This is a very important point. Indigenous traditional knowledge is already used by Parks Canada, by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, as well as by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
However, I do believe we can do better. In fact, when I was speaking with the AFN's ACE committee, one of the elders there invited me to work with the elders to develop better guidelines when it comes to indigenous traditional knowledge. This was a commitment. For example, when we released our interim principles on environmental assessments, we said we needed to be incorporating indigenous traditional knowledge. It's not just a “nice to have”. We need to be using it. We need to be understanding this knowledge, and we need to be working with indigenous peoples.
It is a challenging area in some ways in that different communities have different approaches to indigenous traditional knowledge and I think you need to be respectful of that.
There are other issues in relation to intellectual property, so I think that having a comprehensive approach—not just for my ministry but for all ministries—when it comes to how we work with indigenous traditional knowledge and incorporate it in a respectful way is going to be very important.