Waste management

Waste management faces unique obstacles in Nunavik but also has the potential for unique solutions. Project implementation involves many stakeholders: the governments of Québec and Canada, as well regional and local organizations and businesses (retail stores, transport companies, construction companies, etc.). Innovative waste management measures are not only positive for the environment; they can also generate benefits for social and economic sectors. They also lead to better understanding of concepts such as reduction at source, reuse, recycling and reclamation.

Recent actions

  • Attended FCSAP Indigenous Knowledge & Science Focus Group meeting in Winnipeg in January 2024.
  • Reviewed the Strategy for the Reduction and Responsible Management of Plastics in Québec, 2024-2029 and attended an information session on the subject.
  • Examined the federal engagement on prohibiting single-use plastics as well as the federal amendments to the Storage of Petroleum products and allied petroleum products regulations
  • Commented on and monitoring application of Regulation respecting the development, implementa­tion and financial support of a deposit-refund system for certain containers and the Regulation respecting a system of selective collection of certain residual materials. The objective in modernizing the deposit and selective collection systems, based on an EPR approach, is to allow for better recovery and recycling of containers, packaging, and printed materials
  • Commented on draft 2022-2027 Action Plan for the Soil Protection and Contaminated Sites Remediation Program and draft Regulation respecting Charges to Promote the Treatment and Reclamation of Excavated Contaminated Soils and continuing to monitor development of an intervention plan for Aboriginal, northern and isolated communities.
  • Participation on the Nunavik Residual Materials Management Working Group which has a mandate to facilitate communication between various waste management stakeholders in the region and government officials. The Working Group also identifies core issues, challenges and solutions to promote safe waste management practices from a public health and environmental protection standpoint
  • Monitoring of recycling programs and related infrastructure under the Regulation respecting the Recovery and Reclamation of Products by Enterprises which aims to reduce the quantities of residual materials being sent to landfills and to make retailers and producers responsible for the recovery and reclamation of the products they sell.
  • Monitoring of several files regarding the restoration of contaminated sites in Nunavik including abandoned mineral exploration sites and outfitting camps, contaminated sites located on federal lands, former Mid-Canada Line radar sites,and abandoned outfitting camps for which it published a Green Corner article in issue 128 of Tarralik

You can access relevant publications regarding this subject at: https://keac-ccek.org/en/briefs-and-position-papers/

Guides for the management of hazardous waste in Nunavik
In 2016, the KEAC reissued three guides for municipalities, organizations, businesses and the general public in Nunavik with information on the management of hazardous waste. Guide 3 was updated in November 2021.


BAPE final report on the current status and management of final waste, January 2022

On March 8, 2021 the Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MELCC) gave a mandate to the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) to realize a province-wide enquiry and consultation on the status and management of final waste. This mandate also included the territory defined under Section 23 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) and under Section 14 of the Northeastern Quebec Agreement. In its role as the preferential and official forum to responsible governments in the territory under Section 23 of the JBNQA, the KEAC agreed to form a special commission to co-preside over the Nunavik portion of the consultation with the BAPE. In the spirit of the principles set out under the JBNQA, the consultation was held on June 9 and 10, 2021in Kuujjuaq.

During these discussions the participants raised several key concerns: the impacts of open-air burning on local populations and the environment, inadequate funding for waste management, abandoned sites located outside municipal boundaries, regulations and programs adapted to northern realities, landfill capacity and management, and lack of access to information and support in Inuktitut/English.

The feedback from the consultation contributed to the BAPE’s final report (in French only) which was published in January 2022. The report sets out eleven strategic approaches intended to guide government decision making on matters related to waste management. Moreover, Guideline #10 focuses on remote areas and explains that residual materials management measures must be implemented as equally as possible throughout Quebec. The government must also consider the social and territorial particularities existing in a given remote area and consider these when providing the required human and financial resources as well as developing optimal residual materials management strategies in accordance with the concept of a circular economy. A summary of the report is also available in English.

Furthermore, Chapter 11 of the BAPE’s report provides information and recommendations regarding the status and management of final waste in Québec’s treaty lands, including Nunavik. The principal conclusions from that chapter reflect the common opinion of the BAPE’s Commission and each of the Nations or communities with respect to improving waste management systems in these territories.