Creating Safe Spaces

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

As announced on July 18, 2022, the Young Pipeliners Association of Canada (formally known as YPAC) has evolved into the Young Energy Infrastructure Professionals (YEIP)! It is a very exciting time to join the energy space as YEIP engages, identifies areas of improvement, provides practical guidance, and raises voices who may be missed during the excitement of energy transition. With the direction of Canada’s target goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and internal discussions of YEIP leadership, it was clear to develop a new Mission and Mandates to support the ongoing and growing topics of resource development within Canada.


  • Empowering young professionals to share a sustainable future with energy infrastructure


  • Increase the influence of young professionals in energy policy and industry leadership
  • Facilitate a platform for exchange and development of ideas
  • Advocate for effective energy infrastructure to accelerate a sustain energy future

The work continues to unfold in our new world; the past is an area we can not continue to suppress as the mental landscape shapes with key court case decisions in Canada. In June of 2021, the test of infringement of historical Treaty (signed in 1899) was in the hands of Madame Justice Burke, where the Supreme Court deemed the Province of BC was infringement of Treaty 8 Rights with Blueberry River First Nations. The Province of BC released a response from David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing on July 28, 2021: “After careful deliberation, the Province had decided not to appeal the court’s decision in Yahey v. British Columbia. The Court’s decision was clear that the Province must improve its assessment and management of the cumulative impact of industrial development on Blueberry River First Nations’ Treats Rights, and to ensure these constitutional rights are protected”. Acknowledgement, recognition are two words that come to mind when reviewing the 511-page conclusion – the Yahey decision was another validation and contributing factor to the new Mission and Mandate for YEIP.

Within YEIP, the team will continue to engage with educational institutes, advocate for young perspectives with resource developers and regulators, facilitate knowledge sharing from experienced professionals, and ground discussions through lived experiences with Indigenous and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) in Canada. YEIP will be a safe space through collaborative pathways for partners to enhance and reflect on lessons learned in an annual report called “What We Know” to demonstrate active listening and consideration with DEI and Indigenous Inclusion. Canada has been left behind in the world of innovation, but to be innovative there must be a safe space to truly be innovative, to test, trial, and rebuild phases. YEIP looks to support companies to provide current in-house policies to be reviewed and create Best Management Practices.

Here are some practical solutions you can create, maintain a healthy safe space ecosystem for Indigenous and DEI perspectives and voices:

  • When you share a post from a self-identified member (whether they are Indigenous or part of DEI), monitor and remove all the comments that impact the intent of the article. Highlight for the individual in private to reach out to the author and to engage in a meaningful discussion. It’s important to get feedback, but in a way that will be respectful on both sides.
  • Educate and create awareness within inner circles of the importance of the voices who have not been heard for the past 150+ years.
  • Look at in house policies within your organization and ask objectively – are they inclusive for a culturally safe environment?
  • Create a DEI and Indigenous Inclusion Committee to review your policies or better yet, ask the Young Energy Infrastructure Professionals to review your in-house policies to provide objective areas of enhancements, proactive solutions to demonstrate cultural safety for your organization.

This is the beginning. I vow to create all my social media pages a safe space for Indigenous and DEI perspectives to be shared and to use only the existing platforms who also share this value. Within the Young Energy Infrastructure Professionals, I welcome everyone who has lived experience and members who want to support the new organization changes, identify gaps of improvement, and create proactive solutions for our future in resource development in Canada. Join the YEIP team today, sign-up can be found here: 

With love,

Christa Wheat is Chair of Impact on Industry Committee and Indigenous Inclusion Committee at Young Energy Infrastructure Professionals (YEIP).

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