In January 2012, the Federal Minister of the Environment requested that the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board establish a management regime for polar bears, including a Total Allowable Take for Southern Hudson population that occurs in the Eeyou Marine Region.

Given the distribution of polar bears and the jurisdictional complexities of Northern Quebec, it is desirable and practical to have a single management plan that applies to both the onshore portion of Quebec and its adjacent marine regions which are the Nunavik Marine Region and the Eeyou Marine Region.

The key objectives of all parties involved in the development of this plan is for the Quebec, Nunavik Marine region and Eeyou Marine Region Polar Bear Management Plan to reflect the knowledge, concerns, traditions and principles of the people most affected by it: the Inuit of Nunavik and the Crees of Eeyou Istchee.

In order to attain this objective, members of the Polar Bear Working Group will visit Chisasibi on September 5 to meet with Crees, from the 5 coastal communities, who are using the coast in their traditional hunting and fishing activities, to ensure that Crees have been given an opportunity to share their views and knowledge about polar bear management. Communities will therefore have a meaningful opportunity to shape the management decisions and processes that flow from the Plan. A separate process has already been held in the Nunavik Inuit region.

The consultation team that will conduct the Cree consultation will consist of representatives from organizations involved in the development of this management plan which are the Cree Trappers’ Association, the Cree Nation Government, Makivik, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Quebec Government.

The team will meet with a focus group composed of Cree representatives from each of the coastal communities. Those representatives will be the local CTA EMR officers as well as an active Cree hunter whose harvesting activities take place on the coast or islands and who has knowledge of polar bears.

A public session will also be held for all Cree community members to express their knowledge, concerns and recommendations on the polar bear management plan. As the public consultation is held in Chisasibi, we also want to make sure that the Crees from other communities have the opportunity to give their input. If you cannot attend the consultation and desire to share your views and knowledge about polar bear management, you can contact one of the Local EMR Officers at the CTA office of Waskaganish, Eastmain, Wemindji, Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui, who will record your comments. For inland community members, please contact the CTA regional office of Eastmain for more information.

Once the consultations have been completed, a report summarizing the input of Crees will be prepared and shared with all Cree communities. The information gathered through this consultation process will be integrated into the Polar Bear Management Plan before it is submitted to the approval process.

Cree interpretation will be available throughout the process.

The meeting will be held in Chisasibi on September 5, at 7PM in the Michuap Community Center.

You can access the consultation guide here.