ARCHIVED - Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Annual Report - 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008
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The Implementation Committee for the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement is pleased to present its second annual report covering the period from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008.
This report is a collaborative effort of the Nunatsiavut Government, the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. All parties have worked diligently to implement the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement – the first modern Aboriginal treaty in Atlantic Canada and the first tripartite-funded land-claims agreement in the country.
The committee, which is comprised of a senior official from each party, is mandated to oversee, monitor, and provide direction on the implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. It functions by consensus and serves as a forum where the three parties can raise issues and voice concerns.
This annual report outlines achievements and developments during the fiscal year. The Nunatsiavut, federal and provincial governments, along with the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board, the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board, regional enrolment and membership committees, and the Co-operative Management Board for the Torngat Mountains National Park have all made significant contributions to the success that has been achieved since the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement came into effect on December 1, 2005.
All parties are committed to working in a spirit of cooperation in meeting the challenges that lie ahead to ensure the successful implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. The achievements realized thus far are a result of this collaborative effort.
Features of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement
The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement was the result of nearly 30 years of often intense negotiations. Submitted to the Government of Canada in 1977, the claim would not make its way to the negotiating table until 1988. It would take another 13 years before an Agreement-in-Principle was reached between the Labrador Inuit Association and the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The ratification process was initiated in 2003, with the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement being submitted for approval to Labrador Inuit on May 26, 2004. It was overwhelmingly accepted, paving the way for ratification by the federal and provincial governments.
The Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly passed the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act on December 6, 2004. The Act received Royal Assent the same day. The Labrador Inuit Association and the federal and provincial governments signed the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement at an official ceremony held in Nain on January 22, 2005.
The final phase of ratification was completed when Bill C-56, "an Act to Give Effect to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Labrador Inuit Tax Treatment Agreement", was passed in the House of Commons on June 15, 2005. This Bill was approved in the Senate and given Royal Assent by Canada's Governor General on June 23, 2005. On December 1, 2005, the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Labrador Inuit Constitution came into effect at the first Assembly of the Nunatsiavut Transitional Government, held in Nain.
The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement is protected as a treaty under the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, and defines the relationship between the Labrador Inuit and their ancestral lands in northern Labrador. It sets out details of land ownership, resource sharing and self government, and provides for the establishment of the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area totaling about 72,500 square kilometers (or 28,000 square miles) in northern Labrador and 48,690 square kilometers (or 18,800 square miles) of sea. Within this area, Labrador Inuit own 15,800 square kilometers (or 6,100 square miles) designated as Labrador Inuit Lands. The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement also provided for the establishment of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve, consisting of about 9,600 square kilometers (3,700 square miles) of land within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area.
The Nunatsiavut Government has many of the responsibilities and rights of other governments, such as planning for sustainable economic development, protecting and preserving Labrador Inuit culture and traditions, and implementing social programs on behalf of Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
The Nunatsiavut Government operates at two distinct but connected levels: regional and community. The regional government has its legislative centre based in Hopedale and its administrative centre in Nain. Inuit community governments are based in Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet. The AngajukKâk of each community government represents his or her constituency in the Nunatsiavut Assembly.
In areas where significant numbers of Labrador Inuit live outside of Nunatsiavut, non-profit Inuit Community Corporations have been established to provide Beneficiaries the opportunity to participate in self government. There are two Inuit Community Corporations: one in North West River and the other in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Mud Lake. The chair of each corporation also represents his or her constituents in the Nunatsiavut Assembly. The Canadian constituency of Inuit living outside of Labrador is represented by an elected member of the Assembly.
The Nunatsiavut Government is comprised of seven departments, each reflecting the unique principles of the Labrador Inuit Constitution. The departments are:
Finance and Human Resources
Health and Social Development
Education and Economic Development
Lands and Natural Resources
Culture, Recreation and Tourism
This report contains information on the mandates and activities of each department for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Under the direction of the President, the Nunatsiavut Secretariat is mandated to serve the needs of Labrador Inuit. It is responsible for the workings of the Nunatsiavut Executive Council, Intergovernmental Affairs, Communications and the Community Healing Initiative. It includes the President, the Secretary to the Nunatsiavut Executive Council, the Director of Communications and the Community Healing Coordinator.
With assistance from Ottawa-based Institute on Governance, the Nunatsiavut Secretariat initiated a strategic plan for the Nunatsiavut Government.
A strategic planning committee was established to work with the Assembly and Nunatsiavut Government departments to develop short and long-term plans (four and 20 years respectively.) It is anticipated that a consultant will be hired in 2008-09 to help in the planning process.
Also, during the year, the Institute on Governance developed learning programs to provide orientation on governance to Nunatsiavut Government Ministers, Assembly members and the Speaker of the Assembly. These programs are designed to give newly-elected members an overview on how governments operate and their expected role in governance. Other programs included workshops for senior managers on policy development and preparation of briefing notes.
The Nunatsiavut Secretariat represents the Nunatsiavut Government on the Land Claims Agreement Coalition, a body mandated by its members to engage the Government of Canada in the development of a new and forward-looking national policy on land-claims implementation. Coalition members work together to ensure comprehensive land claims and associated self-government agreements are respected, honored and fully implemented in order to achieve their objectives. Membership includes all settled comprehensive landclaim governments and organizations in Canada.
The Nunatsiavut Government continues to enjoy a good working relationship with both the federal and provincial governments in implementing the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
The President sits on the board of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), Canada's national Inuit association representing four Inuit regions – Nunatsiavut, Nunavik (northern Quebec), Nunavut, and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories.
In an effort to build in-house capacity and decrease dependence on outside firms, the Nunatsiavut Government hired a Writer to work within its Communications Division. This new position, along with a newly-established Resource Centre, will allow the Nunatsiavut Government to produce a variety of print materials.
Joint Management Committee
The Secretary to the Executive Council was appointed to represent the department on the Joint Financial Management Committee. Chaired by the Minister of Finance and Human Resources, and made up of the AngajuKkaks of the Inuit Community Governments and the Nunatsiavut Government's Comptroller, the committee deals with operational and capital works funding and other financial matters of the five Inuit communities within Nunatsiavut.
Community Healing Initiative
Progress has been made on the Community Healing Initiative established by the President. A number of Community Honoring Abstinence Workshops and healing circles were held in several Nunatsiavut communities, as well as Upper Lake Melville. Discussions were held in Nain during the fall on the possibility of holding a conference specifically for elders.
The Community Healing Initiative, along with the Labrador Inuit Healing Project, partnered to hold a two-day gathering at the Labrador Christian Youth Camp at Gosling Lake near Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The gathering included residential school survivors from Nunatsiavut and Upper Lake Melville.
Innu and Inuit cultures were brought together during an elders' conference at Kaianitshit, Quebec last summer. The conference provided an opportunity for both groups to discuss common issues and concerns with respect to community healing.
The Department of Nunatsiavut Affairs is an advocate for Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and oversees the running of the Nunatsiavut Government. Under the direction of the First Minister, the department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, which is vital to the development of all Labrador Inuit. It is also responsible for legal services, community justice, public property and Beneficiary registration.
There are ongoing challenges related to the implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. These challenges include ensuring the federal, provincial and Nunatsiavut governments honor their respective obligations and that established processes and procedures are being followed and implemented.
The Land Transfer Agreement between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Nunatsiavut Government was signed and subsequently came into effect on February 2, 2008. This agreement transferred all existing Crown land within the boundaries of Labrador Inuit communities from the provincial government to the Inuit Community Governments. The Land Transfer Agreement for Hopedale will not come into effect until the contaminated land issue within the community's boundary is resolved.
A series of amendments to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement are currently in the works and are also expected to be tabled with the federal, provincial and Nunatsiavut governments by the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year. The first series of amendments related to the addition of Chapter 24, which is the Nunavik/Labrador Inuit Overlap Agreement provisions, and supporting amendments such as the revision of Schedule 2-A and a revised Capital Transfer Payment Schedule that will provide the Nunatsiavut Government with an additional $20 million, plus interest, over 15 years. The second series of amendments involves technical amendments related to post-effective date of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement maps and associated written descriptions.
The Regional Planning Authority has begun research on the details of the Land Use Plan for the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area, and has requested from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Nunatsiavut Government a three-year extension to the timeframe within which to complete the plan. The request was granted and the plan will now be completed by March 31, 2011.
