Relationship agreements (e.g., impact benefit agreements or collaboration agreements) between companies and Indigenous communities have become a common practice in Canada. There are currently nearly 500 such agreements in place.
These legally binding agreements can set out the terms for how a company and community will work together and establish a framework for cooperation and collaboration. While early agreements were more transactional in nature, modern agreements go beyond financial payments to compensate for potential adverse impacts and have become a means to facilitate Indigenous participation in the mining sector.
Typically, at the request of the Indigenous party involved, relationship agreements are kept confidential. Each agreement is unique and reflects the needs and interests of the community and the circumstances of the mining activity. However, these agreements include common elements, including provisions addressing education, training, environmental stewardship, employment, business development and community investments to help ensure that a mining project brings long-lasting benefits to the community.
Natural Resources Canada tracks Indigenous mining agreements and has published a database that includes information about signatories, agreement type, and project information for both active and expired agreements in Canada.