Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act (NuPPAA) - Before and After Coming Into Force: July 9, 2015

"Single Window" Entry Point
  • Review processes were triggered by various regulatory applications
  • Projects could enter the review system at several different starting points
  • Confusion over processes, including what steps a project had to follow and in what order
  • No legislated timelines
  • Legislated time limits for each decision making step in the review process:
    • NPC conformity determination
    • NIRB screening/report
    • NIRB issuing of project certificate
    • Federal panel report
    • Ministerial decisions
  • Proponent time not included
  • Time taken by public/stakeholder input not included
  • Time during which the process is suspended by the boards not included
Definition of a Project
  • Broad definition of "project" captured all physical works and activities
  • More precise definition of "project"
  • Does not include:
    • Projects with minimal environmental impacts
    • Certain municipal projects
    • Emergencies
  • Limited enforcement options
Now enforceable:
  • Terms and conditions included in project certificates
    • Terms and conditions included in land use plans
    • NPC conformity decisions
    • NIRB screening decisions
  • Introduction of fines and/or imprisonment for contraventions
    • Maximum fine of $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year
    • If an offence is committed or continues for more than one day, it will be considered a separate offence for each day on which it is committed or continued
  • Minister has authority to designate employees of federal/territorial departments/agencies for inspections
    • Not limited to current enforcement staff
Board Appointments/Quorum
  • Rigid appointment process resulted in occasional difficulties meeting quorum, causing operational challenges, delays in reviews
  • Greater flexibility to extend NPC commissioners’ and NIRB members’ terms in the middle of a proceeding
  • New NPC commissioners and NIRB members appointed for full three-year terms
  • NIRB has authority to create smaller panels (3 or more members) and work on several reviews at the same time
Transboundary Projects
  • Duplication of efforts, multiple reviews had the potential to create delays for transboundary projects
  • Impacts of shipping of goods/persons into/out of territory for large scale projects could trigger the project being classified as transboundary. Transboundary projects were reviewed by a special federally-appointed environmental assessment panel, not the Nunavut Impact Review Board
  • "One project, one assessment"
    • NIRB now has authority to enter into agreements with other environmental assessment panels to conduct a joint review of transboundary projects
  • Shipping of persons or goods does not automatically make a project transboundary
    • NIRB makes final decision
Activities Allowed Prior to Environmental Assessment Decision
  • No legislated control over activities allowed prior to environmental assessment decision
  • Clarification of activities allowed prior to environmental assessment decision including
    • Certain exploration/development activities
    • Nunavut Water Board can issue interim/short term water licences for the use of water or deposit of waste
  • No guidelines for emergency situations
  • Federal or territorial minister can declare an emergency
  • Reporting requirements for projects undertaken in response to an emergency
Land Use Plans
  • Government of Canada and Government of Nunavut are the only signatories to accepting/ rejecting a plan and any amendments under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
  • Lack of clarity on proponent’s rights if land use plans changed after a conformity decision
  • Designated Inuit Organization has authority to accept/ reject a draft land use plan or a plan amendment
  • One, territory-wide land use plan for the Nunavut Settlement Area, but with flexibility for various planning models
  • Land use plans apply to all lands in the Nunavut Settlement Area, including Inuit Owned Lands
  • Proponents rights preserved after a conformity decision
  • Lack of clarity/consistency, limited detail for some processes
  • Key processes clarified, more detail added including:
    • "Grandfathering" how projects started under the old system will be treated under NuPPAA
    • How significant modifications to projects during an assessment will be addressed
    • Implications of termination/suspension of an assessment
    • Land use planning and assessment process for land administered by Parks Canada

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