Consultation Management

Effective engagement in consultation processes that avoid litigation involves recognizing and balancing the legitimate interests of the parties involved.  The goal should not, simply, be the signing of a legal agreement, but the creation of a sustainable relationship that all parties believe will add value and align interests, both short term and long term.

For First Nations, this means that the effective management of consultation with industry and governments involves striking an appropriate balance between protection of treaty and aboriginal rights and title and the pursuit of economic development opportunities.

For industry, this means that successful engagement with First Nations requires an understanding that there are almost always more issues on the table than just project economics and potential benefits.

For all parties, the purpose of the consultation process should be to work towards minimizing potential impacts and maximizing potential benefits, with the realization that First Nations can be potential partners that add and create value, value that can be shared equitably.

First Nations and industry should also understand that they do not need to interact solely within government-mandated consultation processes and that neither of them has to relate to each other as they do to governments.  They can, and often should, engage each other directly.  Where appropriate, legalistic, process-oriented frameworks should be abandoned in favour of more value-based, results-oriented strategies.

Havlik Metcs has encouraged and facilitated the successful application of these principles to some of the largest and most sensitive economic development projects in Canada.  These efforts have changed how industry and governments have approached issues related to consultation and accommodation and have expanded the range of economic opportunities available to First Nations communities.

We can help our clients to develop and implement specific strategies suitable to all stages and aspects of the consultation management process, including the development of policies, procedures and administrative support systems.  Our focus will be on outcomes, not the establishment and perpetuation of processes.