Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) enable industry and Mikisew to work together to minimize environmental impacts and reach employment and business opportunities.
Most IBAs include consultation processes and commitments that exceed current government standards and closely follow Canadian Aboriginal Case Law.
Each IBA includes commitments and establishes committees to better manage environmental impacts.
IBAs also include support for business development, employment, education and training opportunities.
IBAs provide community sustainability funding to support community programs and services.
IBAs in detail
Dating back to the 2000s and the early days of the IRC/GIR, agreements were signed with oil sands companies, utility companies, pipeline companies and aggregate developers. Modern life-of-project agreements began in about 2010, with the first company (Cenovus) signing a 40-year, $30 million agreement in the Conklin area. Total E&P Canada on the Joslyn North Mine Project then entered into an agreement with Mikisew after day one of the hearing. The agreement reached was for life of mining for the project and, for the first time, provided long-term, stable financial benefits to the community. This became the early blueprint for IBAs signed today. Since then, each agreement has been an improvement on its predecessor.
Multiple companies followed suit: Shell (now CNRL), Total (now CNRL), Husky, Suncor, Imperial Oil, Teck, Cenovus, Syncrude, Prosper and Sunshine. An agreement in principle has also been negotiated with Brion Energy.
The agreement is confidential, but we can disclose that the IBA covers business components, environmental management, respect for Treaty Rights, a defined consultation process, social outcomes and processes, involvement of leadership and financial management provisions. In addition:
- IBAs are not a substitute for the Crown’s obligations to Mikisew, the duty to consult or Treaty Rights.
- IBAs do not address cumulative effects, regional issues outside the project footprints or problems with government policy.
- Elements of the IBAs are subject to elements of the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act (ESTMA) and anti-corruption legislation and policies for publicly traded companies.
- In some cases, IBAs form part of the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), although no project to date has a signed-off accommodation agreement with both the provincial and federal governments.