Registrar of Beneficiaries
The Office of the Registrar of Beneficiaries has been extremely busy consulting with membership committees and the Membership Appeals Board regarding the application for membership and registration of Beneficiaries process, as well as dealing with questions and giving information to applicants.
There have been some major challenges in implementing the Beneficiary enrolment process set out in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. However, the registry is continually being updated and the list of Beneficiaries has been steadily increasing. A workshop was held with all the membership committees to ensure members clearly understand their roles, the enrolment process and the enrolment criteria set out in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. A manual has been prepared to assist members with the process.
Construction of the administration building in Nain has been delayed due to unforeseen environmental problems with the site. The engineering company has successfully cleaned up the contaminated area and construction of the building and final site preparation will be completed in 2009.
The architectural design for the Assembly building in Hopedale has been revised and approved and the engineering and site preparation has been completed. It is hoped the building will be completed in 2009.
Legal Services, Community Relations, Housing and Community Justice
This division is responsible for providing legal services to the different departments within the Nunatsiavut Government, the Executive Council and the Assembly. It also acts as the liaison between the Nunatsiavut Government and the Inuit Community Governments. Housing and community justice also fall within this section.
Legal services are provided internally and include preparation and review of contracts, legislation and general legal work and advice in the Nunatsiavut Government's operation. Specific legal expertise is contracted on an as-needed basis.
Community relations/liaison is responsible for assisting Inuit Community Governments in their transition to self government and operations under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. This includes the drafting and enactment of Inuit community bylaws under Nunatsiavut Government laws, and support in the interpretation of the roles and responsibilities of Inuit communities under Nunatsiavut Government laws.
In 2007-08, the division undertook the responsibility of developing a housing policy for the Nunatsiavut Government, which included looking at models of social housing in Inuit communities. It is anticipated that this will become an increasingly significant role for the division in the future. As well, a Nunatsiavut Government representative sits on the Torngat Regional Housing Association's board of directors.
Although the Nunatsiavut Government has not yet taken over any jurisdiction for community justice, the division does have a representative on local and regional justice committees and boards. The division also has an ongoing dialogue with the provincial Department of Justice.
Finance and Human Resources
The Department of Finance and Human Resources, which is includes Information Technology and the Status of Women, is primarily responsible for all areas pertaining to finance and funding, as well as the management of the Nunatsiavut Civil Service. As the main administrative department, it supports the delivery of services throughout the Nunatsiavut Government. Senior management consists of a Deputy Minister of Finance, a Director of Human Resources and a Director of Information Technology.
The Nunatsiavut Government incurred a modest surplus of $54,000 for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007. In its second budget since being established on December 1, 2005, the Government approved expenditures of approximately $37 million for 2007-08, with an additional $2.4 million being approved in the spring of 2007 from revenue derived from mining royalties from the Voisey's Bay project.
Some $29.8 million was spent in the programming areas of health, education, economic development, operating grants for the Inuit Community Governments, housing and capital infrastructure. The remaining $10.5 million went towards the administration of the Nunatsiavut Government.
The third anniversary Federal Capital Transfer Payment, as outlined in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, was received on Dec. 1, 2007. Some 70 per cent of the payment of $21,035,028 (minus $4,632,385 for repayment of loan amounts) was invested with outside investment managers, with the remaining 30 per cent scheduled to be invested early in the 2008-09 fiscal year.
The Nunatsiavut Government remains committed to investing as much of the upfront Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement funding as necessary in order to generate an interest rate of return to offset costs associated with administration and to ensure funds are available for future generations.
The Nunatsiavut Government passed its third balanced budget in March 2008 for the 2008-09 fiscal year. A total of $29.1 million is expected to be spent in programming, $9 million on the new administrative building in Nain and $13.1 million on administration. The Nunatsiavut Government is expected to receive $29.1 million under the Fiscal Finance Agreement, $6 million from interest revenue, $2.8 million from personal income tax, $1.3 from self-government funding, $1.3 million from the Goods and Services Tax and program revenue, and $2.65 million from the Voisey's Bay mining royalty. A total of $8 million will be acquired from Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement funding.
The 2007-2008 fiscal year has served to strengthen the Nunatsiavut Civil Service, with some 20 new positions being created to improve capacity in all government departments. Some key positions include:
Status of Women Coordinator
Clerk of the Assembly
Director of Youth, Elders and Recreation
Director of Mental Health and Addictions
While there has been much progress, there are still plenty of challenges, particularly with respect to recruiting and retaining staff for the Department of Health and Social Development. As is the case in most Northern regions of the country, Nunatsiavut continues to struggle with a shortage of nurses in its communities. In an attempt to attract qualified personnel, several recruitment fairs were held throughout the year where research and information was compiled on such initiatives as hard-to-recruit benefits packages and exploring how other governments and agencies are tackling the problem.
Combined with annual improvements to policies and procedures, strengthening the capacity of the Nunatsiavut Civil Service should help to secure a well-operating staff that will serve Nunatsiavut well.
The Information Technology (IT) Division continued to make progress in 2007-08 on a wide area network for the Nunatsiavut Government. Nearly all offices are now connected to an internal domain with appropriate firewalls in place. This has been a critical first step in securing a working environment to operate in today's digital age. This has enabled the division to assist various departments in rolling out applications that will enhance the capacity of the Nunatsiavut Civil Service to deliver programs and services.
The division has assisted in the rollout of new database applications for the Registrar of Beneficiaries and the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program. Also, it has assisted the Finance Division in piloting an expansion of the current finance software into an eventual harmonized electronic financial management system, such that all departments and agencies of Nunatsiavut Government are on a common platform and framework.
E-mail today is an essential mode of communication, both within the Nunatsiavut Government itself and with outside agencies. Over the past year, a new e-mail system has been constructed to allow for more secure and reliable communication, as well as to significantly provide a dedicated independent archive of this important record. It is scheduled to go online in May 2008.
Plans began in late 2007 to update and redesign the Nunatsiavut Government website, and a website developer is expected to be hired early in the next fiscal year.
Status of Women
In July 2007, the Nunatsiavut Government hired a coordinator to help in carrying out the objectives of the Status of Women Division.
The division represented Nunatsiavut at several major conferences and events throughout the year, including the 8th Annual National Aboriginal Women in Leadership Conference in Vancouver, the annual meeting of the Newfoundland and Labrador Women's Centers, the Aboriginal Justice Conference in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the Aboriginal Women's Conference in St. John's. The division also participated in the Inuit Women in Business Workshop in Hopedale offered by Pauktuutit.
The president of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Leslie MacLeod, along with provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Patty Pottle, traveled to Makkovik in November to meet and discuss issues with women in the community. It is hoped that similar meetings will be held in other Nunatsiavut communities in the future.
One of the highlights of the year was a women's retreat, held at Tikkoatokak, north of Nain, in late March. Funded by the provincial Aboriginal Women's Violence Prevention Grants Program, with assistance through the Nunatsiavut Department of Health and Social Development, the four-day event was geared towards women who had experienced violence in their lives.
Health and Social Development
The Department of Health and Social Development is mandated to improve the health and social well being of Labrador Inuit, with emphasis being placed on ensuring the health of individuals, families and communities.
The department completed a three-year Regional Health Plan in 2007-08, focusing on its vision, mission and values, program descriptions, goals, objectives and health indicators for each program area. Programming and service delivery centered primarily on nine areas, including:
Non Insured Health Benefits;
communicable disease control;
home and community care;
healthy lifestyles; and
The department's seven community health offices determine which objectives are priorities for their respective communities within the Regional Health Plan. The offices also develop community-specific plans, as was demonstrated during a mock disaster exercise that was held in Makkovik in November 2007. The goal of the exercise was to bring home the harsh realities of the consequences of drinking and driving. The realism portrayed made the event a huge success.
Non-insured Health Benefits
This program has undergone significant changes in the past year. On April 1, 2007 the department assumed administration of the program for all Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. This has meant significant changes in staffing and a new way of doing business. The department has expanded the electronic billing system for drugs, equipment and supplies and has included the processing of dental claims.
A dental service was implemented in Nunatsiavut in June 2007, with traveling dentists dedicated to each community. Additional dental service was provided to assist in any backlogs.
A new position (Client Liaison Worker) has been created at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to assist clients in navigating the health system and to assist in interpreter services.
A return in-service agreement has been signed with a Beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement to attend a dental program with the goal of providing services within Nunatsiavut.
