Indigenous Peoples' Rights

For FSC, diversity is a key cornerstone to ensure equality in our certification scheme and in our organization. This includes workers’ rights, Indigenous Peoples' rights, local community engagement, and gender equity.

There are 1.67 million people in Canada that identify as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit belonging to over 600 different groups or communities. Indigenous Peoples usually have (or had) their own language, cultures, and traditions, influenced by their ancestral homelands. Many of these Indigenous Peoples live and work in forests, or on the surrounding land – and that is really important to FSC.

Indigenous person
Melody Charlie

FSC & Indigenous Peoples' Rights

FSC actively supports the rights of Indigenous Peoples and prioritizes these rights in Principle 3 of our guiding Principles and Criteria (FSC P&C).

Principle 3 of FSC Canada’s national forest management standard addresses the need for Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) rooted in equality and mutual respect, and with the goal of yielding tangible benefits to Indigenous Peoples affected by forestry activities within their traditional territories.

FPIC gives the community the right to give or withhold its consent to proposals that may affect the lands it customarily owns, occupies, or otherwise uses - in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), and the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169.

In addition, FSC Canada responded to the recommendations provided by Indigenous members and established a unique fourth “chamber” for Indigenous Peoples in 1993, adding to its existing social, environmental, and economic chambers.

Valerie Courtois

“FSC has brought Indigenous rights and titles to the forefront of forestry practice.”
Valérie Courtois, Director at the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, member of the Executive Director at Indigenous Leadership Initiative, member of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh, Registered Professional Forester (RPF)

Peggy Smith

“I support FSC because their national standard helps forest managers build purposeful, respectful long-term relationships with First Nations.”
Dr M.A. (Peggy) Smith RFP, Miskwaanakwadook—Red Cloud Woman, Professor Emerita, Lakehead University, Faculty of Natural Resources Management

David Flood

“The national standard represents a full step forward for Indigenous communities because we can't wait decades more for fundamental change.” 
David Flood, Wahkohtowin Development, member of the Matachewan First Nation in Ontario.


FPIC Learning Videos

FPIC Application in FSC Canada's National Forest Stewardship Standard

Examine the connections between FPIC and Principle 3, as well as other requirements of the National Forest Stewardship Standard.

FPIC Guidance for Organizations
PDF, Size: 916.15KB

FPIC Guidance Document

To improve the way Certificate Holders address the requirement of recognizing and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples in relation to the Canadian National Forest Management Standard, FSC Canada developed the following FPIC Guidance Document.