The Grand Council of the Crees

Agreement in Principle: Final Version 3 Draft


Posted: 2001-10-21

BETWEEN: The Government of Québec, represented here by the Prime Minister of Quebec, Mr. Bernard Landry, the Minister for Native Affairs, Mr. Guy Chevrette and the Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Jacques Brassard, herein designated "Quebec"

AND: The Crees of Quebec acting through the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Cree Regional Authority, represented here by Mr. Ted Moses, Grand Chief and President respectively, and by Mr. Edward Gilpin, Chief of the Band Council of Eastmain and by Mr. Paul Gull, Chief of the Band Council of Waswanipi hereinafter referred to as "the Crees".

WHEREAS the parties wish to enter into a nation-to-nation agreement which will strengthen political, economic and social relations between Québec and the Crees, and which will be characterized by cooperation, partnership and mutual respect, while remaining based on the respective commitments of the parties under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA);

WHEREAS this agreement, concerning a global approach in favor of greater autonomy and greater responsibility on the part of the Crees for their development, will make possible an active and on-going participation by the Crees in economic development activities on the James Bay territory;

WHEREAS this agreement will be based on a development model which relies on the principles of sustainable development, partnership and respect for the traditional way of life of the Crees, as well as on a long-term economic development strategy, principles which are in conformity with the provisions of the JBNQA;

WHEREAS this agreement will promote the emergence of a Cree expertise in the field of economic development, job creation, and economic spin-offs for the Crees and the population of Québec in general;

WHEREAS this agreement does not contemplate and does not affect the obligations of Canada towards the Crees stipulated, among other, in the JBNQA;

WHEREAS the parties agree that the schedules and preamble form an integral part of this agreement.


1. Context

Both the Cree Nation and the Québec Nation agree to place emphasis in their relations on those aspects that unite them as well as on their common desire to continue the development of Northern Québec and the self-fulfillment of the Cree nation. The Cree Nation must continue to benefit from its rich cultural heritage, its language and its traditional way of life in a context of growing modernization.

This agreement makes it possible to mark an important stage in a new nation-to-nation relationship, one that is open, respectful of the other community and that promotes a greater responsibility on the part of the Cree Nation for its own development within the context of greater autonomy.

2. Purposes of the agreement

This agreement has the following purposes:

3. Development of natural resources

3.1 Forestry

3.2 Hydroelectricity and mines

4. Economic and community development

5. Respective commitments of the parties

5.1 The commitments of Québec

Financial commitments

Creation of the Cree Development Corporation

Other commitments

5.2 The commitments of the Crees

5.3 Joint commitments

6. Implementation details

6.1 Tabling of annual reports

6.2 Creation of a standing liaison committee

6.3 Settlement of disputes

6.4 Responsibilities of the Federal Government

6.5 Complementary agreement

7. Creation of an exchange table responsible for drafting a final agreement by the end of 2001

ON THIS 23rd DAY OF October 2001:

For the Crees:

Ted Moses
Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
President of the Cree Regional Authority

Edward Gilpin
Chief of the Band Council of Eastmain

Paul Gull
Chief of the Band Council of Waswanipi

For Québec:

Bernard Landry
Prime Minister

Guy Chevrette
Minister for Native Affairs

Jacques Brassard
Minister of Natural Resources



Delimitation of territorial reference units and use of ecological data

In the territory covered by the agreement, traplines will be used as a basis for delimiting the territorial reference units (UTR). Given the current configuration of the common areas, however, some traplines may fall into more than one UTR. For the next general management plans, which will be configured on the basis of the new management units, the UTR boundaries will correspond to the boundaries of the traplines (one UTR per trapline).

The ecological data available for the designation of the biophysical components of those territories will be used as a basis for the technical analysis in order to guide the development of the management strategies to be favoured.

Determination of new management units

The calculation of the annual allowable forest harvest will be determined on the basis of the new management units, which will be made of groupings of traplines. These groupings will be determined in technical discussions carried out jointly by the parties. The proposal presently being studied and which requires validation concerns groupings of between three and seven traplines, with the possibility of modulations where justified.

3. Sites of special interest to the Cree

3.1 Identification of sites of interest to the Cree

These sites of interests must be identified and mapped by the Cree themselves, in co-operation with the Ministére des Ressources naturelles. In most cases, the total area of those sites will not exceed 1% of the total area of a trapline. Specific standards and intervention norms for these sites of interests shall be agreed between the parties to satisfy the specific needs of the Cree users of these areas.

Specific intervention norms to be established for the mapped areas will be agreed upon by the parties to satisfy the specific needs of the Cree users of these territories.

3.2 Conservation of forested areas presenting wildlife interests for the Cree

Specific standards will be applied to maintain or improve the habitat of very important wildlife species (moose, marten, beaver and hare) and portions of each trapline will benefit of a specific protection for improving the level of harmonization between forestry management and traditional activities.

