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Edmonton

Pickleball anyone?

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5 minute read

Pickleball anyone?

A few weeks ago, just after the nation-wide shutdown of almost all public facilities had reached or approached its peak, citizens began to speak out, some of them loudly and often, about the need for a quick return of sports.

Much of the noise was generated, of course, by those who wanted (and still want) the National Hockey League to complete its season and award a 2020 Stanley Cup – yes, even if the only acceptable playoff system finds room for an astonishing 20 teams.

Close behind in their enthusiasm were fans of the NBA, the NFL and Major League baseball. Many, notably supporters or horse racing, confirmed their major urge was betting: a simple chance to wager a dollar or two on the outcome of some physical competition worth notice, at least occasionally. Others in this part of North America spoke fondly of the exciting Toronto Raptors or hopefully that the Blue Jays were finally becoming competitive again.

Getting fans into the building was much less important than providing a spectacle of sorts on television. Those 40- to 50-inch screens provide all the insight many would require, and major-league teams would receive millions in sponsorship if only some way could be found to keep players from breathing on each other near the net, in the corners, under the hoop or at the plate.

Individuals who run or jump or throw in Olympic-style competition are also free to claim there is safe space around them as they practice.

Those noises are continuing, of course, but they have been dwarfed by a much larger group – golfers who maintain with commendable logic that their game takes place on healthy, green fields that cover dozens, perhaps hundreds, of acres.

The freedom to compete without rubbing shoulders was, or should have been, totally obvious, they insist. No need for two sitting side-by-side in carts. No need to continue the tradition of suddenly-dangerous handshakes after a good putt or pats on the head in consolation after a drive somehow finds nearby water.

To a lesser extent, the same could be said about tennis and badminton. The net provides a perpetual barrier.

And now, there’s another one: pickleball.

A friend mentioned this sport a few weeks back and a friend then recovering from knee surgery said she hoped to get back to playing as soon as possible. It first came into view a few years ago, when organizers of the Alberta 55-plus Games (now the Alberta Seniors Masters Games) volunteered to become part of the 55-plus event. A strong point was made that they should be trusted to conduct their own scheduling and playoff planning.

It’s safe to bet that pickleball is, or will be, in the works for future provincial senior competitions, if ever such multi-participant sports gatherings are permitted in this time of shrinking government investment in sports. Word is “It’s easy to play and helps get us into shape.”

My next exposure to this mysterious game came two years ago on the shores of Wasa Lake, near Kimberley. Operators of a tourist facility insisted the game was as much fun for spectators as for players. I did not have a chance to test that theory. Soon, I hope, another chance will come.

It’s worth noting that pickleball requires space about the size of a badminton court. Small rackets and balls are used. The net is standard size – whatever that means.

Most games, I’m told, end quickly and each point can be exciting. In this province, Eight zones have been established for competitive reasons. Registered members total more than 5,000. Leagues exist in major centres like Edmonton and Calgary, mid-sized communities like Lethbridge, Camrose and Red Deer, and smaller centres such as Rockyview and Rockyford.

When pickleball receives official clearance, I expect we’ll all learn quickly. Provincial executive members say it is the fastest growing sport in the province.

Pickleball, anyone.

Click here to read more of John’s stories.

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Alberta

ONE RELATIONSHIP AT A TIME:  THE PATH TO PROJECT SUCCESS

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ONE RELATIONSHIP AT A TIME:  THE PATH TO PROJECT SUCCESS

Infrastructure development is full of risks, which are managed in a number of ways. Risk management might sound cold and impersonal, but it has the potential to incent real human connections and build genuine relationships. Key risks may have leading practice on how best to mitigate, transfer, ignore or hold those risks, but when it comes to energy development across Canada, meaningful consultation and accommodation is non- negotiable. As most are well aware at this point, the Crown must consult and accommodate where Aboriginal or Treaty rights are impacted. Far from being a mandatory ‘checkbox’ in the process of project development, the undertaking of engagement and relationship-building holds the potential for mutual benefits for both the project and the impacted First Nations, Inuit, or Métis community.

Genuine relationship-building is a solid foundation for partnership on energy projects, to the benefit of both parties. This partnership can take the form of Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) Mutual Benefit Agreements (MBA) or equity participation arrangements, among others. Both IBAs and equity arrangements have the potential to grow economic and social prosperity, but determining which approach is the best fit will be influenced by the priorities and capacity of both the developer and the Indigenous community.

