Participant Funding Program – Aboriginal Participation
Funding Review Committee's Report

Allocation of Federal Funds for the Environmental Assessment of the BURNCO Aggregate Mine Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) is established pursuant to subsection 58(1.1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), which states: For the purposes of this Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels.

A Funding Review Committee (FRC) independent of the environmental assessment (EA) was established for the BURNCO Aggregate Mine Project (the Project). The EA of the Project is being conducted by means of a comprehensive study (CS). The FRC's purpose was to assess funding applications, received under the PFP, that were determined by the Agency to be not eligible for funding under the PFP - Aboriginal Funding Envelope (AFE), and to provide recommendations to the President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) on whether funding should be provided, and if so, in what amount.

For this project, funding was made available to support these Aboriginal groups' participation in the EA, linked to the:

  • review of and comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines;
  • review of and comment on the EIS; and
  • review of and comment on the Comprehensive Study Report (CSR).

The FRC was advised by the Agency that due to its determination and/or assessment of Crown Aboriginal consultation duties, these seven Aboriginal applicants are not subject to enhanced consultation on this Project and this is why their applications have been evaluated from a different funding envelope from the PFPAFE and at a lower level of funding.

Initially, a total of $30,000 was made available for participation in the EA. However, by February 3, 2012, the application deadline, the Agency received a total of 10 applications. Consequently, the Agency agreed to raise the envelope to the maximum amount of $45,000. Of the 10 applications, three requested funding for public participation and seven for Aboriginal participation. Of the $45,000, a total of $35,000 was available to support Aboriginal groups' participation activities and a total of $10,000 to support public participation. [Note from the FRC Chairperson: Of the $45,000 offered to the public and Aboriginal groups that were not eligible for PFP-AFE funding, the FRC recommended that a total of $35,000 be made available to support the non AFE-eligible Aboriginal groups' participation activities and a total of $10,000 be made available to support public participation.]

The seven applications requested a total of $68,921.

On February 14, 2012, the FRC met to review the applications. The FRC members were: Mr. Bruce Young, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency, acting as Committee Chairperson; Mr. Jeff Gilmour, Environmental Assessment Consultant; and Mr. Patrick Duxbury, Environmental Assessment Consultant.


BURNCO Rock Products Ltd. proposes to develop the BURNCO Aggregate Mine Project, formerly the McNab Valley Aggregate Project, a sand and gravel mine located on the northwest shore of Howe Sound, approximately 22 kilometres southwest of Squamish, British Columbia. The proposed Project has an expected mine life of 20-30 years with a production capacity of approximately 1-1.6 million tonnes per year.

An EA is required in relation to the project because Fisheries and Oceans Canada may take action in relation to subsection 35(2) of the Fisheries Act.

This project is also subject to the EA requirements of the Government of British Columbia.


Under the PFP, funding may be provided to support applicants' input to an EA with the federal government. These activities must be linked to the EA of a proposed project through a CS, mediation or review panel.

Eligible recipients must be able to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • have a direct, local interest in the Project, such as living or owning property in the project area;
  • have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EA; or
  • have expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the Project.

All of the applicants were deemed to have met the eligibility criteria.

Under the PFP, applicants can request funding for costs related to:

  • professional fees;
  • staff salaries and benefits;
  • travel expenses;
  • honoraria for Elders and Chiefs to attend meetings and functions;
  • ceremonial offerings related to receiving traditional knowledge in relation to the EA;
  • administrative and reporting costs;
  • local collection and/or distribution of information;
  • office supplies and telephone charges;
  • rental of office space and meeting rooms;
  • legal fees;
  • general media advertising and/or promotion;
  • purchase of information material, with supporting documentation; and
  • other detailed expenses.

Rationale for Allocation

In reviewing the seven applications and in reaching its conclusions and recommendations, initially the FRC took into consideration a number of factors including the following:

  • the ability of applicants to demonstrate that they had met one or more of the eligibility criteria listed above;
  • the quality, clarity and content of the application and the applicant's proposed EA participation work plan;
  • the eligible activities under the PFP for the Project, which include reviewing and commenting on the EIS Guidelines, the EIS and the CSR; and
  • the limited amount of funding available.

Given the limited funds available and taking into account the limited information supplied by each applicant and recognizing that the applications are being made very early in the EA process, the FRC was not able to differentiate between the Aboriginal applicants and decided to allocate each applicant a total of $5,000. The FRC recognizes that the limited amount of funds available may make it difficult for some of the Aboriginal applicants to participate. However, the total amount of money set aside for participation in EAs is a decision made by the Agency and not one that the FRC has discretion over.


The FRC recommends allocating $35,000 of the available PFP funding to support the seven applicants as follows:

  • $5,000 to Cowichan Tribes;
  • $5,000 to Musqueam Indian Band;
  • $5,000 to Tsleil-Waututh Nation;
  • $5,000 to Halalt First Nation;
  • $5,000 to Tsawwassen First Nation;
  • $5,000 to Hwlitsum Services Society; and
  • $5,000 to Métis Nation British Columbia.

The FRC further recommends that any funding allocation be conditional on a provision of written comments, by the applicants, to the Agency on the EIS Guidelines, the EIS and the CSR.

Funding Review Committee
BURNCO Aggregate Mine Project

Bruce Young, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency, FRC Committee Chairperson

Jeff Gilmour, Environmental Assessment Consultant

Patrick Duxbury, Environmental Assessment Consultant

Recommended Participant Funding Allocations
BURNCO Aggregate Mine Project

Applicant Total Allocation Amount Recommended
Cowichan Tribes $5,000
Musqueam Indian Band $5,000
Tsleil-Waututh Nation $5,000
Halalt First Nation $5,000
Tsawwassen First Nation $5,000
Hwlitsum Services Society $5,000
Métis Nation British Columbia $5,000
Total $35,000

Document Reference Number: 8

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