A tuberculosis manual for Nunatsiavut was launched in September 2007 at a workshop in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
A new immunization program against human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can lead to cervical cancer, was launched in October with 100 percent uptake in the region.
A new position was created in Rigolet (Community Health Aide) in response to nursing shortages.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
A prenatal education program, called Healthy You, Healthy Me, was developed by the department and is being delivered by public health staff in all Nunatsiavut communities. The program provides participants with information and offers support on improving their health during pregnancy in an up-to-date format that is culturally relevant to an Inuit population. By including information on a variety of pregnancy related topics, the department takes a broad approach to addressing prevention of alcohol-affected births in Inuit communities. Through this program, the department encourages a healthy maternal lifestyle that will result in healthy beginnings for a new generation of Inuit.
Inuit Curriculum Tool Kit
This past year the department launched the Inuit Curriculum Tool Kit, which contains various resources and materials for a child-care centre. The intent of the kit is to provide children and staff with resources that reflect Inuit or northern life. The child-care staff works very hard at promoting the culture and language in the child-care setting and the kit will help them achieve this goal. The funding for the kit was provided by the Inuit Childcare Initiative and the provincial Department of Health and Community Services.
Residential Schools Gathering
A residential schools gathering was held at Gosling Lake December 7-10, 2007. A total of 21 survivors from Nunatsiavut and Upper Lake Melville participated.
Child and Youth Mental Health Forum
A Child and Youth Mental Health Forum was held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay March 5-6, 2008. The purpose of the forum was to provide an opportunity for all partners involved in the delivery of mental health services to come together to discuss mental health issues, current resources and programs, strengths and areas requiring improvement, and an orientation to Inuit/First Nations cultures.
Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative
Our lifestyle has changed dramatically over the last 50 years and sometimes this change comes at a price. One of those prices is the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. While the rates for Inuit are low, the rates for aboriginal people around the world are on the rise. It is very important that steps be taken now to train community front-line workers in the area of Diabetes awareness, prevention and education. In 2007-08, eight staff members began a 12 module Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative training program offered by Health Canada. This training offers a broad range of knowledge and skills in prevention and management.
Education and Economic Development
Education and training continues to be a major priority for the Nunatsiavut Government. By determining best opportunities and use of natural and human resources, the department strives to foster a positive climate that will provide long-term economic stability for Nunatsiavut and Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement no matter where they live.
Post Secondary Student Support Program
This program provides financial assistance to eligible Inuit wishing to further pursue their education. The program is administered from St. John's, Newfoundland and is complemented by the Native Liaison Officer at Memorial University and the Education Counselor Office in Makkovik.
A total of 208 full and part-time students registered for the 2007-08 academic year in a variety of programs at the college and university levels. Throughout the year, 52 of these students discontinued their studies citing such reasons as personal, medical, change of goals and academic. Some 32 of the remaining students should be eligible to graduate, pending successful completion of the current year, and 124 students plan to continue with their studies in 2008-09. In addition, more than 140 new applications have been received for the fall semester.
Students registered in the Inuit Nursing Access Program/Collaborative Nursing Program will finish their studies in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in May and will travel to Corner Brook in August to begin their final two years of study. Of the 19 students registered, only six will continue to Corner Brook in year three of the Bachelor of Nursing Program. An additional four students, who had taken a leave of absence for one year, are expected to return in September for their second year of the program.
Efforts have been undertaken to address the critical shortage of social workers in Labrador. Contact was made with St. Thomas University during the winter on the possibility of having the institution deliver a post-degree program in Happy Valley-Goose Bay starting as early as September 2008. Talks were also held with McGill University regarding offering a full social work degree program in Happy Valley-Goose Bay starting in September 2009.
Contact has also been made with Memorial University towards establishing a working group to develop a new teacher education program for Labrador. The intent is to have the program ready for implementation for either September 2009 or 2010.
The Nunatsiavut Government entered into a "return-in-service" agreement to train an individual to become a licensed dentist, with implementation scheduled for September 2008. A second contract is being negotiated for a Masters in Business Administration.
A return-in-service agreement is a legal contract that requires persons being trained to return to work with the Nunatsiavut Government for a specified period of time. This is a new concept for the Nunatsiavut Government which will likely become the norm as a method to fill hard to recruit positions.
This program is funded through an agreement with Service Canada as part of the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Strategy (AHRDS) for Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. Support is available in a wide range of initiatives, from academic upgrading, pre-employment training and wage subsidies for work experience to new business self employment through labor market programs. During the past year, funds were provided for training in various fields including Automotive Service Technician, Construction/Industrial Electrical, Heavy Duty Operator/Service Technician, Mining Technician, Culinary Arts, Interpreter/Translator and Marine Emergency Duties (MED).
Inuit Pathways has an agreement with the Department of Health and Social Development to support Inuit childcare through its allocation under the First Nations Inuit Childcare Initiative. This agreement helps fund programming at day-care centres in Nunatsiavut. Inuit Pathways also supports projects related to youth training and employment through a memorandum of understanding with the Labrador Inuit Youth Division.
There is also a budget allocation for programs for persons with disabilities. These funds are used to provide extra support to clients who face barriers to skills development or work experience.
During the past year, Inuit Pathways was also responsible for administering the Suliatsak Funding Program - the Inuit allocation of Service Canada's post Voisey's Bay funds. These funds were used to provide valuable work experience and training to Beneficiaries for work related to Voisey's Bay and spin-off industries.
The Labrador Inuit Development Corporation (LIDC) was incorporated under Canadian Law in 1982 as the economic development arm of the Labrador Inuit Association (LIA), now the Nunatsiavut Government. The mandate of LIDC is to improve living conditions of the Labrador Inuit by providing employment opportunities, with particular focus on traditional Inuit skills, and to promote education and training of Inuit to meet the requirements of today's labour market.
During the past year, LIDC went through a process of change on several fronts.
In October 2007, the newest drugstore in the Labrador region opened its doors in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, employing a pharmacist, a pharmacy technician, as well as a staff of seven.
LIDC's long standing involvement in the northern fishery was scaled back to a more manageable level of operations, and a new general manager was hired to oversee the day-to-day business operations.
Torngait Services Inc. (TSI) has been a successful joint venture since the start of the Voisey's Bay Nickel Project. TSI employed more than 70 people at the site during 2007-08, with nearly 69 per cent being Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
As the Inuit community of Postville enjoys high employment thanks to mineral exploration, so does the continued success of Post Mill Lumber. From fuel farms to pulpwood, from core box manufacturing to aggregate supply, Post Mill enjoyed a successful year in 2007-08, and its future is bright as it explores new markets, both north and south of the Labrador region.
Since the first cut was made in 1992, the Ten Mile Bay quarry is poised to celebrate its sixteenth year of production and manufacturing. The Torngait Ujaganniavingit Corporation continues to effectively manage quarry operations, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of LIDC. Boasting 85 per cent Inuit employment in 2007-08, the quarry continues to be the jewel in the crown of LIDC success stories. The Ten Mile Bay site continues to be the most northerly quarry in Canada and the only quarry in the world run exclusively by Inuit. The Labradorite product, known in the natural stone industry world as "Blue Eyes", is sold in nearly 20 countries through a partnership with Italian-based Demetra srl.
The Hopedale Stone Plant was established in 2001 to cut and polish second choice blocks from the Ten Mile Bay quarry. The main thrust has been towards the polished Labradorite memorial headstone sales, with a renewed effort in the slab/countertop marketplace. A combination of new diamond wire rock saws with effective Italian polishing equipment, delivers top grade products each and every time. This 6,200 sq ft facility boasts a near 100 per cent Inuit workforce, employing six to eight full-time seasonal workers.
Lands and Natural Resources
The Department of Lands and Natural Resources is mandated to protect renewable resources and gain maximum benefits from non-renewable resources, while minimizing the impact on human well-being, Inuit cultural heritage and the natural environment. The department is separated into three divisions under separate directorships: Lands and Non-Renewable Resources; Renewable Resources; and Environment. With a dedicated staff of policy specialists, researchers, technicians, monitors and conservation officers, the department is also responsible for implementing Nunatsiavut's Impacts and Benefits Agreements for the Voisey's Bay mine and the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve.
Regional Planning Authority
The Regional Planning Authority continues to work on the Nunatsiavut Land Use Plan, a process that is now slated for completion by 2011. A full-time planner has been hired and is now working on developing the details of the plan.