In both these common approaches there are similar objectives:

  • Compensation for and mitigation of potential impact
  • Influence or control over project design and development
  • Securing benefits for the community
  • Securing social license
  • Working towards consent and support of the project
  • Reduced risk of opposition or disruption
  • Improved financing as a result of managed risks

Both also reflect an underlying premise that it is no longer acceptable to develop resources or energy infrastructure in a manner where impacts fall to one party, and benefits to the other.

When comparing and contrasting IBAs and equity arrangements, some key considerations are the degree of potential impact, the capacity and interest of the community in the project’s development and management, the project’s term, risk tolerance of either party, and financing and funding opportunities.

Impact Benefit Agreements between a project developer and impacted Indigenous community formalize project benefits sharing. Often, these IBAs will provide some employment, training, and contracting opportunities, but the economic benefits will often be tied to the project’s degree of impact to traditional lands and lifestyle (e.g., land impacts, hunting and gathering impacts, etc.). Regardless of how well the project is performing, the IBAs will guarantee a steady revenue stream to the Indigenous community. This can be a safe bet for risk adverse councils but holds the potential for serious revenue inequity in the case where the project is successful and very profitable.

Pivoting from partnership to ownership, equity participation agreements clearly scale the revenue sharing between the project developer and community as the project success and profitability increases. If the energy project does well, the First Nation, Inuit, or Métis equity partner is also going to do well and see greater revenues. The inverse is also true. In these equity arrangements, which are becoming more prevalent in the eastern provinces, the Indigenous partner has a greater say in project operations, as they are a shareholder. It also arguably provides more security to the developers, as the Indigenous partner is a proponent of the project, and no longer a potential opponent. Both partners would look to maximize the economic benefits of the project, while minimizing the adverse economic, environmental and social consequences flowing from the project. Without focusing too much on the direct revenue arrangement, equity arrangements will often also include guaranteed or preferential opportunities for contracting, procurement, employment and training.

To be clear, in either an IBA or equity arrangement model, the duty to consult and accommodate is neither negated nor automatically fulfilled. But the relationship between developer and community becomes formalized and clearer, adding transparency and certainty to an otherwise risk-filled process.

Managing project risk is a mandatory part of project development. But the means of managing risk holds so much potential for empowerment, leadership, and benefit. Project success and economic development are not an end in themselves, but rather a means to an end – the end being healthier and more prosperous First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, and Canada as a whole. All the while moving the dial on reconciliation through real connections, business developments, and cultural education – one relationship at a time.

Robyn Budd was a 2019 member of the Energy Council of Canada’s Young Energy Professionals program and was a Manager in KPMG’s Global Infrastructure Advisory practice, based in the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations (Vancouver). She was also the Leader of KPMG’s National Indigenous Network.

Zachary McCue is Founder of The Waabgaag Group, with expertise in renewable, infrastructure, and resource development, specializing in equity participation and impact benefit agreements. He is a proud member of Curve Lake First Nation and is based in Ontario.

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

 

Click to read more stories from this series.

Read more on Todayville.

INDIGENOUS CONSULTATION AND ENGAGEMENT AT CANADA’S ENERGY AND UTILITY REGULATORS

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Alberta

ECONOMIC RECONCILIATION IS A PRIORITY AT ENBRIDGE

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ECONOMIC RECONCILIATION IS A PRIORITY AT ENBRIDGE

Building and maintaining relationships with Indigenous nations and groups over the lifecycle of our assets is essential to Enbridge’s continued success as a leading North American energy delivery company. An important part of how we do business is to work with Indigenous communities to help increase their capacity to participate economically in our projects and operations. Economic engagement ranges from providing training and employment opportunities that build transferrable skills, to the procurement of goods and services from Indigenous businesses. To tap into Indigenous communities’ growing capacity and desire to participate in contracting and employment opportunities, Enbridge has adopted a supply chain process that requires prospective contractors to include detailed Socio-Economic Plans that outline how they will include local Indigenous communities and businesses in their work for Enbridge’s projects and operations. This approach exemplifies our desire to build long-term relationships which create value for both Indigenous communities and our business.

Enbridge has long recognized that hiring Indigenous businesses supports local employment, gives us the opportunity to understand available services and talent, and helps build trust and relationships. We also appreciate the important contribution that Indigenous businesses make each year to the overall economy.

In 2019, we marked a major milestone, surpassing $1 billion in Indigenous spending since 2011 across our Liquids Pipelines and Gas Transmission businesses. This includes direct spend with Indigenous businesses as well as subcontracting opportunities for Indigenous businesses, suppliers and wages paid to Indigenous workers from our contractors.

