Shared Path works towards a future in which Indigenous voices and rights form a sustained and integral part of how we share land, particularly with respect to land use planning law, policy, and governance in Ontario.



Shared Path facilitates and supports a community of practice drawn from Indigenous and local governments, institutions, and organizations to navigate the challenges of an emerging reconciliation landscape through research, education, and relationship-building opportunities and resources. We believe that in order to flourish alongside each other, the path forward requires that we acknowledge our past, inform our present, and aspire towards a future in which we plan together for the benefit of all.



The Report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) represents a watershed moment for Canadian society. While it built on the work of past efforts, for instance the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP, 1996), the TRC Report seems to have caused a shift in awareness across many sectors, and precipitated a nation-wide discourse, alongside increasing public awareness of the history of “Indian” residential schools and colonialism more broadly. There are many reasons why the Shared Path work is critical now; however, we look in particular to three of the TRC Calls to Action as the basis for our mandate: 

Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation: Call to Action #47

We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts. 

Professional Training and Development for Public Servants: Call to Action #57

We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.  

Business and Reconciliation: Call to Action #92

We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:

I. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects. 

III. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

In response to the TRC Calls to Action 47, 57, and 92, Shared Path works to provide support for local levels of government (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous), as well as land-based professionals to better engage in consultation and relationship-building efforts by way of providing online educational and awareness-building resources, creating opportunities for bridge-building, and urging legislative reform to provide greater clarity in these processes.


Further Context:

A body of historic law surrounding the Nation-to-Nation relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Crown, embodied in agreements such as the Two-Row Wampum and Dish with One Spoon, obligate municipalities and provide foundations for land use planning. According to section 4.3 of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), 2014, municipalities are legally obligated to ensure that official planning policies are consistent with existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights affirmed in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

The PPS recognizes that planning authorities should consult with Aboriginal communities on the preservation of cultural and archaeological heritage, when rights might be affected, and on matters of mutual interest. Indigenous communities are looking to better navigate and inform these processes and engage in proactive relationship-building with local governments. Communication and capacity issues, as well as reticence on the part of some municipalities to engage in such challenging work, have proven to be obstacles to reconciliation. Shared Path believes it is vital to bridge legal and knowledge gaps for both land-based practitioners and leadership so Aboriginal and treaty rights can be acknowledged and addressed within planning processes. Shared Path is acting as a catalyst to grow trust between Indigenous community members and leadership, planners, municipal staff, and other practitioners, by opening channels for dialogue and supporting Indigenous community participation in planning processes in meaningful ways.


  • Mutually beneficial collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities
  • Relationship-building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments & institutions
  • Promotion of the Consultation and Accommodation process by virtue of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982
  • Ethical sharing of the land with an appreciation for cultural values
  • A commitment to mutual learning and understanding
  • Respect and appreciation for different ways of knowing, worldviews and epistemologies


SHARED PATH CONSULTATION INITIATIVE (Shared Path) stems from many conversations between Indigenous consultation staff, municipal planners, environmental lawyers, archaeologists and other stakeholders. It began with the idea of creating an online resource, a clearing house, which would provide useful tools for all those participating in the consultation process.

Under the name of the Aboriginal Consultation Initiative, Carolyn King and Clara MacCallum Fraser developed a two-year exploratory partnership with the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation (MNCFN). This initial research was supported in its first year with seed funding from Archaeological & Cultural Heritage Services (ASI), as well as the McLean Foundation.

Shared Path in its current form, began to truly take form during a year of collaboration with the Negotiating Justice Research Group, funded by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. This collaboration culmination in a two-day roundtable gathering (link) bringing together experts from throughout Ontario, to discuss Duty to Consult & Planning in Ontario – examining the context today, for a just tomorrow. Hosted and supported by the Ontario University Institute of Technology, it was from this collaborative meeting that the name Shared Path Consultation Initiative, vision, and goals were formed.