Uranium Mining and Milling
A motion to amend the Labrador Inuit Lands Act to prohibit the mining and milling of uranium on Inuit Lands was brought forward to the Nunatsiavut Assembly in October 2007. Public consultation and gathering of expert information on the issue of uranium mining was undertaken by Nunatsiavut Government staff and Assembly members in preparation for a vote during the spring 2008 sitting of the Assembly.
Research on the marine ecosystem in Anaktalak, Saglek and Nachvak Fiords (Nunatsiavut Nuluak Project) continued in 2007, both inshore and from the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen. Samples of sculpin, char, seal, zoo and phytoplankton, water and sediment were taken from all three areas to monitor changes in the environment due to climate change and industrialization. A Nunatsiavut Nuluak Outreach Office was opened in Nain.
Some 220 Inuit were employed at Voisey's Bay during the year, representing more than 42 per cent of the workforce at the mining site. Winter shipping went fairly well this past year. Testing was carried out on a structure that could be used as a bridge when the ice takes too long to refreeze. When temperatures are warmer, this will provide an alternate way of crossing the tracks left by ships.
Conservation Officer Training Program
The Renewable Resources Division continued its Conservation Officer Training Program during 2007-08. Three modules were completed by the seven conservation officers along with training of additional Beneficiaries who may avail of future employment opportunities. Training is expected to be completed in November 2008.
Former Military Site at Hopedale
An environmental risk assessment of the contamination at the former military site in Hopedale was undertaken. Discussions began with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador over their obligations to clean up all associated contamination and its plans to do so beginning in 2008.
The Nunatsiavut Government Research Office was opened in Nain. This is now the first point of contact for all researchers planning to conduct work in Nunatsiavut.
Work continued in 2007-08 towards the full establishment of the Joint Secretariat and fulfillment of duties of the Torngat Wildlife and Plans and Joint Fisheries Co-Management Boards.
The Department of Lands and Natural Resources was successful in securing three more years of ArcticNet-funded research on the marine and terrestrial environment in Nunatsiavut. The work will begin in 2008, and will involve partnerships with the Environmental Sciences Group, Parks Canada, Vale Inco, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of National Defense.
Work also progressed on the establishment of a lands administration system, and the development of environmental legislation – including standards for quarrying on Labrador Inuit Lands and guidelines for roads, trails and stream crossings.
Culture, Recreation and Tourism
The Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism is mandated to ensure the preservation of Inuit language, culture and traditions; to promote recreation and sport; to advance youth and elder issues; and to position Nunatsiavut as an international tourism destination.
To help achieve this mandate, the Nunatsiavut Government appointed a Deputy Minister to the department in October 2007, with the added portfolio of Director for the Division of Youth, Elders and Recreation.
Language and Culture
The Torngâsok Cultural Centre conducted community consultations during the summer of 2007 to seek future direction from Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. A number of recommendations resulted from the consultation process, including the need to:
establish a community-based advisory committee;
develop closer ties with the Labrador School Board, the provincial Department of Education and community heritage groups;
establish an inventory of all private and public Inuit collections;
construct a building for Torngâsok;
develop programs and services that are accessible, such as webbased or traveling exhibits; and
co-operate with artisans to expand the industry.
Work also continued on the restoration of the Hebron Moravian Mission building, thanks to a $1.3 million, two-year contribution agreement between the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the provincial Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and the Nunatsiavut Government. Plans for 2008-09 include the development of a strategic plan, taking into account the cultural and tourism aspects of the site.
The preservation and promotion of the Labrador Inuit language is very important for our society as a whole. It helps define us as a people, interwoven in a cultural fabric that has been passed on since time immemorial. The fall of 2007 saw the launch of Labradorimi Ulinnaisigutet, the Inuktitut-English dictionary, the Rosetta Stone language learning software, as well as Unikkâlautta, a collection of stories told during a storytelling festival hosted by the Torngâsok Cultural Centre in May 2006. The launch of the books and the Rosetta Stone software was the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication. Realizing there is still much work to be done, Torngâsok has embarked on a long-term plan to revitalize Inuttitut and to maintain it in perpetuity.
In accordance with the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, title to all archeological material found within Labrador Inuit Lands is vested with the Nunatsiavut Government. A number of initiatives were undertaken during the summer of 2007 with the issuance of nine research permits. Further initiatives will be carried out during the summer of 2008.
Youth and Elders
The division is responsible for the administration and organization of the Rising Youth Council, which is made up of representatives from all communities of Nunatsiavut, North West River and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. It meets throughout the year to plan and discuss issues of importance to Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
Following a training session in Nain during the summer of 2007, which included a threeday strategic planning workshop for the Rising Youth Council, the idea of holding a Youth and Elders Conference was born. The conference would aim to link the two generations, allowing elders to pass on language, culture and traditional Inuit values.
A Celebrate Life Workshop, involving Nunatsiavut's Department of Health and Social Development, was held in December 2007 at Jens Haven School in Nain for Grade 7 to Level III students.
Additionally, preliminary planning was carried out for the 15th Annual Labrador Inuit Youth Symposium scheduled for Rigolet in May 2008, as well as for an elders conference planned for the fall of 2008.
This division assumed control of the administration of the Torngat Recreation Commission in 2007. Previously funded and administered by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the commission held its first meeting under the Nunatsiavut Government in January 2008.
The division liaised with the organizing committee for the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and developed a proposal for support for participation of Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. It also provided input into the Newfoundland and Labrador North American Indigenous Games team, in preparation for the 2008 Games being held in British Columbia in August.
A major focus of the Department in 2007-08 was the development of a Tourism Strategic Plan.
Under the auspices of Tourism Nunatsiavut - which was formed in April 2006 following the successful Partnerships and Planning for Tourism Conference held in Nain in January 2006 – research was carried out in a number of areas including marketing, tourism impact benchmarking, and tourism inventory and gap analysis.
A series of "experiential tourism workshops", labeled Stepping Stones, was held throughout Nunatsiavut during July 2007. The workshops examined local inventories, community collaboration, how to create experiences that reflect people and their traditions, culture and nature of Nunatsiavut.
Community consultations were held in January 2008 to review the draft Tourism Strategic Plan - which was subsequently presented to the Nunatsiavut Government's Executive Council in early March 2008.
In an effort to raise awareness, Tourism Nunatsiavut also participated in a number of events during the year, including Expo Labrador in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in June and the Northern Lights Conference and Trade Show in Ottawa from January 30 to February 2, 2008.
Nunatsiavut also hosted two cruise ship visits during the summer of 2007. Cruise North visited Rigolet, with an excursion to Mugford Tickle, while Adventure Canada visited the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve and Hopedale. In February 2008, Nunatsiavut secured a seat on the Cruise Association of Newfoundland and Labrador's Board of Directors. More cruise ships are expected to visit during the summer of 2008.
Parks Canada hosted a camp at Kangigluasuk, Saglek Bay, in the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve from August 3-10, 2007. The purpose of the camp was to discuss tourism opportunities as it relates to the park and its integration with Nunatsiavut communities.
Nunatsiavut's profile as a tourism destination was raised during Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador's Annual General Assembly in Gander in February 2008.
After holding consultations in the five Inuit communities and Upper Lake Melville in January and February 2008, the brand statement "Nunatsiavut: Adventures and Mysteries for the Labrador Inuit" was finalized. A creative design is expected to be unveiled early in the 2008-09 fiscal year.
The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement brings clarity to land ownership and the management of resources in northern Labrador, allowing Labrador Inuit to pursue economic development opportunities consistent with their cultural values. Settling this land claims agreement, the first and only in Newfoundland and Labrador to date, creates a stable environment for investment – benefiting Labrador Inuit and all other citizens of the province.
Since December 1, 2005, when the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement came into effect, provincial departments and agencies have worked actively with Nunatsiavut Government elected representatives and officials. In addition to working on mechanisms to effectively implement the land claims agreement, the Nunatsiavut Government was consulted on major government initiatives such as the province's Energy Plan, Lower Churchill Project, Coastal Issues Scan, and administration of justice.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to work closely with the Nunatsiavut Government and the federal government on implementation.
Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
The Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs serves as the primary coordinating and monitoring centre for implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. In addition to participating in the Implementation Committee and Implementation Working Group meetings with the Nunatsiavut Government and the Government of Canada, the department continues to review government legislation, policies and programs to ensure compliance with the land claims agreement.
