Award category: Visual Engagement Award, IAP2 Canada Core Values Awards 2022
Source: Marten Falls First Nation Community Access Road
Recipient: AECOM Canada Ltd.
Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN) is a remote First Nation community in northern Ontario, located at the junction of the Albany and Ogoki rivers and about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. MFFN has a winter access road but it isn’t reliable and makes transportation of goods and people difficult. The proposed all-season road will connect the community to Ontario’s provincial highway network in the south, providing year-round access to this remote First Nations community and helping foster economic development and improved quality of life for community members.
MFFN has started an Environmental Assessment and Impact Assessment for the proposed Community Access Road. These environmental processes will determine the preferred route and identify how the proposed Community Access Road may affect the social, cultural, economic, built and natural environments. To identify the route the road will follow and to understand how best to avoid and/ or minimize Project effects, data is collected, studies are conducted, and people are consulted. This includes consultation with 23 Indigenous communities, Tribal Councils, and Provincial and Territorial Organizations, in addition to the public, government agencies and interested persons.
This project summary outlines the visual tools and informational methods used to engage community members and other stakeholders in the project.
The overall project branding stems from the development of the “benefits tree”, as envisioned by the MFFN Chief. The illustration highlights the positive impacts on the community represented in the form of a growing tree; it depicts the long-term growth and benefit afforded by the all-season access road. The tree illustration was one of the first items designed and set the tone for the overall design of the remaining project materials.
A custom footer design was also developed using six icons, each representing important values to the MFFN community and key areas that will be studied during the environmental processes, including vegetation, water and forests, moose, fish, birds, and activities on the land.
Lastly, the primary branding colours are drawn from the MFFN logo, reflecting the community’s chosen tone and feel.
Monthly electronic news blasts are distributed to highlight current and upcoming activities, including a look ahead at Field Study programs, and links to discussion guides, videos, and how to participate in the Indigenous Knowledge Program.
Fact sheets provide plain language explanations about the Community Access Road and key Project milestones, like the Terms of Reference phase of the Environmental Assessment. Fact sheets are translated to Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree; ensuring that community members have equal access to the information regardless of the language they speak.
Additional informational tactics included job advertisements to hire Field Study Support Staff, field notices, a conference banner and social media posts.
Two Public Information Centres have been held in Thunder Bay and surrounding municipalities; each was an opportunity to discuss the Community Access Road and obtain input from interested persons. Interactive display boards, surveys and maps - requesting specific feedback - were created, including an empty-tree illustration where MFFN community members could add benefits and voice their concerns about the proposed access road.
Discussion Guides are an opportunity to share about upcoming programs and encourage feedback on key questions, enabling people to help shape programs (like field studies) before they are conducted. Sample Discussion Guide.
The website was developed with consideration for users that live in remote areas with bandwidth limitations; the information displayed is organized to meet the audience’s needs and limitations with data/ engagement methods. The site provides ongoing access to information including planned consultation and engagement activities, and serves as a method to receive feedback and comments.
Videos are created to explain topics being studied for the Community Access Road, including the “how and why”. The value of Indigenous Knowledge, to inform Western science, is a key theme. The website showcases videos in a Netflix-style layout so that people can pick the topic that interests them most, once they watch the video, they can review the Discussion Guide and fill out a survey to provide feedback.
For the Environmental Assessment, a Terms of Reference was developed. As this was issued at the height of COVID-19, a special webpage was developed along with high-level explainer videos, transcripts (English and Oji-Cree), fact sheets and download links to the report, split into smaller sizes, to make it more accessible to people with low internet bandwidth.
Colouring pages were designed for youth engagement and for use at in-person consultation events. Illustrations of animals and landscapes were developed to reflect the Project, the community values and the species that were part of the field studies.
In-person engagement programs are ongoing to increase participation and provide financial capacity for Indigenous communities. These include an Indigenous Knowledge Program, a Community Coordinator Program, and a Youth Engagement Program for MFFN members.
Plain language guides, Indigenous community meetings (with live translation to languages requested by communities), Chief and Council meetings and government agency meetings also took place. Visual components were considered for live meetings, including looped videos.
‘What we heard’ graphics are shared at public meetings showing feedback received and how it was considered from previous meetings. Meeting summaries are developed after every meeting with Indigenous communities. Detailed Record of Consultation reports are also created and include key issues and response tables, showing how feedback has been considered in the environmental assessment processes. All reports that track Indigenous community feedback are sent back to the communities to receive their comments and verification before publicly posting them.
Learn more about the Marten Falls First Nation Community Access Road project.
View all 2022 Core Values Award winners.
Subscribe Today For News & Updates
Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest updates from IAP2 Canada.
Subscribe For Updates