Impact Review Board

The Eeyou Marine Region Impact Review Board is an Institution of Public Government (IPG) established in 2013 under the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement (EMRLCA). The Agreement is the result of 10 years of negotiations on the rights and obligations of the Crees and the Government of Canada in the Eeyou Marine Region (EMR). This treaty, like other Canadian-Indigenous treaties, acknowledges indigenous ownership to land. In this case, the Cree Nation Government will own 80% of the offshore land mass in the eastern half of James Bay and lower Hudson Bay. In addition, the Crees will have access, hunting, fishing, and trapping rights to the 20% of lands set aside for Canada. As part of the Agreement, the Crees and the Government of Canada also agree to the regulation of land use, hunting, fishing, trapping, and development in the EMR.

The EMRIRB is one of three IPGs created to implement the EMRCLA, along with the Eeyou Marine Region Planning Commission (EMRPC) and the Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board (EMRWB). As such, any Proponent intending to develop a project in the EMR will have to conform with the regimes and processes established under the EMRLCA, including the regimes for the protection of wildlife, land use planning, and the impact review of development projects.

As set out in Chapter 18 of the Agreement, the Impact Review Board has the primary responsibility to assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of proposed development projects within the Eeyou Marine Region.

Public Registry

Submit Project

Board Role and Responsibility

  • Screen project proposals to determine whether or not a review is required
  • Gauge and define the extent of the regional impacts of a proposed project
  • Review the eco-systemic and socio-economic impacts of proposed projects
  • Provide recommendations to the Minister
  • Determine on the bases of review, whether a project proposal should proceed, and if so, under what terms
  • Monitor projects

Impact Assessment in the Eeyou Marine Region

All project proposals in the EMR are assessed by the EMR Planning Commission to determine if they conform to the parameters of the EMR land use plan.  If the Commission determines that a project conforms, they will, subject to 18.3.2, 18.3.3 and 18.4.3 of chapter 18 of the EMRLCA, forward their determination and recommendations to the Impact Review Board for a screening. In the absence of a land use plan, a project proposal is received directly by the Impact Review Board for screening through its Public Registry.

If a project proposal does not conform to the land use plan, they are not screened by the Impact Review Board.

There are types of project proposals exempt from screenings, these are listed under schedule 18-1 in the EMRLCA.

Public Registry

PDF Guides

Screening

The purpose of the screening process is to determine if a proposed project has the potential to cause sufficient damage to the EMR to warrant a formal review, or whether the project should be allowed to proceed and receive its required permits, licenses, and approvals without further assessment. An EMRIRB screening is guided by the following principles under section 18.4.2 of the EMRLCA:

  • The project may have significant adverse effects on the ecosystem, wildlife habitat or Cree harvesting activities
  • The project may have significant adverse socio-economic effects
  • The project will cause significant public concern
  • The project involves technological innovations for which the effects are unknown

If it is determined that a proposed project has the potential to adversely impact the EMR, the project is recommended for a review.

For more information regarding project screening, please view our guide.

Before a Project Proposal is submitted for screening, Proponents must:

  • Register for an account on the Public Registry found at: www.emrirb.ca

  • Ensure that relevant regulatory agencies have been contacted and informed of the Proponent’s application with the EMRIRB. The Proponent must contact all of the regulatory agencies who may be responsible for issuing any autho­rization (any letter, permit, license, lease, certificate, or other written or verbal communication that autho­rizes a project or a component of a project to proceed) associated with the Project Proposal. It is important to note that a Project Proposal may require more than one authorization.

  • Ensure that permits, licenc­es, and allowances associated with the Project Proposal will not be issued until after the EMRIRB has submitted its approval and recommendations to the respon­sible Minister(s). Proponents may submit applications for licenses, permits, or approvals concurrently with their application with the EMRIRB, however these authori­zations cannot be issued until the screening process is complete.

Review

When it is determined that a proposed project requires a review, the Impact Review Board issues guidelines to the project proponent for the preparation of an impact statement, this statement provides information for the bases of the review. The impact statement usually contains information such as the purpose and need for the project, the anticipated eco-systemic and socio-economic impacts, anticipated effect of the project on the environment, measures to mitigate adverse impacts, benefits of the project, monitoring, effects on wildlife and use of wildlife by the Cree, and any other matters that the EMRIRB considers relevant. Section 18.5.2 of the agreement provides a list of the general content of an impact statement.

When reviewing any project proposal, the EMRIRB takes into account all matters that are relevant to its mandate:

  • Whether the project would enhance and protect the existing and future well-being of residents of the EMR, individuals using the EMR, and the coastal Cree communities of Eeyou Istchee and of their members taking into account the interests of all Canadians
  • Whether the project would excessively impact the eco-systemic integrity of the EMR
  • Whether a proposed project reflects the priorities and values of residence in or using the EMR and of the coastal Cree communities of Eeyou Istchee
  • Steps that the proponent proposes to take to avoid and mitigate adverse impacts
  • Steps the proponent proposes to take, or that should be taken, to compensate interests adversely affected by the project
  • The monitoring program that the proponent proposes to establish, or that should be established, for eco-systemic and socio-economic impacts
  • Steps that the proponent proposes to take, or that should be taken, to restore eco-systemic integrity following project abandonment including a procedure of community input for developing and implementing close out plans
For more information regarding project reviews, please view Guide 3 – Review Process

For more detailed information regarding the impact assessment process, please see chapter 18 of the EMRLCA.

Report

After reviewing a project proposal, the EMRIRB makes public and issues a report to the Minister and the proponent. This report contains the Board’s assessment of the project, including its determination as to whether or not the project should proceed and the terms and conditions if the project were to proceed. The Minister reviews the IRB’s determination and either accepts the terms and conditions or rejects or varies the terms and conditions in whole or part, providing written reasons for the decision and making them public. If the Minister accepts the report, and the determination is to proceed with the project, the Impact Review Board issues a project certificate including any terms and conditions which have been accepted or varied by the Minister.

Terms and conditions contained in an EM­RIRB Project Certificate, a Screening Deci­sion Report, or an approval issued by the Nunavut Water Board may require the es­tablishment of a monitoring program for a project, which may specify responsibilities for the Proponent, the EMRIRB, or regula­tory agencies. For more information regarding EMRIRB monitoring programs, please view Guide 4 – Project Monitoring.

Board Members

Name Position
Isaac Masty Chairperson
Brian Craik Vice-Chairperson – Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government
Brendan O’Donnell Member – Government of Canada
Lucassie Arragutainak Member – Government of Nunavut
Fred Tomatuk Member – Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government

Administration

Name Position
Pailin Chua-oon Rinfret Director
Susan Esau Accounting Administrator
Priscillia Wesley Administrative Assistant