Belledune, NB: The Belledune Port Authority and Pabineau First Nation, Eel River Bar First Nation, and Mi’gmawe’I Tplu’taqnn Inc announced today that together they have signed an Impact Assessment Act (IAA) Protocol that marks an important milestone in moving forward together with First Nations. The IAA Protocol is the first of its kind in Canada and is a sister document to the Relationship, Engagement & Consultation Protocol, a previously signed historic agreement that is also the first of its kind in the country.
When we came together and reviewed the new legislation, we understood a proactive piece was missing. The BPA’s relationship with the first caretakers of the land is so important and ensuring we have meaningful conversations is a requirement from our perspective – it’s a matter of respect. shared Denis Caron, President & CEO of the Belledune Port Authority.
The Owners of the IAA Protocol have co-created a process to address provisions in the new Impact Assessment Act, S.C. 2019, c. 28 s. 1 which first came into force in 2019. This new act changes many of the “determination” provisions that were included in the now repealed Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, SC 2012, c 19, s 52.
One section of importance is what happens to projects on federal lands.
The Belledune Port Authority and Mi’gmawe’I Tplu’taqnn Inc mutually agreed that the language contained in section 82 was paternalistic and did not recognize the engagement and input of First Nations, so together in partnership with the Port, the signatories wrote the IAA Protocol. The creation of the IAA Protocol ensures the Belledune Port Authority works with First Nations to make a determination of the impacts of the projects on federal lands.
“The determination of any impact can only be properly understood if those who may be impacted are part of the assessment of the impact,” explained Caron. “Our intention with the IAA Protocol is to add to the understanding of rights, responsibilities, and respect required to fulfill obligations under sections 82 and 84.”
Included in the intention of the IAA Protocol, is a commitment to the Mi’qmag Rights Impact Assessment Framework, which expands upon the obligations and processes required to fulfill sections 82 and 84 of the IAA. Together, the Belledune Port Authority, Pabineau First Nation, Eel River Bar First Nation, and Mi’gmawe’I Tplu’taqnn Inc have worked to ensure these two documents are companions in how the impact of projects on federal lands are assessed.
The Belledune Port Authority, Pabineau First Nation, Eel River Bar First Nation, and Mi’gmawe’I Tplu’taqnn Inc have established a meaningful and practical engagement and consultation process through which all parties will be inclusive of the perspectives, views, and positions of each other while maintaining, fostering and strengthening working relationships with project proponents. The Owners look forward to continuing to be open, transparent and respectful about development at the Port of Belledune.
To learn more about the IAA Protocol, visit https://portofbelledune.ca/community/relationship/