Folder Governance – The Planning Context – Environmental Assessment

Environmental assessment has a major role in land planning and decision making by default, by design and most recently by indigenous led EA’s – all will be examined in session.


Moderator: Ann Peters RPP, MCIP -  Planner, Dillon Consulting, Yellowknife.


pdf Guiding Change, Protecting What Matters: Community- Based Planning and Impact Assessment for a Western James Bay All-Season Road Popular


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Leah Culver, M.A. – Social Research and Community Development Consultant, Shared Value Solutions

Co-speaker: Jonathon Solomon – Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief

Ryan Small, MMP – Director of Technical Services, Mushkegowuk Council,

Rachel Speiran, M.A. – Community Development Specialist, Shared Value Solutions

Mushkegowuk Tribal Council is currently proposing an all-season road to connect five remote communities along the western coast of James Bay to each other and to the Ontario highway network.  The Council is undertaking a careful and community-based planning and impact assessment process, along with conventional engineering feasibility studies.  A key element of the project is a strong emphasis on community dialogue and planning for maintaining and enhancing all aspects of community well-being while looking at options to connect communities to the rest of Ontario. The project also focuses on identifying community values that must be considered in going forward with the proposed all-season road. In particular, this presentation will focus on the approach, methodology, results, and lessons learned from a process that works to collaboratively develop community well-being indicators. These indicators will eventually fulfill the requirements of a socioeconomic impact assessment as part of a future federal environmental assessment. The speakers will share their approach and results to date, and welcome the opportunity to share experiences with others across the North on this topic.


pdf Indigenous-led Environmental Assessment Popular


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Galbraith_2016_Ind-led EA_fin.pdf

Lindsay Galbraith, PhD Senior Researcher The Firelight Group Skidegate, Haida Gwaii

Environmental assessment (EA) has long been the primary planning and decision-making tool for major resource development in Canada, with greater influence over our shared landscapes than ad hoc strategic EAs and land and marine use planning. EAs are typically led by industry proponents who are required to follow a federal or provincial process (or both), subject to a Minister’s final decision. This convention is being challenged as Indigenous governments are increasingly leading their own EAs either independently, or collaboratively with industry or government. This innovation does not appear to be emerging from the northern regions, where EAs have tended to be more robustly scoped to include Indigenous values and perspectives than in other regions of Canada. Instead, Indigenous-led EAs are appearing in British Columbia (BC) as communities find strength in the 2014 Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding Aboriginal title. Importantly, this decision brought two ideas into high releif for planning and EA practice: (1) Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) for development proposed in Indigenous lands and (2) the equal importance of Indigenous perspectives in decision-making, including those emerging out of Indigenous legal and planning traditions. This presentation explores examples from Indigenous-led EAs in BC, offering potential insights for communities interested in finding complimentary approaches to the legislated, co-managed EA processes common to northern Canada.

pdf Refining the threshold approach to land management in the North Yukon planning region Popular


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Simpson Refining the Threshold Approach to Land Management Final 16 2 2016 small.pdf

Kirstie Simpson – Research Scientist, Yukon Government, Department of Energy Mines and Resources

The Yukon and Vuntut Gwitchin governments approved the North Yukon Regional Land Use Plan (NYRLUP) in 2009. The NYRLUP was designed to protect the significant natural and cultural resources of the planning region while continuing to allow for current and future economic development opportunities. The guiding principle of the plan is sustainable development.

The plan established 23 land management and sub-management units (LMU) and a zoning system based on intensity of use rather than type of use. LMUs are designated as either Protected Area (PA) or Integrated Management Area (IMA). Designated IMAs are further classified into one of four zones which range from a conservation emphasis to a development emphasis based on the values and the sensitivity of the land and natural resources.

In order to measure intensity of use the NYRLUP has established a cautionary and maximum threshold of disturbance within each of the IMA LMUs. Putting into practice a threshold approach to land management has a number of challenges including the establishment of a baseline disturbance level.  One particular challenge is the definition of what is a “disturbance” and when is that disturbance “recovered”.  Refining this understanding allows us to support cumulative effects management as it relates to exploration activities.

Yukon Government has been carrying out research in this region since 2006 to determine if “disturbance” and “recovery” can be defined by ecological succession and/or wildlife response and if a disturbance in the north Yukon region can be “grown off” the landscape in a defined time period.