of-way. We strive to share our success with these communities via investment, partnerships and human capital to support community organizations, fuel quality of life and make a positive, lasting impact. In 2018 Enbridge continued its long-standing support to enable communities to engage on our projects and build capacity within the community, as well as addressing community priorities—from educational programs to safety training and equipment, to cultural initiatives. Our capacity support in 2018 totaled nearly $12.8 million. Details on our investment programs can be found in the Community Investment section on Page 70.
Training and employment
We are continuing our efforts to increase Indigenous employment by working in partnership with communities, schools and local governments. Some of these partnerships include:
Enbridge signed an agreement with Red Lake Nation’s workforce development department, Oshkiimaajitahdah, the United Association of Pipefitters and the Local 798 Welding Union to support the Red Lake Welding school with scholarships and donations for welding equipment. The agreement includes financial support to complete the construction of the manufacturing building in Redby, MN.
American Indian Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin
Enbridge is a corporate member of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin (AICCW). The partnership with AICCW has provided mutually beneficial relationships with Tribal-owned and Tribal citizen-owned businesses. The partnership has provided Indigenous businesses contracting/subcontracting opportunities and labor resources for working on Enbridge projects; and sharing information with each other regarding Enbridge, Wisconsin Tribes and culture, and how we can work together for a sustainable future.
Cultural Awareness and Education
We provide Indigenous awareness training at Enbridge in support of our commitment to fostering an understanding of the history, traditions, rights and culture of Indigenous peoples among our employees and contractors. The training is designed to help employees and contractors communicate and engage more effectively with local Indigenous peoples. Approximately 1,500 employees and contractors have received Indigenous awareness training since the program's inception in 2016 in operating regions in Canada and the U.S. To extend the reach and impact of the program, we introduced online awareness training in 2019.
In 2019 Enbridge was the presenting sponsor for the Calgary StampedeElbow River Camp. We are proud to honor the historic relationship between the Calgary Stampede and the nations of Treaty 7, where families come together to share and express their cultural heritage and pass along traditions to the next generation.
Safety, Cultural and Environmental Protection
Enbridge has great respect for the cultural resources of our Indigenous and local communities. We seek to understand their concerns related to safety and the protection of cultural and environmental resources and values.
Indigenous and community-based input has also led to increased Indigenous participation in archaeological work, monitoring and cultural studies/surveys to inform environmental and cultural protection plans, and to increased Indigenous inclusion in emergency response planning and exercises for our L3RP.
In 2019 we concluded an extensive traditional cultural resources survey at the request of interested Tribal Nations in Minnesota—the largest Tribal resourced survey ever attempted in the energy industry. It extended beyond regulatory requirements and was carried out through a collaboration of nine Tribes participating directly through survey work, and more than 30 Tribes in total involved via consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
With input received from Indigenous nations we jointly collaborated and made changes to project design, planning and routing for our L3RP in both Canada and the U.S. to avoid sites of potential cultural significance. Tribal monitors will be hired for pre-construction and post-construction phases. The focus of the monitoring role is to provide an Indigenous perspective and ensure cultural resources are protected during the construction phase.
In 2018, Enbridge had the chance to share data with our Indigenous neighbors—and shed some light on history.
During consultation work to extend the Environmental Assessment Certificate for our Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline project in British Columbia, the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office asked us to share Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data we had gathered years ago with University of British Columbia (UBC) researchers. When we reached out to UBC, we learned that LiDAR has become a valued tool in archaeological and cultural research—a tool and data previously unavailable to UBC.
As a result of our data sharing, UBC was able to identify more than a dozen potential archaeological sites of cultural significance to the Gitanyow peoples, including what may be a village site described in oral traditions. Researchers also found previously identified archaeological sites that had inaccurate coordinates and were able to correct the historical inaccuracies. We were pleased to make Enbridge intellectual property available for this important work. After all, lighting the path forward often starts with shining light on our history.
Indigenous Spend in Canada and the U.S.1
1 Indigenous spend includes contracting, both direct from Enbridge and indirect sub-contracting opportunities, and wages paid to Indigenous workers.
2 GTM spend in 2016 is combined under Major Projects.