Implementing Adaptive Phased Management 2024-28

Reconciliation and Indigenous Knowledge

The NWMO is committed to understanding, honouring and aligning with Indigenous Knowledge in our work. This commitment is reflected in many ways — through oversight by our Indigenous Relations team, advice from the NWMO’s Council of Elders and Youth, Indigenous representation in our organization (including in our executive team and Board of Directors), meaningful policies to guide our work, and regular engagement with First Nation and Métis communities. In all areas that we operate, this commitment is an essential part of doing good work and maintaining positive relations.

Over the next five years and into the future, the NWMO will continue to implement our Reconciliation Policy (2019), measure progress and align Indigenous Knowledge with our work. Measured annually and reported publicly, this work affirms our commitment to acting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action #92, which calls upon the corporate sector to build respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples and provide valuable learning opportunities for staff on the history of Indigenous peoples.


Reconciliation matters. For Canadians, it ensures that we learn from and address historic and ongoing wrongs, and that we work together to co-create a better future. The NWMO is committed to our Reconciliation journey. As we move forward, we ensure Reconciliation is considered in all our work.

Our Reconciliation Policy was released in 2019 as part of establishing a solid foundation for working with Indigenous peoples. In step with our policy, the NWMO continues to engage meaningfully with First Nation, Métis and municipal communities and organizations as we work together to implement Canada’s plan.

As the NWMO’s Reconciliation journey evolves, we will continue to plan strategically and thoughtfully to meet and exceed our commitments to co-creating a better future. In 2023, the NWMO created a three-year Reconciliation strategy (2024-26), focused on four key areas: learning, action, relationship and healing.

The NWMO works with Reciprocal Consulting — an Indigenous-owned firm specializing in Indigenous evaluation and monitoring — to publish our annual Reconciliation report. It evaluates the NWMO against the Reconciliation baseline to ensure we are meeting the commitments outlined in the Reconciliation Policy (2019). The Reconciliation baseline is used to evaluate our contributions to Reconciliation, identify gaps and determine how we should move forward as an organization. Measuring our progress helps instill Reconciliation as a core value, which is reflected in how we act as an organization.

We use our Reconciliation assessment tool to review key NWMO documents, including policies and engagement strategies. This tool is also used outside the organization. As an example, some of our partner universities apply this lens as they expand research programs related to our work.

Interactive learning sessions, group dialogue and experiential learning opportunities are just a few of the ways that the NWMO continues to support our collective Reconciliation journey.

We also provide employees with a Reconciliation tool kit that is designed to complement existing learning sessions and encourage staff to reflect on the impacts their contributions to Reconciliation will have on co-creating a better future for all.


  • Continued leveraging the Reconciliation assessment tool to review NWMO policies
  • Rolled out Reconciliation tool kit to complement existing learning sessions
  • Held the sixth annual Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science workshop
  • Released Water Statement


  • Enhanced Reconciliation Training Program to include learning specific to treaties and Métis peoples
  • Publicly released the first annual Reconciliation Report
  • Applied the Reconciliation assessment tool to governance as part of our Integrated Management System transformation
  • Expanded Reconciliation Training Program to communities and external partners


  • Continued to enhance Reconciliation Training Program to include unconscious bias training
  • Included Indigenous Knowledge in water protection plans
  • Applied the Reconciliation assessment tool to regional engagement strategies
  • Embedded Reconciliation within corporate culture


  • Enhanced policies and procedures to address Reconciliation
  • Enhanced procurement program to include an Indigenous strategy
  • Assessed corporate Reconciliation baseline and developed a Reconciliation measurement matrix


  • Published Reconciliation Policy
  • Developed and delivered Reconciliation Training Program
  • Developed a corporate Reconciliation baseline assessment tool
  • Enhanced sponsorships and donations program to include a focus on Reconciliation
  • Continued to communicate the NWMO’s Reconciliation program with communities involved in the site selection process
  • Began assessment of NWMO policies and procedures against Reconciliation assessment tool


  • 85 per cent of NWMO staff received cultural awareness training
  • Reconciliation Statement finalized through Indigenous ceremony

Indigenous Knowledge

The NWMO’s commitment to aligning with Indigenous Knowledge and the important teachings from Indigenous Knowledge Holders guide our work. These teachings include the role and significance of spirit and ceremony, understanding natural laws, respecting Mother Earth and creating space for Indigenous voices.

Internal workshop discussions explore the sacred relationship and stewardship role Indigenous Knowledge Holders have with water and the commonalities that exist within western science perspectives. Participants at these workshops include Indigenous Knowledge Holders, Elders, scientists, industry professionals and NWMO employees. Together, we explore how water is a life force that sustains us, flows between and within us, and shapes the land.

The NWMO respects the truth that Indigenous women have a sacred and spiritual relationship with water — birth waters, fresh waters, sky waters and ocean waters — and because of that special role, their voice is integral to any work related to water protection.

— NWMO Water Statement

Through collaboration with Indigenous Knowledge Holders, Elders, scientists, industry professionals, conservation authorities, youth and others, we continue to learn about water and can share our knowledge with one another and others around the world.

In the next five years, our commitment will endure, as we seek to align with Indigenous Knowledge in everything we do, creating space to learn from ceremony and applying pertinent learnings to how decisions are made at the NWMO.