Dear Plan Canada:
Re: coverage of the “Duty to Consult” issue.
Your recent article: “Are we There Yet? Making inroads to decolonise planning knowledge and practices in Southern Ontario.” Fall 2013. 53 (2): 20-23 was rather timely. As a preliminary publishing of the results of this research, it demonstrates the need for a more consistent response from our profession. The article hit upon the two issues central to this topic: the uncertainty municipalities feel on how and when to respond to the “Duty to Consult”, and the capacity of First Nations to respond to the potential avalanche of information. It highlighted the growing need for the professionals on both sides to sort out the protocols needed to fulfill this constitutional requirement.
In Ontario, this need has emerged around conflicts over development of minerals in the North, wind energy in the South, ill-considered landfill locations, constructing homes on land traditionally used by First Nations, etc. Our professional response has been slow, but it has started. Several years ago the Ontario Planning Journal published articles on the “Duty to Consult”. An OPPI district hosted a panel discussion with Aboriginal and Municipal officials on this topic in 2012. A session was also held at this year’s (2013) OPPI conference in London. Your article is another strong step along this path. Congratulations to Leela Viswanathan and her team: Fraser McLeod, Carolyn King, Jared Macbeth, and Erin Alexiuk for their excellent work. Please continue to update us on the progress of this vital issue, and if possible, let us know about successes from other parts of Canada.
David J. Stinson
MCIP, RPP, A.Ag.