Indigenous Engagement

At Enbridge, we work to ensure our relationships with communities and Indigenous groups are mutually beneficial—environmentally, socially, culturally and economically.

We’re working hard to align our interests with those of Indigenous communities and collaborating for mutual benefit. And we’re committed to doing it with trust and respect.

Business Context and our Strategic Response

Enbridge is committed to fostering strong, respectful, long-term relationships with Indigenous nations and groups throughout North America. We believe that building, enhancing and sustaining these relationships is an operating expectation—and the right thing to do.

We recognize and respect Indigenous communities as distinct peoples, with their own cultures and priorities. Wherever our operations neighbor with Indigenous communities, we seek to partner and engage with them to reduce our operational impacts and maximize the social and economic benefits we can bring. With infrastructure for delivering oil, natural gas and power that spans North America, Enbridge engages regularly with over 200 Indigenous nations and groups in Canada and 30 federally recognized Native American Tribes in the U.S.

Our Approach

Indigenous Lifecycle Engagement Framework

Lifecycle relationships

We are guided by a set of strong internal values and systems that help us navigate this rapidly changing landscape.

Our Indigenous Peoples Policy outlines the key principles that guide our engagement with Indigenous nations and groups in areas where our pipelines cross their lands. The policy, and its supporting guidelines, practices and management systems, recognizes the legal, regulatory and historic context of Indigenous rights and supports best practices on Indigenous consultation and engagement across all of our projects and operations.

Through our experience with the Line 3 Replacement Program, we stepped back and explored how our Indigenous engagement practices had evolved over the past few years. This resulted an ongoing, deeper dialogue and a more comprehensive approach piloted across the enterprise to work more strategically with Indigenous communities on shared goals. Today, we more fully appreciate the value that building longer-term relationships can create for both the communities involved and our business.

Our Indigenous Lifecycle Engagement Framework, introduced in 2018, guides our approach to building and sustaining long-term relationships across our business. We shared the framework with focus groups and Indigenous communities in Canada and are now incorporating their feedback into our planning. We will continue to actively engage and invite input.

The framework sets out an engagement strategy on three distinct levels:

  • Landscape level of engagement captures strategic, enterprise-wide engagement initiatives that impact the Company as a whole. Engaging with Indigenous leaders at this level will support ongoing and active engagement and communication.
  • Regional level engagement involves Indigenous nations and groups located in geographic proximity to one another (e.g. the U.S. Midwest, the Canadian Prairies region and British Columbia). Regional initiatives focus on establishing opportunities for regional dialogue around key issues.
  • Direct engagement is focused primarily on high priority nations— those that are near our infrastructure including: nations with Enbridge infrastructure on reserve (e.g. Fond du Lac and Swan Lake); nations within 12 to 19 miles (20 to 30 kilometers) of a pipeline right-of-way; and communities downstream of where a liquids pipeline crosses a waterbody. Direct engagement activities tend to be site-specific and narrow in scope—activities that may be implemented most effectively and appropriately on a communityby- community basis.

Depending on the nature of a project, our Indigenous consultation and community engagement process can include elements from the diagram below:

Potential Elements Included in Indigenous Engagement

Potential Elements Included in Indigenous Engagement
Indigenous Rights In North American Energy Infrastructure Report

From Discussion to Defining Action

In 2018, Enbridge released a discussion paper on Indigenous Rights and Relationships in North American Energy Infrastructure to report on the steps we are taking to implement our Indigenous Peoples Policy and integrate Indigenous rights and sensitivities into our investment review process through early identification across our different types of investments.

Throughout the second half of 2018, the discussion paper was introduced to Indigenous leaders from over 20 nations in Canada with an invitation to review and provide input about its contents. We also received input through an online survey. Most of the feedback related to Indigenous rights, Enbridge’s investment review process, employee awareness about Indigenous cultures and practices, and inclusion of Indigenous perspectives throughout our business. We were encouraged by the response; a direct outcome of the discussion paper is that it has helped us to better define our thinking and approach to lifecycle engagement with Indigenous nations and groups.

Our Performance

Creating Economic Participation Opportunities for Indigenous Nations

Surpassing $1 billion

In the second quarter of 2019, we marked a major milestone, surpassing $1 billion in Indigenous spend since 2011 across our LP and GTM businesses. This includes direct spend with Indigenous businesses as well as subcontracting opportunities for Indigenous business working suppliers and wages paid to Indigenous workers from our contractors.

Wherever we engage with Indigenous communities, we pursue the support of economic development opportunities consistent with Indigenous communities’ culture and community development plans. Indigenous socio-economic participation is central to our Indigenous Engagement Program. We have long recognized that hiring Indigenous businesses and contractors supports local employment, gives us the opportunity to understand available services and talent, and helps us build trust and relationships. We also appreciate the important contribution that Indigenous businesses make each year to the overall economy.

A specialized team within our Supply Chain Management (SCM) function focuses exclusively on expanding opportunities for socioeconomic participation by Indigenous groups. The team includes Indigenous business development specialists with the skill sets required to support the achievement of our goals for Indigenous procurement.

In Canada, the SCM Indigenous Engagement team developed opportunities for Indigenous communities and businesses, with the largest effort on the L3RP. We have been able to work with local Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses and our contractors to put over 150 Indigenous businesses and partnerships to work. The project employed over 1,100 Indigenous workers. Further, the project recorded an Indigenous spend of $345 million as of the year-end 2018.

