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Sask. government unveils new Indigenous consultation framework, FSIN rejects it

The Government of Saskatchewan has unveiled a new framework in the hopes of improving its consultation process with First Nations and Metis communities.

The revised 2023 First Nation And Metis Consultation Policy Framework (CPF) updates the current framework that has not been changed since 2010.

The CPF outlines the province’s legal duty to consult with Indigenous communities prior to making decisions that impact Treaty rights and traditional uses of land and resources.

“We are committed to continuous review of the CPF and its implementation,” said Don McMorris, Minister responsible for First Nations, Metis and Northern Affairs.

The biggest changes target consultation timelines and consistency with pre-consultation assessments, McMorris said.

The province has simplified its assessment chart that helps determine when the consultation process is needed. Timelines will also change.

Government officials will now have six calendar days to begin consultation once it receives a completed application from a proponent. Under the 2010 CPF, that process could have taken weeks.

The new framework also gives Indigenous leaders and councils up to 30 days to meet, review and respond to consultation notification letters. Additional time can be added to complete consultation research.

“What I see is that the process itself from government’s perspective is going to be tighter but from the community’s perspective will be greater,” McMorris said.

Effective immediately, Crown land auction sales and leases will be paused for two years in order to give time to implement the new policy and hear any other concerns.

NDP MLA Betty Nippi-Albright said she has concerns with the policy changes, calling them “a revamp of the old, failed policy.”

Nippi-Albright said under the new policy, the Trespass Act is enforced and Indigenous people will no longer be able to access leased Crown land.

“This framework is still government driven and it’s not community driven so the government still decides when and if consultation is required,” she said.

Albright said the duty to consult needs to be enforced through government legislation, rather than a policy that only guides the process.

“The process itself needs to be created by the communities themselves, not the government. The government has an obligation to consult. How that happens is going to vary from nation to nation,” she said.

“We need legislation in this province because the Treaties continue to be breached by this government.”

The policy changes stem from concerns expressed through a consultation process that engaged both industries and communities, McMorris said.

According to the minister, 31 per cent of First Nations and 38 per cent of Metis locals offered feedback throughout the summer and fall of 2022.

“The feedback that we received from all engagement participants aligned with our objectives to advance reconciliation, drive economic activity for the benefit of all Saskatchewan residents and foster meaningful and productive relationships between First Nations and Metis communities, government and proponents,” McMorris said.

Five key themes emerged from the engagement process:

  • Preserve land to practice Treaty rights
  • Build strong relationships
  • Improve transparency and communications throughout the CPF process
  • Improve policy, process and implementation of the CPF
  • Build greater capacity

The current consultation policy will remain in place until the new CPF comes into effect in January 2024.


The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) rejects the government’s revised framework.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said he only found out about the changes through a phone call with McMorris on Thursday.

Cameron was told that the ministry sent letters to the FSIN asking for the group to be involved with the engagement process. The Chief said he never received those letters.

“That is disrespectful when they come up with an announcement and they phone the day prior,” Cameron told CTV News.

“Their way fails. It’s not led by First Nations and it will continue to fail as long as they continue to exclude First Nations.”

In February 2023, the Chiefs in Saskatchewan adopted a resolution directing the FSIN not provide comments to the province regarding the CPF review and further rejected any revised CPF that would put be forward by the government, according to an FSIN press release.

“We’re of the opinion it [the CPF] doesn’t apply to us. Our treaties trump provincial law and that’s it,” Cameron said.

Cameron said the FSIN will look at its options to fight the CPF. Top Stories

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