Aboriginal Consultation Office Update

Under The Government of Alberta’s Policy on Consultation with First Nations on Land and Resource Management, 2013 Alberta has created the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO), which will report to the Minister of Aboriginal Relations.

As of November 1, 2013, the ACO merged some services provided by the Stewardship Branch of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) with some services provided by Consultation and Land Claims Division of Aboriginal Relations in order to manage all aspects of consultation, including:

  • Policy development and implementation
  • Pre-consultation assessment
  • Management and execution of the consultation process
  • Assessment of consultation adequacy
  • Consultation capacity building initiatives with First Nations
  • Collection and aggregated disclosure of consultation-related agreements between First Nations and industry.

All applications continue to be processed under the current Policy and guidelines. Until such time as the August 2013 Policy comes into force.

Until the August 2013 Policy and guidelines are implemented, First Nations and stakeholders should continue working with their existing Government of Alberta consultation contacts at the same offices they have been using. Information related to consultation can continue to be accessed in their current locations on the ESRD website.

Links to all First Nations consultation process-related documents currently administered by ESRD remain on that Ministry’s website. This will include links to Procedural Steps for Consultation with First Nations on Land Dispositions, as well the Electronic Disposition System portal for First Nations consultation related to public land, and the Enhanced Approval Process.

Beyond current ESRD procedures, Alberta may also require consultation under the Historical Resources Act (HRA) for traditional use sites of an historic resource nature, prior to the onset of development activities. Alberta Culture manages the province’s historic resources under the HRA and will continue to apply the Act to all provincial Crown lands. More information can be found on Alberta Culture’s website.

The ACO will advise you in advance of changes to procedures in relation to First Nations consultation. Updated information can be found on this page as developments occur.

The ACO will be the authoritative body undertaking many aspects of the consultation process. An important part of the ACO's structure and integration is coordinating roles and working relationships between the ACO and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), established in June 2013. As of December 2, 2013, the AER will combine regulatory functions from the former Energy Resources Conservation Board and ESRD. The ACO will also align with the AER and the regulatory ministries.