The SCM Indigenous Engagement team in the U.S. works with Indigenous communities and businesses to provide opportunities in training and education, employment, procurement and business development. By working with our general contractors and Indigenous business, we increased Indigenous economic spend from $4.3 million in 2017 to $14.9 million in 2018. This includes contracting, labor, business development and training initiatives. We have committed $100 million in Indigenous spend focused on the L3RP in Minnesota.

Building Meaningful Relationships with Indigenous Communities

Placing pipeline

Everybody wins: Line 3 Replacement in Canada has maximized Indigenous participation

The pipeline we’ve built together is safer and will continue to provide economic benefits for Canada. Indigenous individuals, businesses and communities benefit in the short term from construction and the longer term through increased capacity, job experience, training and sustainability initiatives.

Learn more

Investing in capacity
Enbridge is proud to partner with Indigenous communities near our projects and operational rights-of-way. We strive to share our success with these communities via investment, partnerships and human capital to support community organizations, fuel quality of life and make a positive, lasting impact. In 2018 Enbridge continued its long-standing support to enable communities to engage on our projects and build capacity within the community, as well as addressing community priorities—from educational programs to safety training and equipment, to cultural initiatives. Our capacity support in 2018 totaled nearly $12.8 million. Details on our investment programs can be found in the Community Investment section on Page 70.

Training and employment
We are continuing our efforts to increase Indigenous employment by working in partnership with communities, schools and local governments. Some of these partnerships include:

Enbridge signed an agreement with Red Lake Nation’s workforce development department, Oshkiimaajitahdah, the United Association of Pipefitters and the Local 798 Welding Union to support the Red Lake Welding school with scholarships and donations for welding equipment. The agreement includes financial support to complete the construction of the manufacturing building in Redby, MN.

Workers preserving the land

A living connection to the history: Protecting Tribal traditions in Minnesota

Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project is about more than economics—it’s about engagement, inclusion and respect. With nine Tribes participating directly through survey work, and more than 30 Tribes in total involved via consultation, Enbridge’s L3R Tribal Cultural Resources Survey—encompassing all 337 miles of the project route across northern Minnesota—represents the largest Tribal cultural resources survey ever attempted in the energy industry.

Learn more

American Indian Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin
Enbridge is a corporate member of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin (AICCW). The partnership with AICCW has provided mutually beneficial relationships with Tribal-owned and Tribal citizen-owned businesses. The partnership has provided Indigenous businesses contracting/subcontracting opportunities and labor resources for working on Enbridge projects; and sharing information with each other regarding Enbridge, Wisconsin Tribes and culture, and how we can work together for a sustainable future.

Cultural Awareness and Education

We provide Indigenous awareness training at Enbridge in support of our commitment to fostering an understanding of the history, traditions, rights and culture of Indigenous peoples among our employees and contractors. The training is designed to help employees and contractors communicate and engage more effectively with local Indigenous peoples. Approximately 1,500 employees and contractors have received Indigenous awareness training since the program's inception in 2016 in operating regions in Canada and the U.S. To extend the reach and impact of the program, we introduced online awareness training in 2019.

In 2019 Enbridge was the presenting sponsor for the Calgary StampedeElbow River Camp. We are proud to honor the historic relationship between the Calgary Stampede and the nations of Treaty 7, where families come together to share and express their cultural heritage and pass along traditions to the next generation.

Enbridge Bemidji solar panels

Wells Academy: A Minnesota story of technology, training and transformation

In 2018, Enbridge finalized a 13KW solar demonstration project as part of a partnership between Enbridge and Native American-owned businesses, contractors and labor. Wells Technology was looking to bring their solar panels to the commercial market and we were looking for meaningful ways to collaborate with Tribes on renewable energy projects.

The solar panels are located at our office in Bemidji, MN. To date, 12,500 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions have been avoided. Working with Enbridge, Wells Technology was able to successfully bring a product to the commercial market and obtain UL listing and certification.

Learn more

Safety, Cultural and Environmental Protection

Enbridge has great respect for the cultural resources of our Indigenous and local communities. We seek to understand their concerns related to safety and the protection of cultural and environmental resources and values.

Indigenous and community-based input has also led to increased Indigenous participation in archaeological work, monitoring and cultural studies/surveys to inform environmental and cultural protection plans, and to increased Indigenous inclusion in emergency response planning and exercises for our L3RP.

In 2019 we concluded an extensive traditional cultural resources survey at the request of interested Tribal Nations in Minnesota—the largest Tribal resourced survey ever attempted in the energy industry. It extended beyond regulatory requirements and was carried out through a collaboration of nine Tribes participating directly through survey work, and more than 30 Tribes in total involved via consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

With input received from Indigenous nations we jointly collaborated and made changes to project design, planning and routing for our L3RP in both Canada and the U.S. to avoid sites of potential cultural significance. Tribal monitors will be hired for pre-construction and post-construction phases. The focus of the monitoring role is to provide an Indigenous perspective and ensure cultural resources are protected during the construction phase.

SPOTLIGHT: Lighting the way

Indigenous Spend in Canada and the U.S.1




LP $79 $136 $325
GTM2   $70 $61
GDS $13 $11 $8

1 Indigenous spend includes contracting, both direct from Enbridge and indirect sub-contracting opportunities, and wages paid to Indigenous workers.
2 GTM spend in 2016 is combined under Major Projects.

Don't lose your comments!
Make sure you bookmark or email this unique key to yourself so that you can always access your comments. Your comments will remain completely anonymous and will not be shared with any third party organizations or individuals. Read more about Enbridge's privacy policy.
Copy to clipboard