ACO BULLETIN NOW AVAILABLE
We heard from the First Nations, Metis Settlements and industry groups who participated in the ACO organizational review that we need to communicate more about our work. The Bulletin is one of the tools we will be using to ensure that you receive timely information about our role and operating processes.

We look forward to receiving your feedback on this first bulletin. Comments and feedback can be sent to Amanda Spyce at amanda.spyce@gov.ab.ca.
 
SUMMARY CHECKLIST FOR CONSULTATION ADEQUACY SUBMISSIONS
Approximately 30-40% of consultation adequacy assessment requests submitted to the ACO are returned to the proponents due to errors, omissions, the need for additional information, or further consultation.

To ensure proponent applications are complete and accurate, the ACO has developed a Summary Checklist for Consultation Adequacy Submissions (Level 1 and 2 Consultation Public Lands Act Files Only) that will help you better understand the application requirements, submit more complete applications, reduce delays, and improve processing times. The Summary Checklist is on the ACO website under letter templates and forms.
 
LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS INDIGENOUS RELATIONS TOOL (LAIRT)
On November 29, 2018, Indigenous Relations released its Landscape Analysis Indigenous Relations Tool (LAIRT) on Environment and Parks Landscape Analysis Tool (LAT) platform.

The LAIRT is designed to enable earlier engagement by industry with Indigenous communities that may potentially be affected by land and resource development decisions. The tool provides information about the Government of Alberta’s usual practice of consulting a particular First Nation or Metis Settlement, in a particular geographic area indicated by the tool user. The provision of information by the tool does not replace the pre-consultation assessment, nor initiate the delegated consultation process, but may enable earlier engagement and promote the development of “good neighbour” practices. By utilizing the existing LAT platform, the use and functionality will be familiar to industry.

This tool is now operational on the LAT website.  Information about the tool can be found on the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO) web page (http://aboriginal.alberta.ca/LAIRT.cfm) and the tool can also be accessed via this page.

For more information regarding this tool, please contact:
IR FNConsultLands-EDS ir.fnconsultlands-eds2110ea@gov.ab.ca
CONSULTATION TIMELINE PAUSE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
In light of the holiday season, Alberta acknowledges that there will be some First Nation and Metis Settlement office closures and will pause consultation activities from December 17, 2018 to January 1, 2019 inclusive. This time period will not be used or included when calculating timelines/deadlines for consultation.
JOINT OPERATING PROCEDURES
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO) have updated the Joint Operating Procedures for First Nations and Metis Settlement consultation (JOPs), effective October 31, 2018.

These changes will help the AER and the ACO work together more effectively and efficiently, allowing proponents to experience a more streamlined process and ensuring the regulator has advice on the adequacy of consultation and whether actions may be required to address potential adverse impacts.

The internal procedures are available on the AER website:

Read more...

NEW ACO ORGANIZATIONAL MODEL:
We are pleased to announce a new ACO organizational model effective October 01, 2018. We are confident that this model will support us to effectively achieve the key elements of our mandate:
  • Managing the consultation process and determining the adequacy of consultation for activities under the jurisdiction of the AER;
  • Working with First Nations and Metis Settlements, industry and other stakeholders to build respectful relationships and increase understanding of the Policy and Guidelines; and
  • Providing information and guidance to other GOA ministries about the consultation process, including recommendations as to adequacy of consultation.

The new model is predicated on the establishment of three operating Regions: Northeast, Northwest and South and two new units: Strategic Relations and Performance Enhancement and Regulatory Efficiency. On the ground, the model will allow us to respond more quickly and effectively as circumstances change in each Region and better serve our clients as a result. At the same time, the creation of the two new units will better position the ACO to develop new or improved processes and tools to use in our work and build more robust relationships across government, as well as with our Indigenous and industry partners.


Please see the ACO Contacts tab for a complete list of ACO staff.

NEW INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM:
In June 2018, Indigenous Relations is moving to a more effective and rigorous information and records management system for the review of consultation files. The new Record of Consultation Information Management (ROC IM) system will allow the ministry to respond to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy, and litigation requests more quickly and to serve the public more efficiently. Please read this memo to see how proponents will be affected and how to avoid file delays.

Aboriginal Consultation Office

The Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO) manages the following aspects of Alberta's First Nations and Metis Settlements consultation processes:

  • Pre-consultation assessment
  • Management of the consultation process
  • Assessment of consultation adequacy

The ACO is aligned with other regulatory bodies to ensure First Nation's Treaty rights and traditional uses, as well as Metis Settlements members’ harvesting and traditional use activities, are respected in all matters regarding land and natural resource management in Alberta.

The ACO is committed to continuous improvement and will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the ACO delivers on its commitment of enhancing consultation in Alberta.

Reporting to the Minister of Indigenous Relations, the ACO was created on November 1, 2013 and is governed by

  • The Government of Alberta’s Policy on Consultation with First Nations on Land and Natural Resource Management, 2013; and
  • The Government of Alberta’s Policy on Consultation with Metis Settlements on Land and Natural Resource Management, 2015.

For more information on these policies, please visit: