MEDIA RELEASE: Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland reach agreement on greater oversight and additional benefits for impacted communities
Iqaluit, Nunavut – July 6, 2020 – The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) and Baffinland Iron Mines signed the Inuit Certainty Agreement on June 16, 2020, which provides greater Inuit control and oversight, direct community benefits and new and expanded programs for Inuit in communities impacted by the Mary River Project, with a focus upon Pond Inlet.
The Inuit Certainty Agreement is the culmination of years of engagement with impacted Mary River Project Communities. QIA was given clear direction to focus on addressing current project activities prior to working on improvements related to project expansion. This agreement sets a new benchmark for Inuit benefit agreements.
There are five key themes to the Inuit Certainty Agreement:
- Environmental protection, Inuit-led independent monitoring, and comprehensive adaptive management plans jointly approved by QIA
- Improved and expanded Wildlife Compensation
- Changes to Employment, Training and Contracting with measureable and enforceable goals with clear procedures regarding remedial measures
- With preference given to Inuit firms based in impacted communities
- Community Direct Benefits
- Significant royalty improvements
Through the Inuit Certainty Agreement, impacted communities will receive direct benefits in the form of infrastructure, royalty payments, annual compensation payments, and performance payments in the event implementation objectives are not achieved. All of these Community Direct Benefits are unprecedented. QIA will work with communities to define plans for how to best deliver these new benefits. These plans will be presented for board consideration at the Annual General Meeting in October 2020.
“In negotiating this Agreement, we took great care to echo the voices of the impacted communities,” says QIA President, P.J. Akeeagok, “in accordance with community wishes we first prioritized environmental matters followed by tangible and direct benefits for Inuit in the impacted communities.”
While the Inuit Certainty Agreement addresses many of the social and environmental concerns raised by QIA and impacted communities throughout the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) process for the Mary River Phase 2 Proposal, it does not supersede the NIRB review.
QIA supports resuming the NIRB impact assessment process that accommodates an opportunity for community representatives to express their views in person.
Some Inuit Certainty Agreement benefits are available immediately while others are contingent on the Mary River Project Phase 2 being approved to proceed.
Highlights of the Inuit Certainty Agreement can be found at:
- For Communities: https://www.qia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-06-26-designed-highlights-of-benefits-for-communities-in-the-mary-river-project-final.pdf
- For HTOS: https://www.qia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-06-26-designed-highlights-of-benefits-for-hunters-and-trappers-organizations-in-the-mary-river-project.pdf
- For Hamlets: https://www.qia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-06-26-designed-highlights-of-benefits-for-hamlets-in-the-mary-river-project-final.pdf
- For Inuit Firms: https://www.qia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-06-26-designed-highlights-of-benefits-for-inuit-firms-in-the-mary-river-project-final.pdf
A detailed description of the benefits negotiated under the Inuit Certainty Agreement can be found at: https://www.qia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/6172020-Executed-Inuit-Certainty-Agreement-for-website.pdf.
These commitments will now be included in a revised Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement which will be presented to QIA’s Board of Directors at the 2020 AGM. QIA is submitting a letter to update the Nunavut Impact Review Board on progress made through the Inuit Certainty Agreement. QIA supports the resumption of the impact assessment process provided that some component of the Final Public Hearings include an in-person meeting within affected communities.
Starting mid-July QIA will be releasing weekly bilingual videos to provide greater insight into the Inuit Certainty Agreement on the five key themes to the Inuit Certainty Agreement.
For more information, please contact:
Sima Sahar Zerehi,
Director of Communications,
Qikiqtani Inuit Association