Non-archaeologists can be involved in the archaeological assessment process and may therefore play a role in Aboriginal community engagement. This section provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of proponents, approval authorities and the Ministry in the archaeological assessment process.

4.1 Proponents

Proponents are your clients. They can be developers of land, resources or infrastructure and include private landowners, municipalities, other ministries and provincial agencies. Several provincial statutes, such as the Environmental Assessment Act and the Planning Act, may require a proponent to undertake an archaeological assessment to ensure that a development project will not impact archaeological sites. A proponent typically hires a licensed consultant archaeologist to undertake this work. The proponent is accountable to the approval authority and is responsible for ensuring that the development project proposal mitigates any impacts to archaeological sites identified through the archaeological assessment.

Often proponents engage with Aboriginal communities on the development project as a whole. In some cases, approval authorities require proponents to consult with Aboriginal communities to discuss the impact of the development project on Aboriginal rights. As noted, proponents may look for opportunities to harmonize their engagement or consultation on the development project as a whole with your engagement on the archaeological project. This may be more efficient for you, your client and the Aboriginal communities. However, the proponent’s engagement on the development project as a whole cannot replace engagement on archaeology. That requires your professional expertise and a different level of dialogue with Aboriginal communities.

4.2 Approval Authorities

Approval authorities include provincial ministries (such as the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Ministry of Natural Resources) and municipalities. Approval authorities have legislative authority to determine whether proposed development projects meet their requirements and can proceed. Archaeologists should also refer to the policies and procedures of relevant approval authorities. For example, archaeologists working on forestry projects on Crown lands should refer to the Ministry of Natural Resources' 2007 Forestry Management Guide for Cultural Heritage Values. Approval authorities typically await notification that the Ministry has accepted an archaeologist’s assessment report before they decide whether to grant approval for a development project and determine whether conditions should be placed on an approval.

4.3 The Ministry

The Ministry is responsible for licensing archaeologists to practise archaeology in Ontario and for establishing the terms and conditions that licensees must follow (including the Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists).

The ministry’s Archaeology Review Officers review archaeological assessment reports from consultant archaeologists to determine whether their work complies with the standards and guidelines. If your report meets the ministry’s expectations, the Archaeological Review Officer will issue a letter accepting the report to you, with copies to the proponent (your client) and the approval authority. The Archaeology Program Unit is available to assist you with your contacts with municipalities and other approval authorities.

The ministry recognizes that building new relationships with Aboriginal communities is an evolving process. Archaeology Review Officers are available to assist you with technical aspects of archaeology and wise practices for engagement.

The ministry will continue to engage Aboriginal communities, archaeologists and stakeholders on the guidance provided in this bulletin to ensure that it is current. The ministry will also engage Aboriginal communities on relevant policy initiatives related to heritage conservation and will make best efforts to avoid potential infringement on Aboriginal rights. The ministry is committed to building relationships and seeking opportunities for partnership and collaboration with Aboriginal communities, archaeologists and stakeholders.