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Bill C-33

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Her Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled ``An Act respecting the water resources of Nunavut and the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal and to make consequential amendments to other Acts''.


This enactment implements obligations under the Agreement between the Inuit of the Nunavut Settlement Area and Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada. The Agreement came into effect on July 9, 1993 by virtue of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act.

Part 1 of the enactment implements provisions of the Agreement related to management of waters. It establishes an institution of public government, the Nunavut Water Board. The members of the Board are appointed by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The Nunavut Water Board has powers similar to those of the Northwest Territories Water Board under the Northwest Territories Waters Act. The Board's primary function is to license uses of water and deposits of waste. The Board is required, in the exercise of that licensing power, to consider any detrimental effects of a potential use of waters or a deposit of waste on other water users and is to hold, where appropriate, public hearings.

Part 1 reproduces specific requirements of the Agreement. The main requirement is that the Board is prohibited from issuing, renewing or amending a licence if there may be a substantial effect on the quality, quantity or rate of flow of waters through Inuit-owned land unless the applicant has entered into an agreement with the Inuit to compensate for any loss or damage or the Board has determined the appropriate compensation.

The Nunavut Water Board is required to cooperate with the Nunavut Planning Commission to develop land use plans that affect water, and with the Nunavut Impact Review Board to assess environmental and socio-economic impacts of water-related project proposals.

In Part 2 of the enactment, the Government of Canada implements the obligation it has undertaken in the Agreement to establish the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal as an independent body. The Agreement grants the Inuit ownership of certain lands in Nunavut, and certain rights respecting the compensation for harvesting of wildlife resources.

The Tribunal is an institution of public government composed of up to eleven members appointed by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The Tribunal has the power to make orders establishing conditions for access to Inuit-owned land, privately owned land and privately occupied Crown land. In the case of loss suffered by Inuit in respect of wildlife harvesting due to development activity, the Tribunal has the power to determine the liability of the developer for compensation.