Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement: Annual Report 2013-2014

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Implementation Committee Foreword

The Implementation Committee (IC) for the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement (LILCA) is pleased to present its eighth annual report covering the period April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.  The report includes an update on the priorities of the IC, implementation highlights from the reporting period, and an overview of the activities of the implementing bodies.

Signature Block

Toby Andersen
Appointed by
Nunatsiavut Government

Ruby Carter
Appointed by Government of
Newfoundland and Labrador

Natalie Neville
Appointed by
Government of Canada

SECTION I: Reporting on the Priorities of the Implementation Committee

1. Overseeing Board Funding and Governance

In 2013-14, the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB) and the Torngat Wildlife and Plants

Co-Management Board (TWPCB) submitted their annual budgets and work plans for 2014-15 which were reviewed and approved by the IC.  An annual tripartite funding agreement for each board was finalized by the Government of Canada (GoC), the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (GNL), the Nunatsiavut Government (NG), and each of the boards' Chairs based on the approved budgets and work plans.  It is anticipated that the agreements will be signed in early 2014-15.

Annual tripartite funding agreements for 2013-14 for the TJFB and the TWPCB were each signed on May 29, 2013.  Overall, the three governments (Parties) provided a total of $1,085,954 to fund both of the boards, and the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat (Secretariat).  Funding for the Secretariat was included in the funding agreements for each of the TJFB and the TWPCB.  Funding for the TJFB, the TWPCB, and the Secretariat is shared equally among the three governments.  For 2013-14, each government's one-third share of the total was $171,325 for the TJFB and $190,659 for the TWPCB.

In addition, the Parties provided funding for the Dispute Resolution Board (DRB). Total funding available to the DRB in 2013-14 was $33,665, and the total DRB expenditures were $25,956.  The NG provided assistance with regard to the administrative arrangements for the DRB.

2. Amendments to the LILCA

On April 20, 2012, the Parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement detailing technical amendments to the LILCA to be considered for approval by the GoC, the GNL, and the NG.

The technical amendments are primarily related to the Appendices and the Map Atlas of the LILCA.  On June 27, 2012, the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador assented to an amendment to the provincial Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act respecting these amendments.  The amendment will be proclaimed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council once all Parties have approved the amendments.  On September 12, 2012, the Nunatsiavut Assembly carried a motion to consent to the technical amendments to the LILCA.  Once the French version of the amendments, which is being prepared by GoC, is verified by the NG and the GNL, the GoC will seek approval of the amendments.

3. Monitoring and Tracking Obligations

The first LILCA Implementation Plan (IP) was negotiated for a 10-year period which will end on December 1, 2015.  The IC was updated on the renewal of the IP as a regular agenda item during IC meetings in 2013-14.  The Implementation Plan Renewal Working Group, which includes representatives from all three governments, continued to meet regularly to update the Activity Sheets of the IP.  Also, in 2013-14 negotiators appointed by each of the Parties began discussions on the renewal of the budgets for the implementing bodies established pursuant to the LILCA.

SECTION II:  Funding the LILCA

The GoC made the following grant payments to the NG in 2013-14 under the LILCA and its ancillary FFA:

Grant Payments made to the NG in 2013-14
Text description of the Grant Payments made to the NG in 2013-14

The Graph displays grant payments made by the GoC to the NG in 2013-14 under the LILCA and its ancillary FFA :

  • On April 2nd, 2013 the 1st FFA Payment of $10,366,362 was paid;
  • On July 2nd,2013 the 2nd FFA Payment of $10,366,362 was paid;
  • On October 1st, 2013 a 3rd FFA Payment of $10,377,987 was paid;
  • On December 2nd, 2013 a Net Capital Transfer Payment of $4,731,404 and an Implementation payment of $8,985,059 was paid;
  • On January 2nd, 2014 a 4th FFA payment of $10,216,759 was paid;

The total Funding of which is $55,043,933

SECTION III:  Highlights

Cultural Centre

The journey towards the creation of a new cultural centre for Labrador Inuit took significant strides in 2013-14.  After tendering for construction in May 2013 efforts were made to trim costs and find additional revenues as bids came in considerably higher than prior estimates;

In February 2014, after discussions with federal funding partners, the Nunatsiavut Executive Council approved proceeding with a phased approach to construction using the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies as construction managers.  The first phase was defined as the final site preparation, stone breakwater installation and the drilling of piles as the building foundation.

