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Reconciliation and natural resources

NRCan is the first federal department to have a sector with an Indigenous name gifted by Elders. Nòkwewashk (No-kway-washk) is an Algonquin word for sweetgrass and is NRCan’s newest sector. Learn more about its significance.

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Partnering with Indigenous Peoples, communities, and businesses is critical to building an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient natural resource sector in Canada.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is committed to working together with Indigenous Peoples to build nation-to-nation relationships founded in mutual respect, partnership, and recognition of rights. Advancing reconciliation means not only transforming our words, but our actions, particularly when it comes to the development of projects related to resource extraction.

Our guiding principles

The basis of our efforts towards reconciliation are founded in these guiding principles:

Strengthening partnerships with Indigenous communities

We are proud to partner with Indigenous communities to increase participation and enable the development of innovative natural resource projects and policies that will have benefits for generations to come.

We are working to renew our relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. This also includes ongoing consultation and cooperation to secure free, prior, and informed consent for decisions that impact Indigenous communities and their rights, including their lands, territories and resources.

Ongoing actions

Our journey towards reconciliation is not a process that can be completed overnight. Continuous and meaningful efforts must be made to cultivate long-lasting relationships and support meaningful Indigenous participation and ownership in the net-zero future.

National Benefits-Sharing Framework

NRCan is engaging with Indigenous governments, communities and organizations, as well as industry partners on the development of a National Benefits-Sharing Framework.

The Framework will set forward a path to reducing the barriers Indigenous Peoples face in receiving consistent and equitable benefits from major natural resource projects on their territories.

Budget 2023 proposes $8.7 million in 2023-24 to support deeper engagements with Indigenous partners, including Indigenous rights-holders, towards the development of a National Benefits-Sharing Framework.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

On June 21, 2021, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UN Declaration Act) received Royal Assent and immediately came into force. This legislation advances the implementation of the Declaration as a key step in renewing the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

This Act requires the Government of Canada, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples, to:

  • take all measures necessary to ensure the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration
  • prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the Declaration’s objectives
  • table an annual report on progress to align the laws of Canada and on the action plan

The implementation of the UN Declaration Act is an opportunity to transform the ways in which Indigenous Peoples, communities and businesses participate in the development of federally regulated natural resources development.

There are four measures in the action plan specific to the natural resources sector for projects that are federally regulated. The following provides a brief summary and understanding of UN Declaration themes and the articles they aim to address.

Action plan measure


Safe and secure resource development for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, consistent with Calls for Justice 13.1 to 13.5 of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Articles 2, 7(2), 15(2), 17, 21(2), 22, and 44 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Action plan measure


The development of guidance for engaging with Indigenous Peoples on natural resources projects in order to obtain free, prior and informed consent, consistent with Articles 18, 19, 20, 27, 28, 29, and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Action plan measure


The development and implementation of actions to increase the economic participation of Indigenous Peoples and their communities in natural resource development, including through the National Benefits-Sharing Framework and in consistency with Articles 10, 19, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Action plan measure


The enhancement of Indigenous Peoples’ participation in decision-making processes related to projects and other matters that are currently regulated by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), consistent with Articles 18, 19 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Collaboration, cooperation and consultation with Indigenous partners, industry, provinces and territories to implement these measures is critical.

For more information related to Government of Canada UN Declaration Act implementation efforts, please visit Justice Canada’s UN Declaration Act webpage.

Should you wish to get in touch with the UN Declaration Implementation Team, please email

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