Significant progress has been made in establishing mechanisms by which provincial departments and agencies are advised of obligations under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. The Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs prepared information bulletins and presentations for key internal and external stakeholders, including the mining industry, outfitters, archaeologists, recreational hunters and fishers. In addition, the department created an electronic distribution list by which representatives of provincial departments and agencies were advised of obligations under the land claims agreement, and of key developments in the Nunatsiavut Government.
Departmental staff assisted the Lands Branch of the Department of Environment and Conservation with the transfer of Crown lands to the Inuit Community Governments in accordance with the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
Monitoring mechanisms were discussed at Implementation Committee meetings, involving representatives of the federal, provincial and Nunatsiavut governments. Refinement of funding agreements and reporting processes were also discussed at these meetings and with the chairs of the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board and the Torngat Fisheries Board.
During the reporting period, the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs advised the Regional Planning Authority of its reporting responsibilities under the province's Transparency and Accountability legislation, and provided support to the authority in the preparation of its Transition Plan and Annual Performance Report for 2007-08.
The department has been actively engaged with the co-management boards. Updates on the boards' activities are provided under 'Implementation Bodies' section of this report.
Department of Environment and Conservation
The Department of Environment and Conservation is responsible for a wide range of implementation responsibilities, including land surveys for Labrador Inuit Lands and settlement area boundaries, land management, wildlife management, environmental assessment, and parks.
Water Resources Management Division
The Water Resources Management Division of the Department of Environment and Conservation issued 18 temporary water use licenses for mineral exploration projects in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area, both outside and on Labrador Inuit Lands.
In two seminars and one hands-on training session held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Labrador City, the division trained 13 municipal water system operators from the Inuit communities of Makkovik (one), Nain (three), Hopedale (three), and Postville (two) as well as from Torngait Services Inc. (four).
The division issued a permit to the Inuit community of Nain to construct Phase 5 of the subdivision extension. It also issued a permit for two culvert crossings to provide access to a proposed sand quarry in Makkovik, and issued permits to operate wastewater collection systems to Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik and Postville.
The division also scheduled drinking water quality monitoring, including 11 source inorganic samples, 12 tap inorganic samples, 18 THM and six HAA samples.
The Water Resources Management Division consulted with (in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area) and obtained consents from (in Labrador Inuit Lands) the Nunatsiavut Government on all activities completed in 2007-08.
The Lands Branch completed the descriptions for those Crown lands necessary for transfer to the Inuit Community Governments. The transfers, except for Hopedale, have been completed.
The Branch's process of providing ministerial consent for the transfer and assignment of commercial outfitting titles within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area has been modified to ensure Nunatsiavut Government's right of first refusal. As well, the branch's process for the acceptance of Crown land applications for new commercial outfitting camps within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area has been modified to ensure the Nunatsiavut Government's right of first refusal.
Natural Heritage Branch (Wildlife Division)
In cooperation with the Nunatsiavut Government, the Wildlife Division established an interim subsistence harvest limit for moose within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. A total of 15 licences have been dispersed to Nunatsiavut for distribution to Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
In partnership with the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board, a moose census was conducted for Moose Management Area 55. A major component of this area is within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area.
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation
The Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is responsible for implementation issues related to outfitting operations and tourism, as well as archaeology and cultural resources held by the Provincial Museum.
Product Development Division
Kristy Sheppard, Marketing Director for Nunatsiavut, sat on the steering committee for the development of a Winter Tourism Strategy for the province and will represent Nunatsiavut as the department implements the strategy.
The Nunatsiavut Government has agreed to partner with the Cain's Quest snowmobile race organizers to bring the event into Nunatsiavut.
The Product Development Division has been proactive through work with the Destination Labrador, which has Nunatsiavut representation, in marketing Labrador as a tourism destination. As well, the Nunatsiavut Government is included in consultations for a Cultural Tourism Strategy for the province.
Provincial Archaeology Office
The Provincial Archaeology Office held consultations with the Nunatsiavut Government on permit applications in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area, and on the discovery of Inuit human remains.
Nunatsiavut's new archaeologist was afforded the opportunity to work with the provincial office to become familiar with archaeological resource management issues. The office also assisted the archaeologist in preparing a Cultural Property Export Permit to temporarily allow artifacts from the Labrador Inuit Settlement to leave Canada for research purposes. The artifacts have to be cleared through Canada Customs before they leave the country.
The provincial office provided $2,950 in funding to the Hopedale Archaeology Project to assist archaeological research within Nunatsiavut. This multi-year project seeks to understand archaeologically, how Labrador Inuit dealt with material, and ideological changes introduced by German Moravian Missionaries at Hopedale - the third mission settled in 1782. Such a project provides a cultural experience for Inuit youth as well as significantly expands awareness and appreciation of the 18th and 19th Century Inuit and Moravian tenure in northern Labrador.
The provincial office is also a member of the Nain Cultural Centre Working Group.
Department of Health and Community Services
The Department of Health and Community Services provides a leadership role for programs that operate under a legislative framework, provincial policy, and/or provincial program standards. The department works in collaboration with regional health authorities to deliver a range of health and community services to the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Meetings were held with elected representatives and officials of the Nunatsiavut Government to discuss health and community services delivery to Inuit.
Department of Natural Resources
The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for carrying out requirements of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement with respect to forestry and mineral exploration and development, including calculation of payments owing to the Nunatsiavut Government from provincial royalty taxes for mineral exploration and development in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area.
The Forestry Branch conducted aerial photography within Kaipokok Bay – Forest Management District 23 – for forest inventory purposes. The branch initiated contact with the Nunatsiavut Government regarding the process towards drafting the Forest Management District 23 five-year operating plan to be submitted in the fall of 2008.
In addition, the branch issued 90 harvesting permits in Area 12E, near Happy Valley-Goose Bay, as well as assisted Nunatsiavut Government conservation officers with nuisance wildlife problems when requested.
The Mines Branch worked with the Nunatsiavut Government under the newly-established mineral exploration standards regulations on Labrador Inuit Lands, to complete operations for the 2007 and most of the 2008 mineral exploration seasons. Since the standards came into effect on March 30, 2007, a total of 45 work plans have been approved for exploration programs within Labrador Inuit Lands, security deposits totaling $634,630 have been posted, and three inspection trips were completed.
The system developed to calculate payments owing to the Nunatsiavut Government related to fees and revenues from the administration of mineral rights is working well, and revenue sharing payments for sub-surface resources in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area and the Voisey's Bay area are being routinely paid on schedule.
Department of Municipal Affairs
The Department of Municipal Affairs is responsible for land use planning and, along with the Nunatsiavut Government, will bring into effect a land use plan for the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. The land use plan will be prepared under the direction of the Regional Planning Authority, whose members are jointly appointed by the Nunatsiavut Government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The department participated in an orientation session for the Regional Planning Authority in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in April 2007. Departmental staff also participated in the authority's orientation visit to the five Inuit communities, from October 15 - 19, 2007. Departmental officials assisted in the recruitment of a planner, who was appointed by the provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs, upon recommendation of the Regional Planning Authority. The department provided an orientation for the planner, and continues to provide support for the Regional Planning Authority.
The Labrador regional office of the Department of Municipal Affairs continues to provide administrative support to the Nunatsiavut Government. Working under the direction of the Joint Management Committee, the regional office is responsible for the development, implementation and administration of the Nunatsiavut Government Capital Works Program. This service has been provided by the regional office since the establishment of the Nunatsiavut Government in December 2005. Projects funded include water and sewer, roads, municipal buildings, recreation and equipment purchases. The funding allocation for the 2008-09 program is $5.5 million.
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is responsible for obligations in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement associated with fish processing and aquaculture, including offering the Nunatsiavut Government the right of first refusal to acquire publicly-owned fish plants in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area.
The department is working to transfer ownership of the fish plant facilities and land in Hopedale to the Inuit Community Government, which plans to establish a cold storage unit on the premises.
The department continues to provide assistance to the Nunatsiavut Government as it works to develop a fisheries strategy.
