Indigenous peoples within Canada and worldwide have the right to provide, withhold and/or withdraw consent to developments on their territories. The authors of this brief argue that with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) becoming the new business standard when negotiating access to land and resources, industry leaders must adapt their practices to better accommodate indigenous rights. The authors recommend that the extractive industry should implement FPIC to the new business environment established by international rights frameworks and Canadian case law; negotiators should be trained in indigenous rights to FPIC, emphasizing the unique world views and concepts of land and resource stewardship; and the government should create policies that harmonize the duty to consult with the principles of FPIC to ensure good governance and stable business environments.

The CIGI Graduate Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. The program consists of research assistantships, policy brief writing workshops, interactive learning sessions with senior experts from CIGI and publication opportunities. Working under the direction of a project leader, graduate fellows conduct research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that have met CIGI’s publications standards.