Understanding free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of mining in Canada

CIM Journal Preprints, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2020

S. Sadiq
Narratives Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

A. J. Sinclair
Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) has received notable consideration as Indigenous Peoples continue to establish participatory rights in natural resource extraction. Using a qualitative study design consisting of a series of interviews with relevant actors, we explored the meaning they ascribe to each component of FPIC and suggest approaches to incorporate FPIC in decisions related to the mining sector in Canada. The meanings given to “free”, “prior”, and “informed” were consistent with the published literature, with overlapping elements. “Consent” was considered from a few perspectives: what it means for a process, whether it represents veto, with whom the responsibility lies, and how best to achieve it. Our data showed significant convergence around the meanings given to FPIC, a strong desire among participants to find ways to implement FPIC, and a sense of shared responsibility to do so.

Keywords: Consent; Engagement; Free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC); Indigenous Peoples; Indigenous territories; Mining; Participatory rights; United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)