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Clyde River

July 27, 2017

Indigenous Group: Inuit Hamlet at Clyde River in Nunavut

Business: Petroleum Geo-Services Inc. and NEB

Issue: Seismic testing in and near marine areas where Inuit have treaty rights.

Comment: The waters are populated by marine mammals such as whales and seals and polar bears which the Inuit rely on for their livelihood, food and cultural practice.

It has been Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) position that a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) should be conducted before any permit for seismic testing be issued. A SEA would allow for the assessment of potential benefits to Inuit and effects on marine mammals. NTI and QIA are currently participating in the SEA process led by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Last Update: July 27, 2017: Arctic Today – The Supreme Court of Canada on July 26 quashed the National Energy Board’s June 2014 authorization of a five-year seismic testing project in the waters of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, east of Baffin Island. That’s because the NEB failed to properly carry out the Crown’s duty to consult the Inuit of Clyde River on a development project that affects their Aboriginal and treaty rights, the Supreme Court said. “While the Crown may rely on the NEB’s process to fulfill its duty to consult, the consultation and accommodation efforts in this case were inadequate and fell short in several respects,” the ruling said.

Those failings include:

  • failing to consider the impact of the proposed testing on Inuit treaty rights and failing to assess the source of those rights;
  • failing to make the Crown’s duty to consult clear to the Inuit; and
  • failing to conduct the necessary “deep consultation.”