The Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA) came into effect on July 10, 2007. It applies to the offshore region around Quebec, northern Labrador and offshore northern Labrador.
The rights of Nunavik Inuit to the offshore were recognized as unfinished business in the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. However it took many years of meticulous research and active political lobbying to have the formal statement of claim finally accepted in January 1992 for negotiations with the federal government. During that same period, a separate statement of claim to Labrador was prepared. It was accepted for negotiations in June 1993.
The following are some highlights:
- Nunavik Inuit now own 80% of all the islands, including both surface and subsurface, in the Nunavik Marine Region, totalling some 5,300 sq. km.
- Makivik has started receiving the $86-million capital transfers and associated funds, while $55-million will fund the Nunavik Inuit Trust which can make disbursements to individual Nunavik Inuit.
- Co-management bodies with decision-making authority are established to address wildlife, land management, and development impact issues.
- A wildlife compensation regime making a developer liable without the applicant having to make proof for loss or damage from the development activity is created.
- Certainly of rights is provided using a “non-assertion model” instead of the “surrender and extinguishment model” found in the JBNQA.
Makivik is well positioned to benefit from the new opportunities provided by NILCA. With over 40 years of land claims implementation experience, these new rights and compensation will be put to good use to improve the economic and social well being of Nunavik Inuit.