Provincial procedure under the JBNQA
For projects in areas of provincial jurisdiction (ex. mines, roads, etc.) subject to the environmental and social impact assessment and review procedure under Section 23 of the JBNQA, the provincial administrator is the responsible authority, i.e. the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (sustainable development, the environment and the fight against climate change, MDDELCC).
The procedure, which is reproduced in the Environment Quality Act, establishes a series of steps a number of which are performed by the Kativik Environmental Quality Commission. Created pursuant to Section 23 of the JBNQA, the Commission is an independent body from the MDDELCC that comprises five Québec-government representatives and four Inuit representatives.
The Kativik Environmental Quality Commission is responsible for assessing and reviewing development projects in Nunavik referred to it by the MDDELCC. At the outset of the procedure, it analyses the preliminary project description and, if applicable, prepares a notice for the project’s exemption from the procedure or prepares directives on the required scope of the impact study to be done by the project proponent. In both cases, it transmits its decisions to the MDDELCC. Next, the Kativik Environmental Quality Commission analyzes any impact studies referred back to it and may hold public consultations with the communities concerned by the projects. Its decisions to authorize projects with or without conditions, or not, are transmitted to the MDDELCC. The MDDELCC is responsible for making final decisions on whether development projects will be authorized or not and for transmitting these decisions to the project proponents.
Legislation: Environment Quality Act
The MDDELCC website contains a section on northern environmental assessment. In addition, to providing an overview, the site presents a list of projects subject to environmental assessment and those for which MDDELCC decisions have been made.
Preliminary description of northern development projects
In 2013, the MDDELCC published Renseignements préliminaires pour la réalisation d’un projet en milieu nordique for the proponents of development projects in the region covered by the JBNQA. The document sets out the elements to be included in an initial project description and the requirements for grey-zone projects which must be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they are subject to or exempt from assessment.
The KEQC‘s website contains information on this body, including about its members, projects subject to environmental assessment, the content of impact studies, public participation, and a project registry.
Working group on public participation – MDDELCC
The MDDELCC created a working group in 2010 to improve public participation, transparency and access to information under the environmental assessment procedure. The KEAC, the Kativik Environmental Quality Commission and the Kativik Regional Government are part of the working group. Since improved public participation remains a priority for the KEAC, it is urging for concrete changes to be made as quickly as possible.
Fee structure for environmental assessment
In southern Québec, project proponents must pay fees for certain environmental assessment stages. The KEAC has reviewed this issue for projects under provincial jurisdiction subject to environmental assessment under Section 23 of the JBNQA.
The KEAC reviewed the Guide pour l’initiateur de projet – la prise en compte du patrimoine archéologique dans la réalisation des études d’impact environnementales en conformité avec la Loi sur la qualité de l’environnement published by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications The guide describes the legal framework applicable to cultural heritage resources, the place of archaeology in environmental assessments, and the measures that project proponents must follow with regards to cultural heritage resources located around development projects.