Environmental Protection at Canada Energy Regulator in Vancouver, BC
As a Summer Student with the Canada Energy Regulator (née. National Energy Board), I was brought on with Environmental Protection (EP) as part of team supporting the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees for the Trans Mountain Pipeline (IAMC-TMX).The inclusion of forestry into energy regulation is relatively new, and in part has been due to the frequency of chance archaeological finds, such as traditional land use sites and culturally modified trees (CMT), in British Columbia. Because of this, my role within the CER was flexible and grew with me over the summer. Some of the projects I worked on included designing a manual for recommended Indigenous Monitor training that has been distributed to community employers on Trans Mountain and Enbridge oversite, as well as giving presentations to EP inspectors touching on the diversity of CMTs and the incredible stewardship agreements for large cultural cedars on Vancouver Island.
I spent a lot of time digging into the nitty-gritty of tracking compliance verification activities, where I was given the green light to overhaul the spreadsheets for CER IAMC-TMX activity reports. Since I am also very interested in the accessibility of information, I became involved in the discussions regarding implementation of new internal tracking features, as well as external portals for Indigenous Monitors to contribute and comment directly on the CER inspections they attend. Moving forward, I am excited to learn the ins-and-outs of Tableau, a visual analytics software where the current activity tracking will eventually be moved.
Part way through my work term, I was approached to do an interview for an internal feature article regarding the weekly wildfire report I was producing. The report provided inspectors with safety information and wildfire resources from British Columbia to Quebec. It was a surprise and an honour to be featured, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support I received from the EP team, or without the mentorship and experiences I had gained while working with Dr. Lori Daniels in the Tree Ring Lab. You can read the article here!
It has been an incredible experience working here, as this has been the first time I personally witnessed meaningful Indigenous consultation being done in Canada, which was made possible through the CER’s co-development of the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees with Indigenous nations and other federal agencies. While there is still a long way to go on this path to reconciliation, I hope to stick around and contribute to this new way forward so that we can build a foundation of transparency and respect that we, as Canadians, can be proud of.
This wraps up my final co-op term with the UBC Forestry Co-op program, but I hope to return to the CER’s Environmental Protection unit next year for another summer term to gain field experience that was not possible this year due to COVID-19. After graduation, I hope to continue towards a career in environmental protection and Indigenous engagement within the federal government. If you are interested in working for the Government of Canada, you can apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) ongoing student recruitment inventory, which includes opportunities for Indigenous students, and for students with disabilities. Additionally, students can apply to the Research Affiliate Program or to Co-op/Internship Programs!