The five-year Historic Master Consulting Agreement will see Ya’ thi Néné Lands and Resources (YNLR) as the initial point of engagement required for SaskPower projects in the Athabasca Basin. The work SaskPower typically undertakes in the north includes vegetation management, power line rebuilds, and licencing activities for northern hydroelectric facilities.

“We are pleased that SaskPower is taking steps to engage with northern residents respectfully and meaningfully on matters of mutual interest. This agreement demonstrates both parties’ willingness to consider each other’s knowledge, understanding and collaborative attitude in addressing SaskPower projects,” said Mary Denechezhe, Elder and YNLR Board Chair.

YNLR is a non-profit organization established by the seven Athabasca Basin communities (Hatchet Lake Denesułiné First Nation, Black Lake Denesułiné First Nation, Fond du Lac Denesułiné First Nation and the municipalities of Stony Rapids, Uranium City, Wollaston Lake, and Camsell Portage).

“This agreement is the first of its kind for SaskPower and is rooted in our commitment to Indigenous reconciliation, engagement, and consultation,” said Rupen Pandya, SaskPower President, and CEO. “Ya’ thi Néné brings an awareness and perspective that will facilitate deeper and more meaningful conversations with communities in the North.”

“It’s going to benefit us hugely because it allows for one point of contact, so it streamlines the consultation and engagement process with SaskPower, and it really helps us gather input from the rights holders early on in the process,” said Manager of Indigenous Relations at SaskPower Mike Rogers.

Streamlining the consultation process includes things like permit approvals, environmental impact assessments and even traditional land use studies.

YNLR works to protect the best interests of the people and land and will serve as the initial point of contact for Duty to Consult and engagement activities.

(Photo courtesy of Ya’ thi Néné Lands and Resources website.)