Review Methodology

Systematic Literature Review

The review involved a qualitative desk study of available research on the topic of BAs over the past two decades. The study followed guidance by Petticrew and Roberts (2006) on how to conduct systematic literature reviews, with some adjustments such as the inclusion of grey literature, in addition to peer-reviewed sources.

Research for this report was greatly aided through access to a research database initially compiled by Ayan Aman (2020) for a systematic literature review on BAs, and currently under refinement in collaboration with Dr. Priya Bala-Miller and Dr. Jocelyn Fraser. The original database was compiled using the first four steps (adapted from Aman, 2020, 10-11), while step 5 involved a customized review based on the parameters requested by the FNLNGA.

Research Methodology

STEP 1: Keyword query

Three databases (Web of Science, UBC Library Catalogue, Google Scholar) were used to identify the universe of relevant studies related to BAs as they are referred to in the literature via the terms: Community-Benefit Agreement (CBA), Impact-Benefit Agreement (IBA), Indigenous Agreement (IA), Community-Development Agreement (CDA) and Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA). This step used search queries paired with an automated refinement of the results through filters.

STEP 2: Assessment for relevance

Once the results were queried, the initial selection of 794 documents were manually reviewed for relevance. The papers were downloaded from a quick read of directly suggestive titles, with the assumption that, “Community Benefit Agreement” or related search terms would be mentioned if this was the primary focus of the study in question. Moreover, each source was rapidly reviewed to determine the study’s thematic focus. At the end of this process,
109 pieces of literature were selected for detailed indexing.

STEP 3: Database catalogue

Each item was then catalogued based on the details below: Unique Identifier Metadata (Title, Author, Year) Annotated Bibliography (Citation, Abstract) Location Literature Type (Article, Guide, Book Chapter) Agreement Type (Community Benefit Agreement, Impact and Benefit Agreement, Indigenous Agreement, Land Use Agreement, Community Development Agreement, Benefit Sharing Agreement) Sector Natural Resource Development, Infrastructure Development.

STEP 4: Review against inclusion/exclusion criteria

For each indexed item, the abstract was reviewed to determine the document’s focus. If there was any ambiguity, the full document was reviewed. By the end of this stage, 60 pieces of literature were chosen to be reviewed in depth if they were exclusively focused on the issue of BAs, were relevant to natural resources sectors, the full text was available in English and the publication date fell between 1990-2020.

STEP 5: Customization based on client criteria

Following guidance from the FNLNGA, the corpus was then further narrowed to focus on literature and cases that were drawn from or applied to the Canadian context. Based on this additional criterion, 20 sources were excluded because they were specific to other locales.2 Three additional sources from 2020-21 that were missed in the original database screening were added to make a total of 43 academic studies, practice notes, sourcebooks and toolkits reviewed. Of these only one study covered a BA for the LNG Sector in Australia (O’Faircheallaigh, 2020), while the rest of the work reviewed predominantly focused on agreements in the mining sector.