The Environmental Review Process in the Western Canadian Arctic

Authors: James Saku*, Frostburg State University
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples, Environment
Keywords: Environmental Review Process, Inuvialuit Final Agreement, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Aboriginal People, Land Claim Agreement
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The adoption of a new environmental review process in the Western Canadian Arctic after the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) was achieved is characterized by a shift from a top-down to a more inclusive multilateral bottom-up environmental review process. Before achieving the IFA in 1984, the Federal Environment and Review Office in Ottawa (FEARO) was primarily responsible for the assessment of the environmental impact of development projects in the region. The new approach allows Aboriginal people residing in the region to become active participants in the environmental review of development projects. As part of the agreement, two environmental review agencies were created to deal with environmental impact assessment of development projects. The two agencies are the Environmental Impact Screening Committee (EISC) and Environmental Impact Review Board (EIRB). The two agencies have strong Inuvialuit representation. This presentation outlines the functions of the institutions created within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR). Essentially, through the creation of co-management institutions, the Inuvialuit share power and responsibilities with the federal government on environmental assessment of development projects. The new process allows Inuvialuit to review development projects in their settlement region and draw developer’s attention to traditional knowledge and expertise of local people. Participation in the review process is an important bargaining tool by the Inuvialuit to safeguard their environment from corporate abuse and destruction.

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