It’s no secret to anyone in the wind energy industry that the most successful projects are those built in communities that embrace them. Nor is it a surprise that effective community engagement is critical to gaining that support.
In its commitment to promoting industry best practices, CanWEA has recently released its Best Practices for Indigenous and Public Engagement to support the work wind energy companies are doing with Indigenous communities and local stakeholders. The Guide is an update to an edition that was first released in 2010. You will see new material on Indigenous Peoples and digital and social media, as well as updates to links and templates.
The new primer on Indigenous Peoples provides information about the unique requirements of working with Indigenous communities. It includes terminology, historical context, legal and regulatory guidance, and insights on creating a corporate culture which fosters positive relationships with Indigenous communities. The Guide also profiles the Canadian Electricity Association’s guiding national principles for Indigenous engagement, which were released in 2016, as an example for companies to create their own path forward.
Important tips on using digital and social media for engagement purposes are included to reflect the evolution of these practices in recent years. The Guide includes a checklist on current practices in digital and social media.
The Provincial Regulations section and other sections of the Guide were revised to update links, contact information, and language, as needed.
Establishing meaningful relationships with Indigenous groups and local stakeholders is essential for project success. It is hard work and there are no shortcuts, however, if we do it right, we can be confident that as the wind energy industry expands to help Canada transition to a low carbon economy, the support and understanding of Canadians will grow along with us.
CanWEA sees this Guide as a living document and is committed to the continual evaluation and updating of its content. CanWEA is currently working on the French version of the updates.
Director of Media and Communications at the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
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