The name “Shared Path Consultation Initiative” reflects the collaborative nature of this innovative group. “Shared Path” signifies our acknowledgement of the varied pathways to knowing and acting, our belief in the importance of treaties (especially, Indigenous wampum belts symbolising friendship and ethical sharing of land), and our commitment to hold up Indigenous values and epistemologies as vital to making meaningful change in a good way. “Consultation” signifies our focus on emerging processes of consultation and accommodation. “Initiative” signifies our efforts to “take the initiative” and find innovative ways to address gaps within planning practice and education.

Shared Path is a registered charitable organisation (70971 6898 RR0001). We have received grants and donations from a variety of organisations and people over the years, as well as each member donating significant amounts of their time.

Organisations that have provided grants:   Archaeological Services Inc. (ASI) The McLean Foundation  The Law Foundation of Ontario  The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology  in collaboration with the Negotiating Justice Research Group), and most recently, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

Individuals who have provided significant donations ($1000+):   Ronald F. Williamson, Deborah Steiss, Peter Carruthers, Andrew Stewart


Carolyn King

Board of Directors, Chair

Carolyn King is the Chair and co-Founder of the Shared Path Consultation Initiative. She is the first woman to have been elected as Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN) (December 1997 to December 1999). She has over 25 years of work experience in the field of First Nations community development, and extensive experience in public relations, economic development, the development of environmental planning policies and procedures, and establishing community radio. She is a Board member on numerous local community-based organizations and has served in municipal, regional, and national levels. She has been given numerous awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) in recognition of her support for First Nation history and the advancement of Aboriginal Peoples.

Clara MacCallum Fraser

Executive Director

Clara MacCallum Fraser is the Executive Director and co-Founder of the Shared Path Consultation Initiative. She holds a BA in Political Science & Arabic Studies from Concordia University, a Masters in Urban Planning from Ryerson University. She is currently conducting a CGS-SSHRC funded Doctorate in Environmental Studies at York University. The focus of her research is on the intersection of land use planning and Aboriginal & Treaty rights. With the Shared Path, Fraser is a 2017-2018 Partner at the City Institute at York (CITY).

Ron Williamson

Board of Directors, Vice Chair

Ronald F. Williamson is founder of Archaeological Services Inc., a cultural resource management firm based in Toronto, Ontario. He holds an Honours BA from the University of Western Ontario and MA and PhD from McGill University, all in Anthropology. He is also an Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty at the University of Toronto (Anthropology) and at Western University (Anthropology) in London and Chair, Board of Directors at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology at Western University, London. He has published extensively on both Indigenous and early colonial Great Lakes history.

Fred McGarry

Board of Directors, Secretary

Fred McGarry is an entrepreneur in land use planning and development who has participated in the design of and community engagement with evolving technologies for collaborative spatial systems. He is a founding partner responsible for application systems design, development and marketing of the Web Informatics Development Environment (WIDE) software applications and founder of the Centre for Community Mapping, a software research corporation which investigates the adequacy of WIDE architecture, meta-models and technologies by designing, building, serving and maintaining operational applications for a broad client base. Fred began his work with Dr. Don Cowan and the University of Waterloo Computer Systems Group in 1992. Before 1992, Fred had 20 years experience in the real estate development industry working for corporate developers such as Markborough Properties Limited and independently as a realtor and project management consultant. Fred will participate in Civic Atlas Corp., a 2019 WIDE spin-off company, as Senior Vice-President Business Development.

Debbie Steiss

Board of Directors, Treasurer

Debbie received her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology (1975) and her Master of Arts in Anthropology (1979) from the University of Toronto. She also enrolled, in 1977, in the Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh, before returning to the University of Toronto to complete her graduate studies. As a former Partner and Senior Archaeologist at Archaeological Services Inc. from 1983 to 2016 (Partner 2002-2016), Debbie was responsible for the supervision of dozens of archaeological surveys and excavations, and she is an experienced lithic analyst. She participated in many of the company’s major assessments and excavations over the last 35 years and served as a Field Director for various surveys within the Greater Toronto Area. Debbie was appointed to the Board of the Ontario Archaeological Society in 2015 and has served since then as Treasurer of the Society (her term expires in 2020).

