Conducive for sharing traditional knowledge and learning, the Gathering Space at Trent University served as the perfect forum to inspire all to strive far beyond basic expectations at a recent Duty to Consult symposium.
Thanks to the $100,000 grant awarded in March 2016 through the Education and Capacity Building (ECB) program by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) of Ontario, the Beyond Duty to Consult and Accommodate: Partnering for Success symposium was held at Trent’s Peterborough campus from August 14-17.
Attended by professionals from First Nations communities, government, and industry, the hands-on training program explored how First Nations and electricity generating companies can surpass government requirements of the Duty to Consult and Accommodate process to work effectively together on economically viable and environmentally sustainable projects that respect the needs, traditions and values of First Nations communities.
“Trent has a long history of respecting and appreciating Indigenous knowledge, cultures, and the traditional role of Indigenous peoples as protectors and stewards of the environment,” said John Knight, event co-organizer and manager of Corporate Research Partnerships in Trent’s Office of Research and Innovation.
Along with Mr. Knight, Dr. Dan Longboat, director of Indigenous Environmental Studies, Dr. Asaf Zohar, chair of the Masters in Sustainability Studies program, and Professor David Newhouse, director of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, partnered with Mike Jacobs and Gary Williams of Cambium Aboriginal Inc., an environmental assessment and monitoring services company from Curve Lake, to develop and deliver the Beyond Duty to Consult and Accommodate program.
Program participants also engaged in professional networking and received a Trent University-endorsed certificate in Energy Management and Duty to Consult. The project provided valuable experience for Trent researchers and graduate students involved.
Trent organizers are utilizing lessons learned on this project to develop curriculum for other industry and government sectors. In future, the program will be converted to four one-day intensive sessions held over the course of a year.