In addition, a series of community consultations were held on the exhibit concept design.  The proposed theme is: The strength of our ancestors is the heartbeat of our land, carrying us forward through seasons of change. We are the Inuit of Labrador.   Once the concept is approved, the next step in the exhibit planning process will be content development followed by exhibit fabrication, which will be timed with completion of the building.

In 2013, the project team also worked on a communications strategy to ensure Labrador Inuit, funding partners and stakeholders are engaged in the process.  A key decision was to name the centre.  After discussions with Elders, it was recommended that the new cultural centre be called Illusuak, the sod house.

With the approval of a new name and logo in 2013, and a new communications strategy, the profile of the project was raised which resulted in more visibility for the project.

It is now estimated that the construction will be completed by late 2016 with exhibit installation commencing over the winter of 2016-2017.

Protection of the George River Caribou Herd (GRCH)

The George River Caribou Herd (GRCH) population has declined from an estimated 775,000 in 1993 to 74,000 in 2010 and to 27,600 in July 2012.  It is anticipated that a population survey planned for the summer of 2014 will indicate a further decline.

In 2013-14, the GNL continued to enforce the January 2013 ban on harvesting the GRCH in Labrador.  This five year ban applies to all users.  The NG's two year suspension on hunting of the GRCH by Labrador Inuit initiated in December 2012 also remained in place in 2013-14.

Also, the GNL departments of Environment and Conservation, and Justice held a series of public forums within Inuit communities during March 2014 to provide information on the latest data collected on the GRCH.

The Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table (UPCART), involving Aboriginal governments/organizations from Quebec and Labrador, was formalized after a second meeting in April, 2013.  According to the UPCART, its mission is to preserve caribou and the deep relationship that Aboriginal people have long held with caribou.  The UPCART held its third meeting September 24-25, 2013 which resulted in key actions towards the conservation and preservation of the caribou.  A technical committee was mandated by the UPCART to draft a conservation plan by April 2014.   The UPCART directed this committee to base the plan on preserving respect and relationships with the caribou.

The Provincial Governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and of Quebec jointly proposed a collaborative approach to drafting of a GRCH Management Plan to the UPCART on February 26, 2014, and the establishment of a formal liaison committee comprising the UPCART and the two governments.  A reply is expected in the next fiscal year.

Air Foodlift Subsidy Program

The GNL funds an Air Foodlift Subsidy (AFS) program delivered through the Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs Office to help offset the cost of air freight on fresh milk and other perishable food items such as fruit and vegetables.  Eligible communities include Nain, Natuashish, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville, Rigolet and Black Tickle.  The AFS provides access for Labrador residents of remote communities to nutritious, perishable items year round with a subsidy paid to retailers to offset the high cost of air freight to communities.

The AFS has also been used to address special needs of the residents of remote communities in Labrador.  For example, in 2013, through the AFS, the GNL provided a one-time $30,000 grant to the NG to help address food related concerns in Inuit communities.  The funding was used by the NG to purchase meat for the community freezers in the Inuit communities to be made available to lower income and elderly people.  Also in 2013, one-time funding of approximately $3,300 was allocated from the AFS to transport moose harvested in Gros Morne National Park to Inuit communities.  This initiative is a good example of collaboration among the three governments.

Migratory Bird Management

Migratory Birds

In 2013-14, Environment Canada (EC)-Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) engaged the NG and the TWPCB on proposed changes to the Migratory Bird Regulations.  The NG also participated in meetings of the - Atlantic Migratory Game Bird Technical Committee.

EC and the NG implemented the Nain Community Freezer Project, a community-based project providing harvest assessment information from migratory birds harvested by resident hunters and given to a community freezer for community consumption. Building on previous work, a comprehensive aerial survey was continued along the coast of the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (LISA) and Labrador Inuit Lands, from Hopedale to Saglek Bay, to identify the size and distribution of colonies of seabird species that are subject to egg harvesting. Nunatsiavut Government Conservation Officers and summer students participated with EC in the Canada Goose Banding program and provided local knowledge on potential banding sites.  Results from banding in the LISA and across Labrador were communicated to the NG and the TWPCB.

