Canada, British Columbia and partner First Nations agree that consultation and engagement with the people who work, live and play in the Northern Shelf is critical to the success of the Northern Shelf Marine Protected Area (MPA) network. The governing partners are seeking to engage stakeholders through a transparent and credible process that promotes trust and respect between governments, stakeholders and communities.
The Northern Shelf MPA network planning aims to be an inclusive process that provides opportunities for interested parties to become involved. Opportunities for engagement will align with the multiple stages of the network planning process. Stakeholders and local governments will have an advisory role, providing information on their activities and interests as they relate to the network planning process. This information is provided through multiple mechanisms, including advisory committees and webinars.
Engagement within the Northern Shelf MPA network planning process strives to achieve broad involvement of other levels of government and stakeholders. The following engagement principles are intended to ensure that meaningful opportunities for participation, consultation and information exchange are provided throughout the planning process.
Responsive and Respectful
Relevant and Inclusive
Open and Transparent
Clear and Accessible
Adaptive and Efficient
The governments of Canada and British Columbia are committed to true and lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia. First Nations with traditional territories in the Northern Shelf will be provided with opportunities for engagement throughout the planning process and consulted, at a deeper level, on potential sites as they are identified within Nations’ territories and/or overlap with other First Nations interests.
Stakeholders, local governments
The governing partners are committed to working with stakeholders and local governments who work, live or have an interest in the Northern Shelf and its future. A list of marine uses and interests that are expected to be part of the engagement process is below.
Marine research institutes
First Nations marine knowledge
Public recreation fishery
Marine transportation and shipping
Recreational fishing service providers
Commercial and non-Commercial recreation and tourism
Stakeholder engagement will take place at both regional and sub-regional scales within the NSB. While the NSB MPA network is being developed at the bioregional scale, the incorporation of both regional and local perspectives and knowledge will be critical to the network design process.
Bioregional engagement will operate on a large scale, using various approaches, including a bioregional marine advisory committee (MAC), regional forums, and bilateral meetings with stakeholders and local governments. It is expected that regional input will be especially valuable on “big picture”, strategic, bioregional issues relating to: replication, connectivity, conservation, and cumulative socio-economic impacts and/or impacts of coast-wide economic activities.
Local perspectives and knowledge from marine communities in the North Coast, Central Coast, Haida Gwaii, and North Vancouver Island sub-regions will be integrated into the planning process through various mechanisms including meetings of sub-regional MACs. Targeted engagement with relevant sectors or interests regarding specific issues and data at sub-regional scales may also be required. It is expected that sub-regional engagement will be valuable for its focus on issues of adjacency, providing opportunities to inform design guidelines, conservation priorities, ground-truthing and data gaps, and to refine proposed boundaries of design scenarios.
The scope of information brought before the bioregional and sub-regional MACs may be very similar; however, it is expected that different perspectives and types of knowledge will come from each committee.
Multiple marine initiatives will be taking place in the NSB over the next few years, including:
Most of these initiatives are a collaboration of two or more of the NSB MPA governance partners and each process requires some level of ongoing engagement with stakeholders and other governments. The extent and nature of that engagement will be determined by decisions and commitments made by the partner agencies associated with each initiative.
In order to make the best use of everyone’s time and resources, and to build awareness of the interconnectedness of these initiatives, efforts will be made to co-ordinate engagement amongst these initiatives. To the extent possible, network governance partners will seek to co-ordinate timing of meetings across these initiatives to make things more convenient and efficient for stakeholders and staff.
The following engagement mechanisms will be used at various stages of the network planning process.
Stakeholders and local governments have an advisory role in the planning process. A Bioregional Ocean Advisory Committee has been established to provide input and advice to the MPA network governance partners on key elements of the planning process. Advisory committees have also been established for each of the four sub-regions within the Northern Shelf: Haida Gwaii, North Coast, Central Coast and North Vancouver Island. The advisory committees include broad representation from all interested sectors, supporting inter-sectoral dialogue and building shared understanding on MPA network planning. Terms of Reference have been developed for the advisory committees. Learn more about the advisory committees.
Bioregional forums will be held during key phases of the planning process to communicate with relevant stakeholders and local governments collectively and to provide opportunities for participants from different parts of the bioregion to exchange diverse interests and ideas. These forums may be multi-day events in which stakeholders, local governments, partners and/or interested parties will have the opportunity to meet and discuss information, provide advice and input to MPATT, and build working relationships. Facilitators may be used to help guide forum agendas, ensure objectives are clear and outcomes accomplished and document the results. Activities may include presentations, break-out sessions, Q&As, and/or information collection, as appropriate.
Engagement opportunities are scheduled at key junctures according to the tasks and requirements associated with each step of the planning process. Briefings will provide additional opportunities to collectively discuss planning progress and address questions, concerns and/or provide additional feedback. They may include interactive dialogue facilitated by the partners using webinars or conference calls and will complement targeted emails and updates on the network website. The briefings will be facilitated by the MPATT co-chairs and scheduled as needed.
Bilateral meetings may be held with First Nations, individual stakeholder grouops or local governments at key junctures of the planning process. These meetings will occur throughout key planning stages as necessary.
Online Response Forms
Online response forms may be used in the event that additional input is required from stakeholders or members of the public who are unable to participate in a meeting or other engagement mechanisms, and when written review and response may be a more effective means of providing and/or receiving input.
Webinars may be used periodically in the planning process to share information with bioregional and sub-regional stakeholders and local governments. Documents to support information being profiled in a webinar will be sent out in advance, when possible, and there will be time for participants to comment on content and provide input following the online meeting.
SeaSketch is a collaborative marine planning tool that allows users to view data layers and draft network design scenarios. Users will be able to adjust boundaries of candidate sistes based on their own knowledge of and interest in the planning area. Learn more about SeaSketch.
MPA Network of the Northern Shelf Bioregion is a collaborative partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of BC and many First Nations
Gitxaala Nation, Metlakatla First Nation, Gitga’at First Nation, Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Nuxalk First Nation, Wuikinuxv First Nation, Mamalilikulla Nation, Tlowitsis Nation, Da'naxda'xw Awetlala First Nation, Wei Wai Kum First Nation, and K'ómoks First Nation