Public Service Commission
The Public Service Commission is responsible for hiring Government of Newfoundland and Labrador employees. It monitors staffing in Inuit communities to ensure that Inuit preference obligations are met as specified in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, which stipulates that qualified Inuit be given preference for employment in Inuit communities, until employment of Inuit is representative of the population of Inuit to non-Inuit in these communities. At present, about 70 per cent of provincial employees in the communities are Inuit, whereas about 90 per cent of the population in these communities is Inuit. During this fiscal year, the commission ensured proper communication and consultation with departments and agencies pertaining to the Public Service Commission Act regarding staffing in Labrador Inuit communities.
The commission also filled all vacancies according to the requirements of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, and developed draft policies and procedures related to the Inuit preference hiring policy. In addition, consultations occurred with the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, Treasury Board Secretariat's Collective Bargaining Division and the Department of Justice, to development a staffing policy to address this issue. By the end of the fiscal year, the draft policy had been forwarded to the Nunatsiavut Government for feedback. Once this feedback is received and any necessary adjustments made, the policy will be approved.
Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board
During 2007-08, the Nunatsiavut Government and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board co-chaired the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Labrador offshore area. The board notified the Nunatsiavut Government of offshore seismic activity and of the nomination of offshore lands, and held a stakeholder session in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in June 2007.
The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement symbolizes Canada's hope for Labrador Inuit and all Canadians in sharing a future of mutual recognition and respect.
Through a coordinated effort of the Implementation Committee, the Atlantic Regional Federal Caucus and the efforts of all individual governments involved, the Government of Canada is committed to meeting the obligations of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
The Government of Canada monitors the implementation of the agreement and fosters compliance with the implementation plan; provides an annual report on the implementation of the agreement; and makes recommendations to the three parties on the renewal of the implementation plan beyond the initial period.
Through the signing of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, the Government of Canada has established a positive relationship with the Nunatsiavut Government, based on mutual respect, recognition and the accommodation of Inuit rights and title.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada holds primary, but not exclusive, responsibility for two separate yet complementary mandates: Indian and Inuit Affairs and Northern Development. The department is responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North in collaboration with several other federal departments, First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, the provincial and territorial governments, the circumpolar governments, service delivery agents, and private sector and non-governmental organizations.
The department's mission, in fulfilling these complex mandates, is to support First Nations and Inuit — and in Canada's North, all Northerners, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis — in achieving their social and economic aspirations in developing healthy, sustainable communities, and in more fully participating in and benefiting from Canada's political, social and economic development.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada negotiates comprehensive land claims, specific land claims, and self-government agreements on behalf of the federal government. It oversees implementation of settlements that promote social and economic development, and provides a wide range of funding to all forms of Aboriginal governments. The department's responsibilities are shaped by a number of statutes, negotiated agreements and related legal decisions.
The Implementation Branch of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is responsible for developing policies in relation to implementation, negotiating implementation plans, and carrying out the day-to-day management of implementing land claims and self-government agreements. The Implementation Management Directorate (Nunavut and Nunatsiavut) is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the obligations contained in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Implementation Plan among all federal government departments involved, ensuring a government-wide commitment to implementation. The directorate is also responsible for building solid relationships with the Nunatsiavut Government, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and members of the various implementing bodies for the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. A high level of respect, regularized contact, and openness of communication are the standards for achieving an implementation process that all parties can consider a success.
The Director of the directorate is the member appointed to the Implementation Committee on behalf of Canada. The director's primary responsibility is to represent the interests of the Government of Canada. The Atlantic Region Federal Caucus plays a vital role in ensuring that Canada's Implementation Committee member is kept informed of key priorities and issues across all government departments.
During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the Implementation Branch of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada played a vital role in coordinating implementation issues between the Nunatsiavut Government, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and federal government departments. Activities included:
monitoring federal land claim implementation obligations contained in the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement;
negotiating and monitoring funding arrangements with various implementing bodies having obligations under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement;
providing funding to the Nunatsiavut Government and implemention bodies;
managing discussions on proposed amendments to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement; and
publishing the annual implementation report of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
The branch participated in four implementation committee meetings during the 2007- 08 fiscal year. In addition to having an implementation committee – consisting of one representative from the Nunatsiavut Government, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Government of Canada – the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement also consists of an Implementation Committee Working Group, which is made up of working level officials from each party that meet on an on-going basis. An Annual Report Working Group was also struck that included one member from each party, demonstrating the strong commitment to work together in making the implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement a truly collaborative effort.
Finally, the branch began preparations for the upcoming review of the Fiscal Financing Agreement for the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, set to formally begin in the fall of 2008. The Fiscal Financing Agreement outlines the amount of funding to be provided to the Nunatsiavut Government from the federal government on an annual basis, and describes the scope of the programs and services that are covered. A preliminary draft Terms of Reference for the review was drafted in March 2008 and was shared with the Nunatsiavut Government.
Atlantic Region Federal Caucus
The Atlantic Region Federal Caucus continues to play a fundamental role in the operational implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. In addition to providing an "integrated approach" and acting in an advisory capacity to the Government of Canada representative on the Implementation Committee, the caucus serves as a discussion point for operational issues that may have an impact on implementation.
During the 2007-08 fiscal year, the caucus provided valuable input to the national consultation process that reviewed comprehensive land claim implementation as a means to sharing best practices, concerns, and new and innovative approaches to implementation matters.
The caucus membership includes representatives from Health Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Parks Canada, Transport Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and Canadian Heritage.
It is also the forum in which general "issues" can be raised and solutions sought to the benefit of all member departments as it applies to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
The caucus has continued to maintain an updated "obligations workplan" arising out of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement to ensure implementation progress and to identify incidental obligations as they arise. "Best practices" continue to emerge as well as "feedback" and considerations for any future land claim agreements. The caucus is proud of the new territory that it is charting in Atlantic Canada, and in how it is working with the Nunatsiavut Government in implementing the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
Inuit Relations Secretariat
The Inuit Relations Secretariat engages in outreach programs, research and policy development in relation to Inuit issues. It works with Inuit organizations, federal departments and agencies, and other stakeholders to bring greater coherence, relevance and effectiveness to the programs and policies of the Government of Canada affecting Inuit in Canada.
The secretariat assists in addressing federal policy and program development to ensure Inuit interests are considered by:
working collaboratively across the federal government and with provincial and territorial governments;
participating in policy development issues affecting Inuit within Indian and Northern Affairs Canada;
analyzing and providing advice on existing and proposed federal policies and programs; and
facilitating research on Inuit issues in partnership with other organizations.
The secretariat is headed by an Executive Director who reports to the Deputy Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and coordinates the activities of the Interdepartmental Directors General Standing Committee on Inuit issues. The secretariat collaborates with Inuit organizations, as well as with provincial and territorial governments.
In the 2007-08 fiscal year, the Implementation Branch and Inuit Relations Secretariat began engaging in regular contact prior to and/or following implementation committee meetings for the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement to keep Canada's committee member apprised of emerging Inuit issues. This increased communication also keeps the Inuit Relations Secretariat aware of key implementation activities. Through improved communication, the various parts of Indian and Northern Affairs involved in Inuit affairs are coming together to identify areas of common interest where they can work together.
Fisheries and Oceans
On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's scientific, ecological, social and economic interests in oceans and fresh waters.
DFO is a national and international leader in marine safety and in the management of oceans and freshwater resources. Departmental activities and presence on Canadian waters help to ensure the safe movement of people and goods. As a sustainable development department, DFO will integrate environment, economic and social perspectives to ensure Canada's oceans and freshwater resources benefit this generation and those to come.
The department's guiding legislation includes the Oceans Act, which charges the Minister with leading oceans management and providing coast guard and hydrographic services on behalf of the Government of Canada, and the Fisheries Act, which confers responsibility to the Minister for the management of fisheries, habitat and aquaculture. The department is also one of the three responsible authorities under the Species at Risk Act.
Working Group on Implementation
Senior management for both the Nunatsiavut Government and DFO formally meet on a regular basis, reflective of their active engagement on this agenda and their mutual interest in discussion of priority policies and issues.
An Implementation Working Group was formed with representatives from the Nunatsiavut Government and DFO in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. The group serves as an effective mechanism to deal with ongoing issues respecting implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, and formally meets on a regular basis to discuss progress on implementation. As well, operational fisheries management processes are addressing on a daily basis to ensure an orderly and well managed fishery.
DFO staff continue to work on enabling legislation and related required regulatory amendments in order to ensure that the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement can be effectively implemented to reflect the Inuit domestic fishery. Examples of these include Newfoundland and Labrador fishery regulations, Atlantic fishery regulations, marine mammal regulations, the Fisheries General Regulations as well as Aboriginal communal fishery license regulations.
