The Evolving Duty to Consult and Obtain Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples for Extractive Projects in the United States and Canada

  • Cathal M. DoyleEmail author
Part of the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Rights book series (CHREN, volume 3)


The duty to consult with Indigenous peoples in the context of extractive or other development activities impacting on their rights and well-being is clearly established in Canadian and US law and policy, albeit differently in each jurisdiction. In both jurisdictions, however, ambiguity remains regarding the nature of this duty to consult, including the degree to which Indigenous peoples’ interests must be accommodated and the circumstances under which their consent may be required in the context of extractive industry projects. In order to fully appreciate the meaning and potential of this recent “support” for Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is therefore necessary to examine the legal frameworks governing Indigenous peoples’ consultation and consent rights in these jurisdictions.

This chapter will focus on the primary areas where guidance on the duty to consult emerges in the two jurisdictions. It first addresses the US legislative, regulatory and jurisprudential context and then examines Canadian statutory requirements, the Federal Government’s evolving position and the extensive body of Canadian jurisprudence on the topic. It offers a brief critique of the current situation with regard to the duty to consult in each jurisdiction and concludes by addressing their incongruities from an international human rights law (IHRL) perspective and the steps that should be taken to align these national historically based legal regimes and doctrines with contemporary IHRL standards pertaining to FPIC.



The author wishes to thank Stefan Disko, Carla Fredericks, James Jide, Paul Joffe, and the editors Markus Krajewski and Ricarda Rösch for their comments and input. Any errors or omissions that remain are the author’s sole responsibility.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex University School of LawLondonUK

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