Our Line 3 pipeline replacement project (L3RP) is an excellent example of how our supply chain is delivering on our commitment to maximize Indigenous participation. This supports our efforts to advance economic reconciliation in accordance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92.

At $5.3 billion for the Canadian segment alone, the L3RP was the largest capital project in Enbridge’s history. It also represented our largest and most successful community engagement effort – including more than 150 Indigenous communities from as far as 300 kilometres from the pipeline right of way.

As of late September 2019, Indigenous spending on the L3RP totaled approximately $440 million for contracting and wages, while more than 1,100 Indigenous men and women were employed on project construction, representing approximately 20% of the overall workforce.

Indigenous monitors provided environmental and cultural perspective to the project construction team.

“The economic benefits flowing to Indigenous communities from Line 3 pipeline construction are no accident or happy coincidence,” says Enbridge’s Dave Lawson, Vice President of Major Projects. “Rather, they are the direct result of our comprehensive and proactive engagement program and the joint commitments between Enbridge and numerous Indigenous communities and groups.”

The leaders of several First Nations located along the Line 3 route note that “this economic stimulus benefited more than just the workers, it benefited the families and the Nations we represent.” They worked with Enbridge and “found ways to ensure environmental protections, and ways to secure tangible economic benefits and career development commitments for the indigenous people we represent. Enbridge listened and we believe this project has been a success for our people.”

Another community benefitting from the L3RP was the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF). David Chartrand, President of the MMF says, “In order to work on a pipeline you have to have certification, so we got our people all ready and trained a year before the pipeline went in. We were ahead of the game.”

“I can honestly say,” he adds, “that this is one of the true success stories that we can probably talk about. Enbridge has got a blueprint for other companies if they want to use it.”

This focus on engagement and inclusion led to 58 cooperative project agreements with Enbridge, representing the participation of 95 Indigenous communities or groups.

“From the outset, we made a concerted effort to ensure Indigenous communities understood our project, specifically how they might participate and benefit economically,” explains Kim Brenneis, Director of Community and Indigenous Engagement. “I think the positive results we’ve seen speak to Enbridge’s strong commitment to inclusion as well as to building mutually-beneficial relationships with Indigenous nations.”

Beyond successful engagement, there are three major reasons for the strong Indigenous project participation and spending profile, explains Barry Horon, Director of Supply Chain Management for Projects.

“First, we worked with Indigenous communities to help create the capacity needed to participate in meaningful pipeline contracting and employment opportunities; second, Enbridge adopted a proactive supply chain process that, among other initiatives, required prospective contractors to include detailed Indigenous participation plans in their bids; and third, we implemented a labour strategy to enhance connections between Indigenous job seekers and our primary construction contractors through an online portal and the use of Indigenous labour brokers,” says Horon.

Indigenous men and women, such as Kara Pooyak of Sweetgrass First Nation, made up 20% of the Line 3 construction workforce.

Included in the Indigenous workforce were 27 construction monitor and nine liaison positions that provided both Indigenous perspectives and advice to the Line 3 project team. This helped to ensure that Enbridge’s environmental mitigation strategies – which were approved by the National Energy Board – were implemented during construction.

Another key component of the labour strategy was the now-completed Line 3 Pipeline 101 training-to-employment program. Over three years, more than 260 Indigenous men and women graduated from the program, many of whom have secured work on the L3RP.

Justin McKinney of Swan Lake First Nation is building a career in pipelining, thanks to training and mentorship he received during the Line 3 project.

Our experience with the L3RP led to an assessment of how Enbridge’s Indigenous engagement practices had evolved over the past few years. An outcome of this process was the introduction, in 2019, of our Indigenous Lifecycle Engagement Framework, which now guides our approach to building and sustaining long-term relationships across our business going forward, including for enhancing Indigenous economic participation in our projects and operation.

The framework was shared with several Indigenous nations in Canada. We are now incorporating their feedback into our planning and we will continue to seek to seek their input to ensure that our approach remains in step with their interests and goals.

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

 

Click below to read more stories from Energy Council of Canada’s Compendium series.

Read more on Todayville.

PETER SUTHERLAND SR GENERATING STATION POWERS NORTHEAST ONTARIO

COASTAL GASLINK PIPELINE PROJECT SETS NEW STANDARD WITH UNPRECEDENTED INDIGENOUS SUPPORT AND PARTICIPATION

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