Torngat Joint Fisheries Board
DFO has been actively engaged with the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board, developing and presenting information at an orientation session and providing support as required from area and region offices. The department has appointed two members to represent Canada on the board. An ongoing rapport with the department and the board facilitates communication on all emerging policy questions or related operational issues. As the board becomes fully operational, other issues will be addressed as needed.
Upper Lake Melville Food Fishing Arrangement
The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement requires the establishment of a food fishing arrangement in Upper Lake Melville for Beneficiaries living outside of the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. Negotiations toward a fisheries agreement between the Nunatsiavut Government and DFO are ongoing. In the interim, in order to facilitate access for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 fishing seasons, communal licences were negotiated for the Upper Lake Melville area, providing Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement (residing in Upper Lake Melville) with access to a food fishery for salmon, trout and char.
Inuit Domestic Harvest Levels
The fisheries chapter of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement contains provisions for the establishment of Inuit Domestic Harvest Levels to protect Inuit interests in fish species utilized in food, social and ceremonial fisheries. To this end, DFO has been engaged, along with the Nunatsiavut Government and Memorial University, in the development of a process to aid the development of harvest levels. This effort is currently ongoing, and final decisions have yet been taken.
Efforts of the Implementation Working Group have assisted this process to date, including agreements on salmon harvest levels in both the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area and Upper Lake Melville. As well, approaches for salmon, trout and char net fisheries have been defined, which include appropriate consideration of multi-sea winter salmon conservation concerns.
Work will be undertaken in the future to address an Oceans and Marine Management Strategy and Implementation Plan. This will include addressing Marine Protected Areas.
Work has been ongoing to develop input for the Canadian Environment Assessment Act process, as it relates to DFO's mandate. This approach includes development of information/awareness presentations. As of March 31, 2008 the only project registered for environmental assessment that has the potential to impact upon Labrador Inuit Lands or the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area, from a DFO mandate perspective, is the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric generation project.
Parks Canada: Building our Relationships - Implementing our Obligations
When the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement came into effect on December 1, 2005, Canada and the Labrador Inuit Association signed the Labrador Inuit Park Impacts and Benefits Agreement (PIBA) for the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve of Canada. As well, Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a National Park Reserve of Canada and a National Park of Canada in the Torngat Mountains.
The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement provides for the establishment of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve, which was officially created on December 1, 2005.
The PIBA sets out the role that Labrador Inuit have in the management of the park. It addresses matters connected with the park that might have a detrimental impact on Inuit or that could reasonably confer a benefit on Inuit. It also respects use by Inuit of the land and resources of the park as set out in Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
Nunavik Inuit have rights in what is now the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve based on their traditional use and occupancy of this area. Canada and Makivik have resolved the claim of the Nunavik Inuit respecting Labrador through the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement. Through this agreement, Nunavik Inuit provided their consent to the creation of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve. A condition of this consent included a commitment to negotiate an impacts and benefits agreement between Canada and Makivik Corporation which was signed on December 1, 2006. Through this arrangement, Nunavik Inuit are partners with Parks Canada and the Nunatsiavut Government in the establishment and operation of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve.
Once the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement comes into effect, the Canada National Parks Act will be amended to add the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve to Schedule 1. Parks Canada Agency and the Nunatsiavut Government will sign an amended Labrador Inuit Impacts and Benefits Agreement for the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve of Canada that harmonizes this agreement with the Nunavik Inuit Impacts and Benefits Agreement.
Accordingly, Parks Canada Agency is responsible for the implementation of agreements with both the Nunavik Inuit and the Nunatsiavut Inuit with respect to the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve.
The Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve is operating out of interim office space in Nain, while looking for an appropriate opportunity to collaborate with an appropriate community initiative to incorporate infrastructure needs.
Parks Canada is now partnering with the Nunatsiavut Government to build a new Torngâsok Cultural Centre in Nain. The centre will integrate Parks Canada's infrastructure needs for administration offices and a visitor reception and orientation centre into the new facility. Planning for the centre – undertaken in conjunction with Canadian Heritage, the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency, the Canadian Conservation Institute, as well as with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador – is advancing to the conceptual design phase.
Co-operative management is a defining feature of this new park reserve and is grounded in commitments of both the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the PIBA. The seven-member board is comprised of all Inuit. Board members, along with senior Parks Canada managers and staff, spent a week together in the park reserve in early August 2007. In addition to conducting board business and getting an orientation to their roles and responsibilities, it was an opportunity for Parks Canada to see the landscape through Inuit eyes and to build the relationships that are vital to good co-operative management.
The board also met in Kangiqsualujjuaq (Nunavik) in November 2007.
The board is developing its own priorities, one of which is identifying archaeological work of interest to Inuit and guiding the documentation of Inuit oral histories with respect to the Torngat Mountains.
Parks Canada, in collaboration with the Nunatsiavut Government, operated a base camp at the southern boundary of the park reserve during the second season of operation in 2007. The base camp was set up, and managed by Inuit as a traditional camp. Parks Canada, with the support of Makivik and the Nunatsiavut Government, used the base camp as an opportunity to gather Inuit knowledge to use in the development of the first State of the Park Report that is currently in the final draft form. Among other things, the report sets out a collective vision for the park. Through this process it has been agreed that one of the indicators for monitoring the future health of the park will be the presence of Inuit on the land.
After just two years of operation, the experience at the base camp and the partnership created with Nunavik and Nunatsiavut Inuit have received national recognition within the Parks Canada system. The Chief Executive Officer's Award of Excellence for Engaging Partners was awarded to William Barbour, a member of the Nunatsiavut Government, the members of the Co-operative Management Board and the staff of the Torngat Mountains National Park of Canada. The award was based on "the base camp and the partnerships as an example to the country of an open and trusting relationship moving forward to achieve the Parks Canada mandate of memorable visitor experience, education, and ecological integrity."
This approach will continue to facilitate Parks Canada's ability to meet the spirit and intent of its obligations under our respective agreements with Nunavik and Labrador Inuit.
The Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve Feasibility Study continued throughout this period, and it is anticipated that the Steering Committee will be in a position in early summer 2008 to make its recommendation as to whether or not a national park is feasible. Parks Canada continues to consult with the Nunatsiavut Government through the Steering Committee process.
Environment Canada's overall mandate is to preserve and enhance the quality of the natural environment and its renewable resources, including migratory birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna. Environment Canada is also mandated to forecast weather and environmental change, conserve and protect Canada's water resources, enforce rules relating to boundary waters, and coordinate environmental policies and programs for the federal government.
In fulfilling its mandate, Environment Canada derives its authority from a variety of sources, including:
policy (e.g. Federal Water Policy, Wetlands Policy, Gathering Strength); and
cabinet directives (e.g. provision of weather services, negotiate treaties and modern agreements).
Within the context of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, Environment Canada has responsibilities to work with the Nunatsiavut Government on the management of migratory birds and the conservation and protection of species at risk that fall under federal jurisdiction.
With respect to environmental protection matters that fall within its mandate that are deemed important to the Nunatsiavut Government, Environment Canada may become involved in collaborative work pertaining to environmental protection and emergencies. In some cases, Environment Canada may also be required to consult with the Nunatsiavut Government on specific issues pertaining to environmental assessment or environmental emergencies. Environment Canada may also have a role in working with the Nunatsiavut Government on issues related to water and wastewater management, oceans management, national parks and protected areas, species at risk, aspects of fisheries, and enforcement.
The Nunatsiavut Government hired seven community researchers from mid-September to the end of December 2007 to administer a migratory bird harvest survey in all five Labrador Inuit communities and in the Upper Lake Melville area. The harvest survey asked community participants about their harvesting and sharing practices over the last year in relation to Canada geese, black ducks, common eiders, black scoters, surf scoters, whitewinged scoters, common eider eggs, gull eggs, tern eggs, guillemot eggs, salmon, char, and caribou. The survey results have been compiled and the data is currently being analyzed.
Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service conducted aerial surveys of seabird colonies identified as important by Labrador Inuit along the Labrador coast of the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. Targeted species included tern, black guillemot, Atlantic puffin, razor bill, common and thick-billed murre colonies, and gulls. The information from these surveys will be important for determining the local status of bird populations and will help the Nunatsiavut Government and Canadian Wildlife Service determine appropriate local harvest levels. This is required under the terms of the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement.
