As a result of a confluence of factors, including rising
commodity prices, the reduction in arctic ice conditions and the
resulting availability of new shipping lanes, mining activity in
Nunavut is increasing dramatically. While this has many obvious
implications for Nunavummiut (citizens of Nunavut) and the
environment of the territory, the impact on regulators is perhaps
not as evident to those outside the regulated community.
The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) is the most significant
of several regulatory bodies in Nunavut and was created by the
Nunavut Land Claims Agreement to consider the impacts of large
projects such as mines. While many issues are coming to the fore in
the NIRB proceedings regarding mining projects under development
(and Team NorthTM lawyers will be reporting on them in the future),
one important issue that may go unreported is the capacity of the
NIRB to handle the coming projects.
Capacity issues are common in Nunavut, to the point of being
ubiquitous, and it easy to stop listening when they are raised.
However, the capacity of the NIRB is fundamental to the development
of the Nunavut economy and the issue is one that requires
consideration. In the discussion of capacity of the NIRB it is not
the question of whether there are knowledgeable people working
within the regulator, but rather the numbers of projects that those
people have the physical ability to shepherd through the approvals
When the NIRB was created it was probably anticipated that the
body would need to deal with two or perhaps three large projects
Whether or not that was precisely the case, the Board was
staffed based on an assumption likely in that range. The problem
that is becoming somewhat apparent now is due to the fact that
there are several active proceedings (screenings or reviews) and
word on the street is that promoters of several other projects will
be commencing (or re-commencing) NIRB proceedings in the near
This issue would be a challenge for a regulatory body anywhere
but is exacerbated, in the case of the NIRB, by travel requirements
and related issues in Nunavut. While there is no obvious solution
to this issue at this time, it will be interesting for those
involved in such processes to see how the NIRB and others cope with
the anticipated workload.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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