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IBA Community Toolkit: Negotiation and Implementation of Impact and Benefit Agreements

By:  Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation , Ginger Gibson, Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh

Contractual agreements between mining companies and Aboriginal communities now play a critical role in shaping the terms on which minerals will be extracted from Aboriginal lands in Canada. The capacity to negotiate and implement such agreements is critical to ensuring that resource extraction generates substantial benefi ts for Aboriginal communities, and that the negative impacts that can be associated with large-scale resource development are avoided or minimized.

In simple terms, an Impact and Benefit Agreement is a contract made between a community and a company that provides Aboriginal consent or support for a project to proceed. These agreements can also be known by other names: participation agreements, benefits agreements, regulatory agreements, benefits sharing agreements, etc. In the toolkit, we also briefly discuss forms of agreement that might be used during the project life cycle (for example, exploration agreements).

This tool is designed for communities engaged in negotiating these agreements with mining companies. It is written for community negotiators, members of community negotiating teams, and consultants working with Aboriginal communities and organizations.The goal of the toolkit is to provide materials, tools and resources for communities to help them address the process and content issues relevant to negotiating agreements in Canada. The focus is on private commercial agreements, where the parties are Aboriginal communities and mining companies.

The contents of this toolkit are entirely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view or opinions of the Gordon Foundation or the individuals or organizations who contributed to its development. 

This toolkit provides general information on negotiation of impact and benefit agreements. It should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to a specific situation. As the law differs in each jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on a specific situation, the information in this toolkit should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.