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Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board (GIAB) terms of reference

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1. Mandate

The Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board (GIAB) is the multi-interest forum for providing advice to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) on management and policy issues relating to the groundfish fisheries in the Pacific Region. The GIAB addresses issues that affect multiple interests and is not intended to interfere with operational matters within any specific interest group. The Advisory Board's advice will be forwarded to the Department for consideration by the Minister.

The GIAB provides advice on:

2. Guiding Principles

The following principles will be used to guide decisions on how this Advisory Board is structured and operates:

Respect for Process:

All participants will respect the process established for the role and conduct of advisory structures in general and this Advisory Board in particular. The GIAB is not intended to duplicate, supplant or interfere with other consultation processes within Fisheries and Oceans Canada or fisheries related processes associated with domestic or international treaty agreements. The Department should refer stakeholders and other outside parties who offer unsolicited recommendations and advice outside of the established process to the appropriate advisory body contact. The Department will also inform the GIAB of any solicited advice it receives and the appropriate GIAB members of any unsolicited advice it receives.


There should be transparency throughout the process based on open lines of communication and the provision of timely, accurate, accessible, clear and objective information by both the Department and the participants. This information should be available to all participants in the process on an equal basis. Organizers should provide access to agendas and information needed as a starting point for informed discussion well in advance of meetings. In addition, this information will be posted to a public website to ensure accountability to all Canadians.


Participants who are representatives of a constituency are expected to bring to the discussions the general views, knowledge and experience of those they represent, and bring back an awareness and understanding to their constituencies about deliberations of the consultation activity and reasons for decisions taken. All participants share accountability for the success of the process. The Department is accountable to participants for explaining how their advice/input was used and why and how decisions are taken.

Broad Representation:

Representation on the Advisory Board should relate to the mandate and function of the committee. Participation in advisory processes should reflect a broad range of interests in fisheries and oceans issues in the Pacific Region, to the extent possible, so that a diversity of perspectives is involved.


All participants should be satisfied that the process can achieve the goals of the mandate. This does not mean that participants will always agree with the final advice, outcome or recommendation. Processes must be cost-effective, and set and respect realistic timeframes.


The size of the Advisory Board must be kept to a number that facilitates consensus-based discussion. Wherever possible, links to other Departmental consultative processes will be made to realize efficiencies in consultation.

Respectful Participation:

Participation in advisory committee processes involves responsibilities. Members participate in good faith. Members of the Advisory Board will establish an operating environment that promotes and supports civil and productive discussions.

3. Organizational Structure

In order for the Board to provide effective advice in a timely manner to the Department, representation from each interest will need to be limited. While broader participation can continue to take place through advisory committees in distinct fisheries this Advisory Board should be kept to a manageable size. It is the intention of the GIAB to revisit the number of members following the first year of operation to ensure the size is appropriate for carrying out the mandate of the Board.

The Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board structure(s) will be inclusive of the following interests:


Participant Observers:


Each of the interests noted above will be represented by:

Participation by the federal and provincial government as participant observers will be determined on an as needed basis.


Each of the participating organizations will identify alternate members as indicated above. The alternate member will attend the first meeting of the Advisory Board along with the members, and thereafter they may attend as observers. It will be the responsibility of the member that is unable to attend to ensure that the alternate member is briefed on the issues to be discussed at the meeting to be attended.

Selection of Members and Alternates

The nomination of members and alternates for each of the designated interests will be as follows:

The identification of Participant Observers will be as follows:

Term of Members

Each member and alternate member will serve at the pleasure of the nominating 'host organization.'

Each interest will set the length of membership for its members and alternate members, provided that the Board as a while will revisit the issue of length of membership as part of the review of the terms of reference at the completion of every two years.

Ad-Hoc Working Groups

The Advisory Board may convene ad-hoc working groups comprised of members, alternate members and other perspectives it determines may be required. In all circumstances where the GIAB agrees that an Ad-hoc working group is to be instituted the Advisory Board will develop written terms of reference, including a timeline for the Ad-hoc working group that details the task to be undertaken and reporting requirements. Ad-hoc working groups will report only to the Advisory Board.

If, the GIAB agrees that an ad hoc working group is to be instituted, the advisory board will develop written terms of reference, including a timeline for the working group that details the task to be undertaken and reporting requirement.

Selection of the Independent Chair

The GIAB will be chaired by an independent person that has the capacity and skills to act as a process chair. This person will not be required to fulfill another function simultaneously. The chair could be a DFO representative, a member of the GIAB2, or an external individual.

The Independent Chair will be selected before the first meeting of the Advisory Board by an Ad-hoc Working Group comprised of one member for each interest/participant observer. The Independent Chair will be acceptable to all the interests on the Board.

Roles and Responsibilities

4. Procedures

The following procedures will assist the Advisory Board in the conduct of its activities and the provision of advice to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region.

