Broadband Fund
Community consultation process and Aboriginal and treaty rights

The Broadband Fund’s third call for applications places more emphasis on community consultation than the other two calls. To be eligible for funding under the Community consultation (1-P3) eligibility criterion, applicants must consult or attempt to consult with all communities affected by a proposed project. Consultations can be direct or through community representatives. For example, in the case of Indigenous communities, they can be at the band council or Indigenous government level.

Note: The content of this page applies only to the Broadband Fund’s third call for applications.

Identify communities affected by a proposed project through the map

The Map of Communities and OLMCs is an interactive CartoVista map that enables applicants to identify all communities in the area affected by a proposed project and identify any official language minority communities (OLMCs).

These communities were taken from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s geolocated place names web page and from Canadian Heritage’s official language minority community data.

Note: The Map of Communities and OLMCs provides a list of all communities in Canada and does NOT provide a list of eligible areas for the various eligible project types. To determine which areas are eligible for funding, applicants must consult the Call 3 Eligibility Map.

Meet Call 3 eligibility and assessment criteria through the consultation process

Applicants should note that the Community consultation (1-P3) eligibility criterion focuses on demonstrating that community consultation has been undertaken or attempted. The quality and outcome of the consultations and the involvement of the community will be considered as part of the CRTC’s assessment of the Community consultation and level of involvement (2-P4) assessment criterion. Applicants should consult the Application Guide for complete instructions related to community consultation for this call.

How to consult with affected communities

  • Consult the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights Information System (ATRIS) to identify whether the proposed project presents a risk of adversely affecting any established or asserted Aboriginal or treaty rights.

    Consultation with Indigenous communities

    ATRIS is a web-based information system intended to map out the location of Indigenous communities and display information pertaining to their potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. ATRIS provides a thorough User Guide through its “Help” function.

    If a proposed project presents a risk of an adverse impact to an established or asserted Aboriginal or treaty right, a constitutional duty to consult and accommodate may arise. Other obligations to consult with Indigenous people may arise by statute or pursuant to a treaty. Applicants must indicate whether their proposed project will adversely impact any established or asserted Aboriginal or treaty rights. An adverse impact may be triggered by a project being built on land subject to an asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty right. Applicants must conduct all necessary consultations and demonstrate how they will address any potential adverse impacts.

    Where a duty to consult has arisen, any consultations related to an identified established or asserted Aboriginal or treaty right that may be affected by a proposed project must be fulfilled to the Crown’s satisfaction prior to the CRTC’s approval of the Statement of Work.

    Even if the constitutional duty to consult does not arise, the CRTC considers it to be consistent with its commitment to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada for applicants to demonstrate meaningful engagement with potentially affected Indigenous communities and/or groups.

    Such consultation must, at the very least, include notification to the community of the proposed project and an invitation for the community to communicate any comments or concerns it may have to the applicant and the CRTC.

  • Provide evidence of support from each community affected by a proposed project.

    Community support may be demonstrated through, for example,

    • letters of support from community representatives;
    • a resolution from a local governing body, for example, a municipal resolution or a band council resolution;
    • evidence of a community benefit agreement;
    • the use of local companies during project implementation;
    • an agreement to train community residents; and/or
    • investment (financial or otherwise) by the community in the project.
  • Work collaboratively with affected communities to identify potential community benefits that go beyond the provision of broadband Internet access services.

    Meaningful consultation entails approaching communities early, openly, and respectfully. Communities must have the opportunity to communicate specific priorities and identify any concerns associated with the project.

    Consultation may be carried out through, for example,

    • a telephone call;
    • a virtual meeting;
    • an in-person meeting;
    • a notification letter; and/or
    • a presentation made to community representatives.

    Once applicants have identified which communities will be affected by a proposed project, they must consult them about project details and provide each community with the opportunity to discuss the project.

  • Complete and provide the following documents:

    • community consultation template letters (provided on the “About this Call for Applications” page of the Broadband Fund Application Form): Applicants are not required to use these template letters; however, the basic information set out therein, which includes the contact information for the CRTC, should be included in any initial notification letter to affected communities.
    • the List of affected communities, which is provided on the “About this Call for Applications” page of the Broadband Fund Application Form.

The List of Affected Communities is a spreadsheet that the applicant must provide in its application package. In it, applicants must list every community affected by the proposed project and provide (a) additional demographic details of each community, and (b) a broad overview of consultation efforts with each community.

In addition, applicants must provide (a) copies of all notification letters sent to affected communities and/or groups, demonstrating that each community has had a meaningful opportunity to discuss the project with the applicant, and (b) responses received or any evidence demonstrating meaningful engagement or consultation with affected communities and/or groups, particularly with affected Indigenous communities and/or groups.

Filing additional consultation documents after the application deadline has passed

Applicants’ involvement

New to this call for applications, applicants can file evidence of community consultation confidentially with the CRTC after the application deadline has passed. They must use the Broadband Fund email address provided in the community consultation template letters. Such evidence can include the following:

  • letters of community support;
  • letters identifying a risk of a potential adverse impact on an Aboriginal or treaty right;
  • changes to the proposed project that are directly related to ongoing consultation with affected communities, which will be considered under the Community consultation and level of involvement (2-P4) assessment criterion.

This process is intended to accommodate the reality that consultation with affected communities and/or groups is a lengthy process that can be subject to time and resource constraints for the applicant and affected communities and/or groups.

Applicants must, however, provide sufficient evidence of community consultation at the time of the application deadline to meet the Community consultation (1‑P3) eligibility criterion. Evidence filed after the application deadline has passed will be considered as part of the assessment of the quality of consultation and level of involvement under the Community consultation and level of involvement (2‑P4) assessment criterion.

Affected communities’ involvement

Communities and representatives of communities affected by a proposed project can also contact the CRTC directly on a confidential basis to provide feedback, provide support, or discuss any potentially adverse impacts of a proposed project.

In order to facilitate this, when an applicant initially notifies communities affected by a proposed project, it should provide those communities with (a) the Broadband Fund “Contact Us” link, and (b) the mailing address of the CRTC, both of which are provided in the community consultation template letters.

The CRTC will add any additional evidence of community consultation received to the relevant application and will notify the applicant when any new evidence is received, although affected communities should notify the applicant when sending any evidence directly to the CRTC.

The You Asked Us page addresses questions on community consultation, among other topics.

Questions? We have answers!

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