Director John Sinclair.

Dr. John Sinclair

Professor and Director
Natural Resources Institute
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3T 2M6
Tel.: (204) 474-8374
Fax: (204) 261-0038


B.A. (Hons) Law and Geography concentration, Carleton University, 1984.
M.A. (With distinction), Geography, Carleton University, 1986.
Ph.D. Geography, University of Waterloo, 1991.


Dr. Sinclair has been with the Natural Resources Institute since 1991 after the completion of his Ph.D. in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo. Following his long-standing involvement in non-government initiatives, particularly related to sustainability issues, the theme of civic engagement in resource and environmental governance is well reflected in both his research and teaching. John teaches courses in environmental assessment, environmental governance, individual and social learning in resource and environmental management and thesis research methods. As well, he lends his considerable field research and teaching experience to the NRI field seminar courses. He is very active both locally and nationally with a number of environmental non-government organizations and professional associations, such as The Green Action Center, the Canadian Environment Network's Environmental Assessment Caucus, which he has chaired on two occasions, and the Multi-Interest Advisory Committee on Federal EA struck by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. John currently chairs the University of Manitoba Sustainability Committee, which is implementing the University’s Sustainability Strategy. The University of Manitoba has recognized Dr. Sinclair's outreach activities in the community with awards such as the Campbell Outreach Award.

Research Interests

Dr. Sinclair's primary research interest focuses on public and community participation in, and learning through, natural resource and environmental decision-making. The overarching aim is to understand ways that governance processes can facilitate and incorporate learning, and how learning and governance outcomes can help guide us along sustainable trajectories. He and his students work on a wide variety of research projects pursuing this broad goal, which includes investigating both within and in critical opposition to official processes. For example, there is a cluster of projects examining environmental impact assessment that are addressing diverse topics, ranging, for example, from the components of next generation assessment law in general to focused case studies, such as of community-based assessment approaches in Kenya and Tanzania (image 1). Another project has students working in the Canadian Arctic, considering Indigenous community and stakeholder involvement in impact assessments and policy development related to oil spill response and shipping safety in ice infested waters (image 2). And he has students working in India, where he has been doing research for many years, exploring topics such as environmental justice in relation to protected areas planning and management, the role of protests and social action, and community involvement in the development of sustainable micro-hydro (image 3). If you are interested in doing this kind of research with me at the NRI, contact me at john.sinclair@umanitoba to chat further.

Selected Recent Publications

• Sadiq, S., and Sinclair, A.J. 2020. Understanding free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of mining in Canada. CIM Journal, DOI: 10.1080/19236026.2020.1734404
• Lindgren, A., Robson, J.P., Reed, M.G., Sinclair, A.J., Parkins, J.P., Nadeau, S., Teitelbaum, S., and M.K. Hitomi. 2019. Engaging the Public in Sustainable Forest Management in Canada: Results from a National Survey of Advisory Committees. Information Report LAU-X-142E, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service.
• Ozoike-Dennis, P., Spaling, H., Sinclair, A.J., and Walker, H.M. 2019. SEA, urban plans and solid waste management in Kenya: Participation and learning for sustainable cities, Environmental Assessment Management and Policy, DOI:
• Doelle, M., and Sinclair, A.J. 2019. The new IAA in Canada: From revolutionary thoughts to reality, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 79 (in progress) available at:
• Assuah, A., and Sinclair, A.J. 2019. Unraveling the relationship between collective action and social learning: Evidence from community forest management in Canada, Forests, 10(6): 494.
• Parkins, J.R., Nenko, A., Reed, M.G., and Sinclair, A.J. 2019. Rethinking effective public engagement in sustainable forest governance. Society and Natural Resources, currently available at –
• Sinclair, A.J., Doelle, M., and Gibson, R.B. 2018. Implementing next generation assessment: A case example of a global challenge. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 72 (1): 166-176.
• Boerchers, M., Sinclair, A.J., Gibson, R.B., and Halden N.M. 2018. “Sustainability is finding the next mine”: The complicated relationships among legacies, sustainability and EA. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 71(1): 84-93.
• Sinclair, A.J., Doelle, M., and Duinker, P.N. 2017. Looking up, down and sideways: reconceiving cumulative effects assessment as a mindset. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 62(1): 183-194.
• Sinclair A.J., Peirson-Smith T.J. and Boerchers, M. 2017. Environmental Assessment in the Internet age: the role of E-Governance and social media in creating platforms for meaningful participation. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 35(2): 148-157.
• Ordonez, C., Duinker, P.N., Beckley, T., and Sinclair, A.J. 2017. Public values associated with urban forests: Synthesis of findings and lessons learned from emerging methods and cross-cultural case studies. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 25(1): 74-84.
• Vespa, M., Sinclair, A.J., Boerchers, M., and Gibson, R.B. 2017. New process, same doubts: Participants’ perceptions of strategic environmental assessment in Western Newfoundland. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 19(1): 1-25.
• Sinclair, A.J. and Diduck, A.P. 2017. Reconceptualizing public participation in environmental assessment as EA civics. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 62(1): 174-182.

Professional Activities

• Member, (Past Chair) Canadian Environment Network - Environmental Assessment Caucus
• Member, Multi-Interest Advisory Committee on Federal EA, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
• Member, Environment and Resources Working Group, Canadian Association of Geographers
• Member, Environmental Studies Association of Canada
• Past President (founding member of the Board of Directors), Manitoba Model Forest Inc.
• Member, International Association of Impact Assessment, Co-Chair of the Public Participation Section
• Member, Asian Studies Association
• Member, International Association for the Study of Common Properties
• Chair, University of Manitoba Sustainability Committee
• Editorial Board Appointments – Alternatives Journal – Environmental Impact Assessment Review