Aboriginal Relations

For thousands of years, the Coast Salish Peoples have lived and prospered in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver area. They had complex systems for trade and commerce in the Salish Sea, Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River long before settlers arrived and recognized this area as an ideal trading region.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority manages lands and waters that intersect the asserted and established traditional territories and treaty lands of several Coast Salish First Nations. We recognize the history and contemporary interests of Aboriginal Peoples and work to establish and maintain productive relationships through Aboriginal consultation, regular communication, and a desire to engage in mutually beneficial opportunities to enhance the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

Under the Canada Marine Act, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has been delegated the authority to manage federal lands and therefore conducts Aboriginal consultation on behalf of Transport Canada when operations or developments have the potential to adversely impact asserted or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. This means we must meet both legal requirements for Aboriginal consultation and our social responsibility to consider input from neighbouring communities. To do this, we focus our Aboriginal relations work on Aboriginal consultation and community engagement practices specific to Aboriginal interests.

Aboriginal consultation

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Aboriginal consultation approach is based upon Canada’s Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Legal Duty to Consult.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Guidelines for Federal Officials to Fulfill the Legal Duty to Consult

In addition, we follow our own guiding principles for consultation:

  • We acknowledge the treaty lands and asserted traditional territories intersecting the lands and waters we manage.
  • We recognize that Aboriginal consultation is different and separate from public consultation.
  • We enter all consultation processes in good faith.
  • When the duty to consult arises, we consult before decisions are made.
  • When possible, our consultation is coordinated with other agencies.
  • We strive for one point of contact.
  • Our consultation processes seek to be clear, open and honest.
  • Our consultation procedures are forward-looking.

Aboriginal community engagement

We are committed to the development of long-term working relationships with Aboriginal groups who share an interest in the lands and waters we manage. Our engagement initiatives focus on the contemporary interests of Aboriginal groups through various programs, such as our community investment program and our Aboriginal Business Directory. We work with Aboriginal groups to understand how we can engage on matters of mutual interest and benefit.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority dedicates up to one per cent of net income to initiatives that focus on community enrichment, education and training, and environmental leadership. Aboriginal groups are encouraged to apply online. Learn more about community investment.

Aboriginal Business Directory

Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses that seek to do business with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority are invited to register online for inclusion in our Aboriginal Business Directory.