Consensus-based Advice

The Advisory Board will strive to develop consensus-based advice on the issues it discusses. Consensus is a process for making decisions, in this case, decisions on what advice to put forward, without the requirement that formal votes be taken. Its main feature is that no common position is claimed unless all members of the group can support the action, or agree not to obstruct it. Consensus does not require that everyone be in complete agreement, but only that all will be willing to accept - consent to - a decision. In reaching a decision no one should feel that her/his position on the matter was misunderstood or that it was not given a proper hearing.

When consensus is not possible, the meeting minutes will reflect the points of views of all the members of the Board, and the Board's views will be conveyed in a manner that communicates the points of view expressed by all its members.

Agenda Setting/Annual Action Plan

At the first meeting of every fiscal year the Advisory Board will establish an annual schedule of meetings and projected agenda items. The projection of agenda items will constitute the committees action plan for the given fiscal year providing that time will be allocated on each meeting agenda to review the response of the Department to recommendations and advice of the Advisory Board, and any new business that may be identified from time to time.

Six (6) weeks prior to each meeting of the Advisory Board a draft agenda will be circulated containing the proposed agenda items for that meeting. These items may be identified at the conclusions of any previous meeting of the Advisory Board or via communication from any member of the Advisory Board to an Ad-hoc Agenda Selection Working Group comprised of one member for each interest/participant observer. Following a two (2) week comment period a final draft agenda will be circulate four (4) weeks prior to each meeting, noting any agenda item where there may be outstanding concerns. Draft agendas will be reviewed, revised and adopted by the Advisory Board members at the beginning of each meeting.

In the event that unforeseen issues arise after the draft agenda has been circulated these unforeseen issues may be added to the agenda at any given meeting if there is consensus to do so. It is recognized that the members may agree to include these unforeseen issues on the agenda of subsequent meetings or conference calls.


The advisory Board will meet as determined by the annual meeting schedule meetings. The Advisory Board may meet by conference calls as required and agreed upon. Extraordinary meetings not anticipated in the annual meeting schedule may also be convened as agreed upon.

Funding and Costs

The Department will generally only provide funding to cover logistical expenses of meetings, coordinate the distribution of materials, and pay for travel of departmental employees involved in advisory bodies, as needed. All other expenses are the responsibility of committee members. Treasury Board guidelines do provide for Regional Director General discretion in providing funding for advisory committee participants, other than that described above.

Minutes of Meetings

DFO will ensure that a note-taker is present at each meeting of the Advisory Board. Minutes of meetings will be prepared containing a summary of the issues discussed, the wording of consensus based decisions and advice, action items, and an update on actions taken in response to the advice provided by the Advisory Board.

An electronic/email process will be used to review and approve the minutes of meeting as follows:

  1. The minutes of meetings will be distributed to all members within 3 weeks following each meeting.
  2. All members will have 2 weeks from the date the minutes were distributed to provide initial comments and edits.
  3. Revised minutes of meetings will be redistributed to all members no later than 2 weeks following the initial comment period
  4. Each interest will then have 2 weeks to provide its approval of the minutes of meetings via email.
  5. In the event that there are any outstanding issues with the content of the minutes at this point a final revisions of the minutes will be circulated noting what the outstanding issues are, and each interest will have 1 week to provide its approval.
  6. Final minutes, acknowledging any outstanding issues, will be made available at the next meeting of the Advisory Board as an information item only.

Evaluation/Periodic Review

At the last meeting of every other fiscal year the Board will review the terms of reference and engage in an evaluation of the issues that have emerged throughout the year, how effectively the mandate is being fulfilled, and the effectiveness of the consensus process. This evaluation will be used for informed decisions on continuance of the board into the future.

5. Board Charter on Working Relationships

In order to establish a working environment that promotes and supports civil and productive discussions within the Advisory Board, the members agree to the following ground rules for how they will work together in order to achieve the mandate.

  1. Ensure that the discussions maximize the exchange of information among parties and minimize misunderstandings;
  2. Acknowledge that the purpose of dialogue is to understand and to learn from one another;
  3. Maintain a respectful atmosphere;
  4. Treat everyone as an equal: leave status and stereotypes at the door;
  5. Provide all participants with an opportunity to speak and take all perspectives into account;
  6. Listen carefully and respectfully to the views of others, and acknowledge you have heard the other, especially when there is disagreement;
  7. Express disagreement with ideas, not with personalities or motives;
  8. Suspend judgment until understanding is achieved;
  9. Identify and test assumptions (including our own);
  10. Facilitate agreements across the full spectrum of interests;
  11. Look for common ground;
  12. Ensure accountability to our constituencies; and
  13. Engage in appropriate external communication with the general public and media by describing the process and the views of other representatives accurately, and in a manner acceptable to all representatives.
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