Part of GRITE’s work is dedicated on governance and regulation. On the one hand, our members analyze governance issues related to regulation or lack thereof, policy gaps and contradictions, and their economic, social, political, and environmental effects. On the other hand, GRITE members elaborate policy recommendations in order to address these issues.

In November 2018, GRITE organized a 2-day conference Extractive Industries, Governance and Indigenous Rights: Spaces of Struggle and Social innovation, which included a policy meeting focused on the Government of Canada policy on Indigenous Peoples and extractive industries at home and abroad.

Feeding from ideas shared by participants during the event, GRITE members individually or collectively took part in various initiatives and elaborated and published policy papers addressed to the Government of Canada, such as uOttawa IMPACT Forum, 2019 GAC-SSHRC International Policy Ideas Challenge, or op-eds in Canadian medias.

In June 2019, we participated in the policy forum IMPACT organized at the University of Ottawa in the context of the upcoming 2019 Canadian federal election. IMPACT aimed to contribute to policy expertise of all levels of governments in Canada, by bringing together academics, stakeholder groups, and government officials to openly discuss pressing issues. Building on the discussions we had during our 2018 November conference policy meeting, we presented 2 policy briefs. Marie-Dominik Langlois, Salvador Herencia, Sophie Thériault, Penelope Simons, Karine Vanthuyne, and Willow Scobie contributed to the policy briefs.

1 : Recommandations politiques nationales

Are Extractive Activities and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Canada Irreconcilable?

Par Marie-Dominik Langlois, Sophie Thériault, Willow Scobie et Karine Vanthuyne, membres de GRITE

Le terme extractivisme[i] renvoie à l’extraction de grandes quantités de ressources naturelles, telles que les minéraux, le pétrole, les produits forestiers et les produits de l’agriculture ou de la pêche intensive, accompagnée ou non d’un certain degré de transformation et d’exportation. Or, c’est un mode d’exploitation des ressources qui produit des enclaves de droits particuliers.

Comme l’écrit l’ancien Rapporteur spécial sur les droits des peuples autochtones, James Anaya, [traduction] « les territoires et les ressources autochtones sont souvent ciblés par des intérêts non autochtones à des fins d’extraction et de mise en valeur », puisque de nombreux sites d’extraction projetés se trouvent en territoire autochtone ou à proximité. Selon Ressources naturelles Canada (RNCan), 455 ententes ont été signées entre des sociétés d’exploration ou d’exploitation minière et des collectivités ou gouvernements autochtones entre 2000 et 2017, surtout en Ontario et en Colombie-Britannique. RNCan rapporte que la valeur des actifs miniers canadiens au Canada en 2017 s’élevait à 91,4 milliards de dollars, soit plus du tiers de tous les actifs miniers canadiens dans le monde. Bien que le Canada se classe parmi les 12 premiers pays selon l’Indice de développement humain (IDH), on estime que l’IDH des peuples autochtones au pays serait d’environ 48/174, ou que ces derniers se classeraient au 63e rang selon Perry Bellegarde, l’ancien Chef national de l’Assemblée des Premières Nations. Ce constat donne une idée de l’ampleur de la richesse des industries extractives, aux côtés de la pauvreté persistante au sein de nombreuses collectivités des Premières Nations, des Métis et des Inuits. La proximité de sites extractifs et de territoires autochtones contribue généralement à une relation extrêmement inégale entre les sociétés minières et les collectivités autochtones, qui considèrent ces industries comme envahissantes, dommageables ou insuffisamment discutées au sein de leurs communautés. Le présent document se conclut par des recommandations formulées à l’intention du gouvernement du Canada dans le but de régler les conflits et les problèmes soulevés ici.

2 : International Policy Recommendations

Canadian Extractive Companies Operating Abroad

Originally published for uOttawa IMPACT Forum, summer 2019. 
By Marie-Dominik Langlois, Salvador Herencia, Penelope Simons, Willow Scobie, and Karine Vanthuyne, members of GRITE

The lack of Government of Canada (GC) regulatory mechanisms to ensure that extractive companies registered in Canada and operating abroad respect human rights has been the subject of policymaking debates. International human rights bodies have criticized the lack of action in this area by the GC. The latest attempt to address this topic has been the creation of a Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise (CORE). The publication of a recent order in council indicates that this body will be unable to meaningfully address victim complaints.

The purpose of this brief is to identify problems that Indigenous peoples face from Canadian extractive companies operating abroad and to present recommendations to ensure that Indigenous rights to territory and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected.

3 : International Policy Ideas Challenge 2019

Originally published for uOttawa IMPACT Forum, summer 2019. 
By Marie-Dominik Langlois and Salvador Herencia, members of GRITE

Marie-Dominik Langlois’ and Salvador Herencia Carrasco’s policy recommendations were among the award winners of the 2019 International Policy Ideas Challenge organized by Global Affairs Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Their paper, Penser le développement durable par le respect de la diversité culturelle, l’inclusion et la participation des peuples autochtones dans la gestion de leurs ressources naturelles et le respect de leurs droits, [French only] is available here.


How can we ensure respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of natural resource extraction when Canadian foreign direct investment (FDI) is present? To answer this question, this proposed policy brief will first present the economic, social, political and legal context in which the issue evolves and then make recommendations to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to prevent, resolve or mitigate the problems encountered during extractive investments on or near Aboriginal territories abroad. We recognize that some of the proposed recommendations are more difficult to adopt or are outside of GAC’s mandate. However, we believe that in order to achieve the objectives – that is, extraction that respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples locally – are all necessary and that GAC must play a leadership role in their implementation and in ensuring coherence among Canadian policies.


The policy brief focuses on rights to land and territory, as well as the rights to free, prior and informed consultation and consent. However, these rights have a multidimensional aspect, as they are the means to ensure the exercise of other internationally protected rights, such as the rights to culture, religion and development. Therefore, our recommendations and analyses go beyond land tenure and land administration. They are aimed at ensuring that Indigenous Peoples continue to exist in the best way they deem appropriate.