Banding of black ducks and Canada geese in Labrador this year is contributing to the sustainable management of duck and geese breeding in the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Area and beyond. The banding will help ensure appropriate harvest management plans are in place in areas outside Nunatsiavut and that harvest in more southerly areas is undertaken in a sustainable fashion. Initial survey work was completed in 2006 by staff from the Canadian Wildlife Service based on historic published reports and local knowledge of the area. Given results obtained in 2007, it was determined there was a need to expand the program beyond the site(s) identified, to encompass a broader range of potential banding locations, both within and outside of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Area. In regards to Canada geese, Environment Canada actively sought Labrador Inuit traditional knowledge to inform selection of additional sites where goose banding activities could prove to be successful through contact with the community of Rigolet. Unfortunately, Environment Canada received notification late that the helicopter required for the banding was no longer available. As a result, no attempt was made to band Canada geese in Labrador for the summer of 2008. Environment Canada anticipates re-submitting a proposal for work next year.
The Torngat Secretariat was established to manage the affairs of both the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board and the Torngat Wildlife and Co-Management Board.
A report from William A. Tilleman Professional Corporation has been provided to the boards with advice in regards to establishing priorities and general operational mechanisms. This will be used as a guide along with legal and accounting advice to establish governance tools such as human resource policies, bylaws, financial policies and so forth. Much of these efforts are planned for the 2008-2009 fiscal year when a full complement of staff is expected. The following fiscal year also entailed the set up of a professional office with all electronic equipment in place. An information brochure was developed to inform the general public of the mandates of the boards and secretariat. A website is also planned.
Torngat Joint Fisheries Board
The Torngat Joint Fisheries Board was established pursuant to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. The board consists of seven (7) members: three appointed by the Nunatsiavut Government, two appointed by the Government of Canada, one appointed by the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and a chair nominated by the board and appointed by the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
The primary responsibility of the board is to advise the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on a variety of issues related to the conservation and management of fisheries within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. Some examples of such issues include the establishment of total allowable harvest and catches and allocations, catch controls, fishing effort controls, recreational fisheries management, licensing, harbour management, conservation and management of fish habitat, harvesting of aquatic plants and aquaculture. Also, at the request of either the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans or the Nunatsiavut Government, whichever has relevant jurisdiction, the board may perform any function that relates to any species or stock of fish or aquatic plant, fish habitat or fishery in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area.
The board met five times during the year: May 16 and 17, 2007; June 19, 2007; September 19 and 20, 2007; January 9 and 10, 2008; and March 31, 2008.
Since the the 2006-2007 annual report was submitted in May 31, 2007, an orientation package was developed and used in sessions for board and secretariat staff hired during 2007-2008 year. The board successfully recruited a fisheries biologist who took up her duties in March.
The board concentrated on the development of a database or basic planning tool to set a benchmark for fisheries management in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. Board members have contacted many of the organizations that are currently doing fisheriesrelated work in Labrador or who have done so in the past. All have been co-operative and have offered to provide any information and/or assistance. Discussions have also been held with the Oceans and Habitat Management Branch of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is currently undertaking a community-based coastal resource inventory project for northern Labrador in conjunction with the Nunatsiavut Government. The board is represented on the steering committee for the study, as well as on a similar committee for the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Labrador Shelf being carried out in preparation for potential oil and gas development. All of this up-front information should prove very helpful in the eventual database development. Completion of the database is a priority action item in the biologist's work plan.
In addition to the necessary organizational work to make the board operational and able to fulfill its mandate, discussions on an adjustment of DFO boundary have been held with DFO staff. The board is working with the Nunatsiavut Government and DFO 'species at risk' personnel to determine what information is being collected, what process they are engaging in, how the board can benefit from the information and partnerships, and to determine the level of activity required in this area on the part of the board. The level of activity required in this area on the part of the board and the potential for utilization of co-operative arrangements is also being investigated.
The board plans to inquire with the Professional Certification of Harvesters Board on their process for northern Labrador. The board is researching sea floor habitat mapping and initiating discussions to determine whether or not it is feasible on the Labrador coast and what the priority areas should be. A study to investigate appropriate approaches to the use of counting fences to collect salmon population data has generated considerable discussion on this issue as it is recognized that the state of salmon resources is a very important issue for coastal communities.
Research priorities have been the focus of considerable discussion at board meetings with Nunatsiavut Government staff, DFO, the provincial Department of Fisheries and Agrifoods and other departments and agencies with operations in northern Labrador. Further consultations are required and have been included in the biologist's work plan for 2008-2009.
Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board
The Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board was established pursuant to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. The board consists of seven (7) members: three appointed by the Nunatsiavut Government, two by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, one by the Government of Canada, and a chair who is nominated by the board and appointed by the provincial minister of Environment and Conservation or Natural Resources.
The board has a broad range of powers and responsibilities with respect to the conservation and management of wildlife, plants and habitat within the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. It has the authority to establish, modify or eliminate, when necessary, total allowable harvest for non-migratory wildlife and for plants, and it can recommend conservation and management measures for wildlife, plants and habitat including total allowable harvest for caribou, migratory birds, harvesting restrictions, research respecting conservation, establishment of protected areas, plans for reforestation, establishment of commercial wildlife and commercial plant operations, and a range of other conservation and management activities.
The board met four times during the year: July 10 and 11, 2007; October 16, 2007; December 4, 2007; and March 10, 2008.
The board initiated a moose survey in March 2008 for the Double Mer management zone. A brief summary was completed, but a detailed report of the results was not received by year's end.
There has been no progress on the sensitive and important habitats project. The board was advised that it could avail of a report compiled by the Newfoundland and Labrador government on sensitive areas.
The board continues with identification of research and management priorities for the new fiscal year and two competitions for a wildlife and plants biologist were initiated. Hiring will take place in the new fiscal year. The board plans to initiate information and consultation sessions in Labrador Inuit Settlement Area communities in the new fiscal year. Board activities are anticipated to increase in 2008-2009 with a full compliment of staff and board members.
Both the Torngat Wildlife and Plants and Joint Fisheries Co-Management boards have hired most of the Joint Secretariat staff.
An orientation package was developed and used in sessions for board and secretariat staff hired during the year. The following topics were covered:
history of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement;
Chapters 12 and 13 of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement;
terms of reference (with board work plans);
operational guidelines; and
work descriptions, terms and conditions of employment and performance evaluation process.
Directors' liability insurance has been secured, and travel insurance for the two boards, as well as life and travel insurance for staff, is in place.
With regards to the development of a database (basic planning tool and benchmark for fisheries management in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area), contact has been made with many of the organizations that are currently doing fisheries-related work in Labrador or who have done so in the past. All have been cooperative and have offered to provide any information and/or assistance. Discussions have also been held with the Oceans and Habitat Management Branch of DFO, which is currently undertaking a communitybased coastal resource inventory project for northern Labrador in conjunction with the Nunatsiavut Government.
Dispute Resolution Board
The Dispute Resolution Board is not yet operational, but the process of identifying potential members has begun. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is in the process of reviewing a list of candidates which will be sent to the Nunatsiavut Government and Government of Canada to review. From there, the process for appointing the members representing each of the parties will begin.
Land Use Planning Board
The Regional Planning Authority for the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area, a category three board, was appointed jointly by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Nunatsiavut Government in April 2007. Under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, the authority's role is to direct the preparation of a Regional Land Use Plan for the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (including Labrador Inuit Lands) for the consideration of both governments.
Comprised of four members, two appointed by the Nunatsiavut Government and two by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the authority, (as is required by the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement), selected a chair from amongst its members.
The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement does not establish a reporting requirement, but since it is channeled through both governments and its members liaise with staff of both governments, some of whom from time to time attend authority meetings, all parties are kept apprised of the activities.
All authority members will have an equal say in final deliberations on the Regional Land Use Plan prior to its submission to both governments.
In the spirit of cooperation, the three levels of government continue to strive to ensure smooth implementation of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. This annual report provides an overview of some of the activities and accomplishments during the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Understanding the roles of responsibilities of all levels of government is important to the overall success of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. A variety of communications, policy and planning initiatives, both within and between governments is necessary to ensure effective land claims implementation. Much progress has been made since effective date of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, and the Implementation Committee looks forward to working collaboratively in meeting future challenges.