Barriers to aboriginal participation in environmental assessment: a case study of the Wuskwatim generating station, Manitoba

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Foth, Michael
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Public participation is an important aspect of Environmental Assessment (EA) processes where the public can have an influence on decisions about development affecting them or their surrounding environment. A case study was conducted on the Wuskwatim Generating Station and Transmission Line Project EA process in order to identify barriers to participation faced by Aboriginal publics. Nine general barrier types were identified including: resource deficiencies, accessibility, information deficiencies, communication barriers, inadequate consultation, timing and scheduling constraints, lack of trust, lack of understanding, and coercion and control of dissent. The findings indicate most barriers faced by Aboriginal publics were procedural in nature and may be addressed through improvements in the design and implementation of participatory processes. A number of interrelationships were noted among barrier types suggesting that barriers to participation cannot be addressed in an isolated manner. Recommendations to improve future EA process and areas requiring further research are also discussed.
Public Participation, Environmental Assessment