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 reports 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.

The new Alberta First Nation Consultation Guidelines came into effect on July 28, 2014 effectively bringing the 2013 Policy into force.

Links to all First Nations consultation process-related documents currently administered by ESRD remain on the ESRD website however this information will be updated soon to reflect the new Policy and Guidelines. This will include links to Procedural Steps for Consultation with First Nations on Land Dispositions, as well as the Electronic Disposition System portal for First Nations consultation related to public land, and the Enhanced Approval Process.

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

Beyond the Guidelines and 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 be the authoritative body directing many aspects of the consultation process. An important part of the ACO's structure and integration is coordinating roles and working relationships with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), the AER will combine regulatory functions from the former Energy Resources Conservation Board and ESRD. The ACO will also closely align with other regulatory ministries.