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Community Engagement Advice for Project Stakeholders


This article has been co-authored by Dave Kennedy of Strategic Aboriginal Consulting Inc. and Gary Kennedy of Linear Project Services Inc.

Gary Kennedy had the privilege of providing a Project Management Training Webinar for OceansAdvance Inc in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, on 2020-11-19. During the webinar an excellent question was submitted by text from an attendee, asking:

“How do you best communicate local stakeholder values such as in Labrador, with owner or management priorities?”

Linear Project Services Inc and Strategic Aboriginal Consulting Inc offer this joint response:

1) If you are a Community Stakeholder and you want your concerns brought to the Project Proponents:

a) Utilize a community representative to collect issues and become a spokesperson;

b) Start early in the project through group efforts;

c) Be proactive in establishing contact, don’t wait until something goes wrong;

d) Document the community perspectives and concerns in writing;

e) Find out when and how project information releases and possible public forums will be held;

f) Other wisdom from experienced people.

2) If you are a Project Proponent seeking input and advice from Community Stakeholders:

a) Understand the legal and process differences between engaging with Community Stakeholders and Indigenous Governments

b) Proponents should reach out to the public, Indigenous Governments, and communities to seek input and advice, rather than just put an ad in the newspaper;

c) Begin as early as humanly and legally possible;

d) Create accurate and timely information in accessible forms – complete with basic diagrams and avoid technical jargon;

e) DO NOT rely on government to do the outreach. Proponents usually have much more direct flexibility with their own projects and know more about their own projects than any government office;

f) Update information as things change;

g) Literally bring/deliver that information to any potentially affected communities;

h) Make direct connections with community and Indigenous Leadership, not just cc’d group correspondence;

i) Write everything down and take your show on the road with public presentations that welcome and respond to questions;

j) Write questions and concerns in public forums on a flip chart, answer the question or commit to taking it away and getting an answer. Then GET the answer and communicate back as soon as possible;

k) If on Indigenous traditional territory, there will be additional specific things that the project will have to do and demonstrate that they have done;

l) Don’t hesitate to seek expert advice and guidance if you are unsure how to proceed. Getting it right is worth the investment.

m) Other wisdom from experienced people.

To view the Recorded Webinar Video or the Presentation Slides, please find the links here in this LI post

(End of Article)


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