Federal Impact Assessment Act

Since the entry into force of the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) in August 2019, efforts have continued at the regional level to gain a thorough understanding of how the substitution and delegation provisions under the Impact Assessment Act may be implemented for the JBNQA, NEQA and NILCA impact assessment procedures. The Impact Assessment Act has broadened the scope of federal impact assessment, which will likely increase the number of projects subject to assessment and cases of multiple applicable assessment procedures in Nunavik. This extended scope includes consideration of social impacts and impacts on the rights of Indigenous people. These new elements could foster harmonization with the procedures under the JBNQA, the NEQA and the NILCA, which have always taken into account social impacts and Inuit and Naskapi rights.

On October 13, 2023, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision that the scheme of the IAA related to designating projects for review was unconstitutional, whereas the scheme related to federal lands or matters outside of Canada was constitutional. The decision raises important questions on what the impact will be to a number of proposed projects and to the federal government’s ability to regulate certain environmental matters it assumed it had the authority to regulate. As such the KEAC remain vigilant regarding upcoming modifications to the federal legislation.

Regional Working Group

The recent adoption of the Impact Assessment Act is an opportunity to reflect on and propose concrete solutions to the multiplication of impact assessment procedures in Nunavik.As such the Impact Assessment Act Working Group was formed by the KEAC, the Makivik Corporation and the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach to study the impact assessment processes found in the JBNQA, the Northeastern Quebec Agreement (NEQA), the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA) and the new federal IAA. The goal is to generate the necessary knowledge and tools in order to analyze the various implementation options proposed in the new IAA and select the most appropriate one(s) for its implementation the in Nunavik and the Nunavik Marine Region.

In November 2020, the working group delivered a report to the Agency that provided a description of the three impact assessment processes outlined in JBNQA, NEQA and NILCA as well as a historical overview of the interactions between the treaty-based and federal processes as well as the issues associated with the multiplication of these processes in Nunavik.

After comparing the treaty processes as well as conducting interviews with review boards to identify potential implications of the federal legislation, the working group examined the different options available to adapt this process to the region. In their April 2022 report, the working group identified three preferred implementation options for Nunavik. Cooperation and coordination agreements are recommended as a short to medium-term strategy due to their flexible nature and ability to establish collaborative mechanisms before the next development project is undertaken in the region. Non-application of the Act is recommended as a more long-term approach.

Public Participation

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada maintains an online project impact assessment registry. The general public may participate at several stages during impact assessment. For more information click here.