Backgrounder - Highlights: The Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement
- Eeyou Marine Region Agreement: The Eeyou Marine Region Agreement is an agreement between the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Government of Canada which covers an area of approximately 61,270 square kilometres along the Quebec shore in the James Bay and south-eastern Hudson Bay. The Agreement settles the land and resource rights, including those of Canada and the Crees, over the islands and the marine waters in this area. The islands in this area represent approximately 1,650 square kilometres of land mass, of which almost 1,050 square kilometres will be owned by the Crees, including rights to the land and subsurface resources. Islands in the southern Hudson Bay, which cover an area of nearly 400 square kilometres, will be jointly owned with the Nunavik Inuit. The federal government will retain ownership over some islands representing approximately 200 square kilometres of land mass in the area. Canada will also retain jurisdiction over the marine waters and ownership of the seabed.
- Overlap Area: The Eeyou Marine Region includes an overlapping area of interest to both the Crees and the Nunavik Inuit. To reflect this, the Agreement and the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement both contain another agreement which was signed between the Crees and the Inuit in 2003 and which addresses the respective interests of the Crees and Inuit over this overlapping area. In this regard, the Crees have joint ownership with the Nunavik Inuit of most of the islands from Long Island to North of Umiujaq.
- Wildlife Management: The Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board is established under the Agreement as an institution of public government to manage and regulate wildlife and harvesting. The Crees have the exclusive right to harvest certain species and they have the right to harvest any species of wildlife in the Eeyou Marine Region to fulfill their economic, social and cultural needs. Exceptionally, some restrictions may be imposed for purposes such as conservation.
- Capital Transfer and Implementation: The Government of Canada will provide to the Crees a capital transfer of $50 million over a period of nine (9) years and implementation funding of $5 million when the agreement comes into force after the passage of the ratification legislation.
- Resource Royalty: The Crees will have surface and subsurface rights over their islands. In addition, the Crees will be entitled to 50 per cent of the first $2 million of resource royalty, and five per cent of any additional resource royalty received by governments each year with respect to any extraction of natural resources in the Eeyou Marine Region.
- Certainty: The Agreement will provide certainty with respect to the rights of Canada and the Crees over land and resources in the Eeyou Marine Region.
- Coming Into Force: Following the signing of the Agreement by the Crees and Canada, and upon consultation with the Grand Council of the Crees, the Government of Canada will present the Agreement to Parliament and propose legislation to ratify the Agreement and to bring it into force.