Species at Risk

EC continues to engage both the NG and the TWPCB on matters related to species at risk, including the listing of species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the development of recovery documents for species of interest to Labrador Inuit.  EC and the TWPCB are also working together to develop an engagement strategy for providing input on proposed listings and recovery documents. At the inter-provincial/territorial and international level, EC is encouraging the NG's participation in international discussions regarding polar bear, especially those involving the Davis Strait sub-population.  The NG continues to provide input on population monitoring and harvest allocation recommendations in Canada through their representation on the Polar Bear Technical Committee and Polar Bear Administrative Committee.

EC provided the NG with a draft of a Circumpolar Action Plan for polar bear being drafted by the Range States that will identify threats facing the species and provide an overview of management systems in each country as well as review all existing bilateral and multilateral agreements in place.

NG participants also took part in the discussions on non-detrimental findings under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wildlife Flora and Fauna, including their attendance at the 2013 CITES Community of Practice.

Celebrate Canada - Canada Day

As part of their Celebrate Canada Funding program, the Department of Canadian Heritage provided $1,400 and $3,000 to Nain and Makkovik respectively for the celebration of Canada Day on July 1st, 2013. This project reached the general public as well as Aboriginal communities and youth, with approximately 500 participants in Nain and 100 in Makkovik.

Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting

The Okâlakatiget Society (OKS) is a not-for-profit Aboriginal organization located in Nain which operates radio broadcasting and television production facilities in Inuit communities.  From April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014, the OKS provided up to 20 hours of new radio programming per week, of which 12 hours were in Inuktitut.  Reaching 13,500 listeners in Inuit communities and other communities in Labrador, the programming included a variety of shows for young children, youth and adults, and highlighted community events, music, news, and an interactive community call-in component.  Additionally, the OKS produced up to 4.75 hours of new television programming in Inuktitut.  The television programming produced by the OKS consisted of thirteen 22-minute episodes of "Tâmanevugut", a youth-oriented reality series, which is intended for broadcast nationally on the Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network (APTN).  By providing $376,036 to the project, the GoC contributed to strengthening Aboriginal cultural identity through broadcast content, and it directly supported the preservation and revitalization of Aboriginal cultures and languages as being living elements of Canadian society.

SECTION IV: Implementing Bodies

Torngat Joint Fisheries Board and the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board

The Secretariat is pleased to report that 2013-14 was a busy and productive year for both the TWPCB and the TJFB.  In fulfillment of their mandates under Chapters 12 and 13 respectively, both Boards successfully completed their work plans on time and on budget.  The Boards also created opportunities for meaningful dialogue about the management of those resources by bringing together users, stakeholders, researchers, and managers from across the LISA and across the region.  To guide future activities, the Boards underwent a strategic visioning exercise in 2013-14 and a Strategic Plan was formally adopted.

The TWPCB lead and contributed to research on wildlife, plants and habitat in the LISA.  The Board worked with partners across the region to document traditional knowledge of polar bear and Torngat Mountain caribou and integrate this knowledge into its decision making process. The TWPCB was also instrumental in realizing an updated population estimate of Torngat Mountain caribou.  In addition to its continuing participation in regional, national, and international management forums, the Board co-organized an inter-jurisdictional polar bear workshop, and developed and held polar bear safety workshops in the LISA.  With input from the public and extensive consultation and research, the Board submitted decisions and recommendations on moose and polar bear.

The TJFB research program has also lead to new insights that will have long-term management implications. The Board is continuing to work with partners and fish harvesters to better understand snow crab movements and the abundance of juveniles and females.  As part of its collaborative approach, the Board conducted interviews with snow crab harvesters, and the information they shared is being directly and systematically inputted into the Board's decision making processes for the first time. The TJFB also worked with partners to co-host Snow Crab and Northern Shrimp fisheries workshops in Nain in November of 2013.  These workshops have become an annual event and they provide important opportunities for all stakeholders to share information, develop research priorities, and weigh policy alternatives.  Research and dialogue formed the basis for recommendations on snow crab, northern shrimp, and turbot.

Both the TWPCB and the TJFB are looking forward to continued success in 2014-15.

Dispute Resolution Board

The DRB held its annual meeting on February 8, 2014 in St. John's to deal with administrative matters and update the Roster of Mediators.

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