Community Engagement in Environmental Assessment for Resource Development: Benefits, Emerging Concerns, Opportunities for Improvement


  • Aniekan Udofia University of Saskatchewan
  • Bram Noble University of Saskatchewan
  • Greg Poelzer University of Saskatchewan


This paper discusses contemporary issues surrounding the efficiency of environmental assessment (EA) and the effectiveness of community engagement with focus on Canadian practice in the last two decades. Based on a review of the EA literature, we provide a brief overview of the benefits of effective engagement in EA processes. We then identify and discuss three enduring challenges to effective engagement amidst increasing pressures for a more efficient EA process, namely capacity, streamlining of EA processes, and the timing of EA and engagement in the resource development process. The paper concludes with key recommendations to ensure community engagement as a platform for enhancing increased inclusivity in environmental decision making. The paper is part of a special collection of brief discussion papers presented at the 2014 Walleye Seminar held in Northern Saskatchewan, which explored consultation and engagement with northern communities and stakeholders in resource development.

Author Biographies

Aniekan Udofia, University of Saskatchewan

PhD Candidate

Bram Noble, University of Saskatchewan

Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability

Greg Poelzer, University of Saskatchewan

Executive Chair, International Centre for Northern Governance and Development; Associate Professor, Political Studies






Consultation and Resource Development in Northern Communities: Russia, Scandinavia & Canada