Dene Tha’ First Nation and Town of High Level

Dene Tha' High Level working Group

Dene Tha' and High Level working group.

Unique Features of this Partnership

Dene Tha’ First Nation and the Town of High Level have remained committed to their partnership despite geographic distance challenges, and their responses to significant wildfire and pandemic emergencies. Dene Tha’ First Nation has three communities that are regionally separated (Bushe River, Meander River and Chateh); the Town of High Level and Bushe River share a border, and this area is the business and retail hub for much of this northwestern region. Together, in response to the regional challenges and needs, they have prioritized the following joint community economic development initiatives: waterline infrastructure, a joint emergency plan and a multi-use recreation/emergency reception centre. Dene Tha’ First Nation and Town of High Level will participate in CEDI between 2018 – 2021.

Areas of Collaboration – Joint CED Themes

• Waterline connection between Bushe River and Town of High Level

• Feasibility study for new wastewater treatment infrastructure at Bushe River

• Joint Regional Emergency Plan for three Dene Tha’ communities and Town of High Level

• Multi-Use Recreation/Emergency Reception Centre


• Council Resolutions passed committing to CEDI until 2021

• Joint Workshop to learn about each community’s history, culture, governance and economic development priorities, and to build the government to government relationship (January 2019)

• Partnership resilience and open communication through Chuckegg Creek Wildfire evacuations (May / June 2019)

• Joint Workshop to explore high priority joint community economic development initiatives and discuss partnership governance structure (October 2019)

• Established three sub-committees, complete with mandate and priority actions, on: water and wastewater infrastructure; joint regional emergency plan; Emergency Reception Centre/Multiuse Facility (November 2019)

• Formalized Working Group Terms of Reference (TOR) (December 2019)

• Using innovative remote process to address joint Workshop objectives (cancelled due to COVID-19) to share progress and information updates with both Councils.


In the Media:

• The Echo Pioneer, September 11, 2019, “Dene Tha’ and High Level form partnership through CEDI” (subscription based publication)



Why Work Together?

“I am pleased that both Council’s agreed to participate in this important initiative. We recognize that working together to address our economic challenges will strengthen our relationship and the regional economy, and move our communities forward.”

- Chief James Ahnassay, Dene Tha’ First Nation

“There are few words that mean more to me than ‘reconciliation’. It is through a mutual resolution to work together that both the Dene Tha’ Council and the Town of High Level Council have embarked upon this journey. It is our belief that we can succeed best and quickest by helping each other. I could not be more happy or honoured to begin our hard work.”

Mayor Crystal McAteer, Town of High Level


Next Steps

This partnership is currently in Stage C: Decide of the Stronger Together process, working to advance the mandate of each of their sub-committees, including identifying funding sources, co-managing funding and consultant(s). The Joint Working Group has identified the following priorities for the year ahead:

• To continue to build the government to government relationship and engage in shared learning opportunities

• Dene Tha’ First Nation and Town of High Level Councils and staff to participate in KAIROS Blanket Exercise

• Hire and co-manage consultant to draft a Joint Regional Emergency Plan

• To make progress in the waterline connection and water service agreement between the Town of High Level and Bushe River

• To make progress on the design, approval and construction of the Emergency Reception Centre/Multiuse Facility


Curious about CEDI? Want to know more? 
Take the CEDI survey!

For More

Marissa Lawrence
Senior Program Officer, Cando
T: (778) 628 2180

Helen Patterson
CEDI Program Manager
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
T. 613-907-6320