Indigenous Advisory Committee will work with energy regulator to push ‘systemic change’

CBC News · Posted: Aug 25, 2020 11:36 AM ET | Last Updated: August 25

A recently created Indigenous Advisory Committee will work with the board of directors of the Canada Energy Regulator. Wiikwemkoong First Nation’s Kaella-Marie Earle has been appointed to the board. She says her goal is to help create an innovative energy sector with Indigenous input (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

A recent Laurentian University graduate is working to help revolutionize the energy sector.

Kaella-Marie Earle from Wiikwemkoong has been named to an Indigenous Advisory Committee. That committee will work hand-in-hand with the board of directors at the Canada Energy Regulator, formerly known as the National Energy Board.

Earle graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and is currently working at Enbridge Gas.

Earle says she grew up with an interest in energy, as her dad is also an engineer. But she says that’s not her only reason for wanting to work in the field.

“All the conflict associated between the energy industry and Indigenous people, but also the opportunity for building those relationships,” she said.

Earle says her goal is to be a part of creating an innovative energy sector with Indigenous input.

Wiikwemkoong’s Kaella-Marie Earle says she’s passionate about revitalizing Indigenous culture. She was recently appointed to the Indigenous Advisory Committee for the Canada Energy Regulator, formerly known as the National Energy Board. (Supplied/ypacanada.com)

“Right now, the energy industry is changing because so many younger people are moving into leadership roles and taking over work that they didn’t take over before,” she said.

“Young energy professionals prioritize the environment and people first.”

Earle is also a member of the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada.

“One of the forming tenets of our organization is Indigenous reconciliation,” she said.

“I would like people to know out there that there are tons of energy professionals working on these issues, and that we want to listen. When you champion people and you give them the right tools, they’re going to do amazing things and make money.”

She and others she went to university with are working to develop an app to make the development process easier, including consultation between companies and Indigenous communities.

“This is important because each Indigenous nation is sovereign,” she said.

“This is actually a huge hurdle for industry and First Nations because there’s no standard process for this. So having a tool that allows us to co-create a process that is custom to each First Nation.”

She adds the app would also deal with cultural protocols.

Earle says the Indigenous Advisory Committee is the first of its kind in the regulator’s 50 year existence.

With files from Wendy Bird