BC Hydro ranks first among utilities in aboriginal relations

The magazine’s inaugural Aboriginal Ranking of extractive companies awarded BC Hydro with first place in the utility category crediting its long-term vision and progressive approach to Aboriginal Relations.

BC Hydro was the first utility to seek progressive aboriginal relations status and earned a silver designation from the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses earlier this year.

“It is an honour to be recognized as a leader in Aboriginal Relations in our industry,” says Lyle Viereck, BC Hydro's Director of Aboriginal Relations and Negotiations. “Our long-term goal is to establish relationships with First Nations built on mutual respect and that appropriately reflect the interests of First Nations. It’s encouraging to hear that the steps we are taking are in the right direction towards achieving this goal.”

Corporate Knights overall ranking of utilities:

  1. BC Hydro and Power
  2. Hydro Quebec
  3. Transcanada Corporation
  4. Hydro One
  5. Enbridge Inc.
  6. Ontario Power Generation

This best-in-class ranking examined Canadian operations in the forestry, mining, oil and gas, and utility sectors. Rankings were developed based on: employment, environmental impact, community relations, business development, and governance. Only “operations with significant interaction with Aboriginal peoples and/or their land” were included.

With 40% of Canadian landmass owned or controlled by Aboriginal people, Corporate Knights views strong Aboriginal relations as a key to future success.

 “Responsible extraction is inextricably linked to responsible Aboriginal relations," the magazine wrote in its rankings report. "Living close to resources, Aboriginal communities often become stewards of impacted lands. As local residents, Aboriginal peoples have a vested interest in maintaining ecosystem services and pursuing a sustainable approach to extraction.”

The majority of BC Hydro’s assets are located on or near First Nations' land. More than 2,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution line is located on about 500 reserves belonging to 198 First Nations in B.C. These relationships are critical to BC Hydro achieving reliable power, at low cost, for generations.