Shareholders request that the Board of Directors provide a report to shareholders, within six months following the 2019 Annual General Meeting and annually thereafter, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary and confidential information, outlining how TransCanada respects internationally-recognized standards for Indigenous Peoples rights in its business activities. Such report should describe the company’s policies, practices and performance indicators related to respecting internationally-recognized standards for Indigenous Peoples’ rights in existing and proposed wholly-owned projects, joint ventures, investments and acquisitions. Internationally-recognized standards for Indigenous Peoples’ rights are the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and International Labour Organization Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO 169).
TransCanada shareholders require clear and comprehensive information about their company’s policies, practices and performance on Indigenous rights and relations in order to assess risk and stability, and analyse future performance.
UNDRIP sets out the internationally accepted minimum standard with respect to Indigenous Peoples’ rights including the right to free, prior, and informed consent before the approval of any projects affecting their lands or territories and resources. ILO 169 provides an international labour standard of similar effect and is a binding instrument of international law in countries where it has been ratified.
TransCanada’s approach to Indigenous relations varies across jurisdictions making it difficult for investors to understand whether, and to what extent, it aligns with international standards. In Canada TransCanada has an Aboriginal Peoples Policy, in the US it applies a Native American Policy, and in Mexico it has no clear policy.
In the countries where TransCanada operates, the risks to companies that fail to uphold Indigenous rights are well documented, including reputational damage, regulatory intervention, litigation, project delays and disruptions, shut downs and financial loss.
In Canada and the US failure to adequately address Indigenous rights and relations has contributed to the delay or cancellation of Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, Northern Gateway Pipeline, Dakota Access Pipeline, TransCanada Energy East Pipeline, and TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline among others. In Mexico Indigenous Peoples have raised concern that they will face displacement and impacts to their land and cultural rights due to development of TransCanada Tuxpan-Tula Pipeline.
Poor Indigenous rights practices may affect access to project finance. In response to the concerns about inadequate Indigenous rights protections in North America, the Equator Principles Association Banks have initiated a review of the application of the Equator Principles in designated countries and the approach to Indigenous Peoples rights in the Equator Principles. The outcome of this review could influence the availability of bank finance for future projects.
To avoid conflict, align with international legal principles, and meet societal, shareholder and lender expectations, companies need to integrate international standards of Indigenous Peoples rights into their policies, procedures and operations, and provide shareholders comprehensive disclosure on how this is being done.