Heather Dorries

Board of Directors

Heather Dorries is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning and Centre for Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto. She obtained her MScPl and PhD in Urban Planning at the University of Toronto, and worked for the City of Toronto before beginning her academic career. She has extensive experience in the realm of urban and environmental planning. Her research focuses on Indigenous planning and life in the urban context. These are themes she explores in her forthcoming edited collected Settler City Limits: Indigenous Resurgence and Settler Colonial Violence in the Urban Prairie West (University of Manitoba Press), and her book Planning the End of the World: Indigenous Planning Theory and the Art of Refusal (under contract with the University of Toronto Press). Heather is Anishinaabe and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Dean Jacobs

Board of Directors

Dean Jacobs is the Consultation Manager for Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN). He currently specializes in Impacts and Benefits Agreement negotiations. For the past 45 years he has been the driving force behind WIFN’s internationally acclaimed community-based research program called Nin.Da.Waab.Jig. He is a member of the University of Windsor’s Board of Governors. Dean also is a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation which came into force at the same time as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Dean also serves on the Advisory Council of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Dean is a former Chief of the WIFN and the founding Director of the Walpole Island Heritage Centre. He is the recipient of two eagle feathers and three honorary doctorate degrees.

Thomas Milne

Board of Directors

Thomas Milne has experience in the area of business/corporate, tax, civil law, and appellate advocacy. Tom has appeared as counsel in a coroner’s inquest and assisted in the child welfare funding case on behalf of one of the co-complainants at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Tom also has experience in Indian Residential School individual settlements. Tom received his Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Criminology & Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Law from Carleton University in 2007 and his Juris Doctor from the University of British Columbia in 2011. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2014. Tom volunteers his time as Program Coordinator for Level’s (formerly Canadian Lawyers Abroad) “Dare to Dream” program at Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School. Dare to Dream is a justice education and youth outreach program introducing First Nations students to law as a career. He is also a member of the Indigenous Bar Association, The Advocate’s Society, The Young Advocates Standing Committee, and the Simcoe County Law Association. Tom is Anishinabe of mixed descent and a member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. He and his wife Bethany are both from Manitoulin Island (Mnidoo Mnising) and enjoy camping and exploring the outdoors in their spare time. He has a son named George.

David Stinson

Board of Directors

David is a Registered Professional Planner and a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners’ Indigenous Community Planning Committee, with expertise in rural development and land use policy. He has worked in the public, NGO, and private sectors. This included the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority, the Kent County Planning Department, a professor at the Orillia campus of Laurentian University, and 7 years as the Community Planning Advisor for the Ogemawahj Tribal Council. He has provided research and analysis on community economics, land development, and environmental planning, and is now a partner at Incite Planning. Recently, he has been appointed to the Lake Simcoe Co-ordinating Committee and serves on the Board of the Shared Path Consultation Initiative

Leigh Whyte

Board of Directors

Leigh has over twenty years of experience as a Senior Planner and Project Manager performing urban and environmental planning for numerous Indigenous, public, and private clients. His responsibilities have included numerous applications for rezoning and official plan amendments for land development projects, presentations and preparation of public outreach approaches, power sector consulting, GIS project management, municipal ordinance preparation, comprehensive planning, industrial site development, environmental impact statement (EIS) preparation and review, Aboriginal engagement and consultation, and preparation of various environmental reports for submittal to all levels of government in Canada and the U.S. Leigh is an associate of the firm and a member of the Red Sky Métis Independent Nation. In addition to managing Quartek’s Planning Department, he is focusing on development applications in southern Ontario and policy planning work in northern communities.