The location of those areas of special interest will be under the direct responsibility of the tallyman, in a spirit of co-operation with other stakeholders on the territory. The boundaries of those areas of special interest may be identified with the data already collected through "Cree land use" maps or on the basis of a new analysis, which will identify certain parts of particularly productive or intensively used watersheds. This management approach could be applicable to up to 25% of the productive forest area of each trapline.

In those areas, the planning of forest harvesting and management activities will be carried out with the objective to give priority to the establishment and maintaining of an appropriate diversity of ecoforest stands, be it in terms of forest species, age classes or areas. In the long term, this planning may provide a diversity of age classes similar to the structure of a "standard" forest. The current structure of those forests is not so diversified and this situation could remain the same for several decades. So it could be possible to rejuvenate certain stands through harvesting methods while maintaining productive wildlife habitats in those areas particularly interesting for Cree families.

The following guidelines will be applied in order to reach a better balance in the mid term:

4. Maintaining of forest cover after logging in the whole of each trapline

The following measures will be taken to ensure the protection of a residual forest cover:

In the areas subject to a first phase of forest harvests, the traplines that have been disturbed less than 15% during the last 20 years could be subject to cuttings with protection of regeneration and soils up to a maximum annual rate of 8% of the productive forest area. This annual percentage would be reduced to 6% when the disturbed area is between 15% and 30%. This rate would fall to 4% annually when the level of disturbance is between 30% and 40%. In the areas subject to a second phase of harvests, the annual level of harvest would be reduced to between 2% and 5%.

5. Protection of forests adjacent to watercourses

Generally speaking, water quality and fish habitats are protected by maintaining a 20 meters protective strip on each side of every permanent watercourse.

The following proposal is made to address concerns relating to the maintaining of a variety of wildlife habitats near major rivers: along rivers more than 5 meters wide, to maintain a forest strip more than 200 meters wide along one of the banks. Wherever possible, cutting areas should be distributed alternately along the two banks of such rivers.

To preserve the aesthetic appearance of landscapes along the shores of large lakes (more than 10 sq. km.), only mosaic cutting will be permitted (if the Cree so wish) in forests visible from the lakeshores, up to a distance of 1.5 km.

6. Development of the road access network

To facilitate the conciliation of the various uses of the territory, exchanges on the road network development plan must take place between the forest company and the tallyman responsible for the trapline.

Generally speaking, special attention should be given to limiting the number of road connections along the boundary between two traplines.

7. Implementation mechanisms

The section of the agreement regarding forestry has the objective of implementing an adapted forestry regime, which will fix the particular rules and procedures applicable to the concerned territory in the pursuit of the objectives of taking into account and conciliating the hunting, fishing and trapping activities of the Crees with forestry activities.

The final agreement will provide two (2) levels of intervention:

7.1 Cree-Quebec Forestry Board

The final agreement will provide for the creation of a Board composed, in addition to the president, with an equal number of representatives from the Cree and Québec. The president of the board will be appointed by the Government, under recommendation of the minister des Ressources naturelles. To insure that the Crees will participate in the choice of the president, the final agreement will provide that before recommending a president, the minister must submit the name of the proposed candidate to the Crees, who will have the right to refuse to agree to the appointment. However, after a third refusal by the Crees, the minister may, with no further consultation of the Crees, recommend to the Government the appointment of the president.


The main responsibilities of the Board will be:

7.2 Joint regional Cree-Quebec working groups at the level of each concerned Cree community

These working groups, composed of representatives of the concerned Cree communities and MNR, will have the following mandate:

The representatives on these working groups will be appointed by each party.

7.3 Funding

Each party will be responsible for the costs of its representatives on the Cree-Quebec Forestry Board and the joint regional working groups.

8. Access to forest resources

MNR will make available at the latest five years after the signing of the final agreement, 350,000 cubic meters of wood allocation, primarily by means of forest management agreements.

9. The Territory of application

The previous provisions will be applicable on the territory defined in section 3.1 of the Agreement in principle.

Appendix i)

Mosaic cutting with protection of regeneration and soils

A) Definition

Cutting with protection of regeneration and soils carried out in such a way as to preserve an area of forest between two cutting areas that is at least equivalent in area to the stand harvested.

B) Evaluation criteria

Given that the goal is to offer an alternative to the use of separator strips in a given area, logging operations must therefore be distributed so as to promote and maintain, both temporally and spatially, a set of blocks of different shapes and sizes. Thus:

  1. For each logging sector identified in an annual forest management plan (AFMP), the residual stands to be preserved and those to be cut will be shown clearly on a map.
  2. In the first phase, logging priority will be given to the most mature stands, in order to minimize timber losses.
  3. The blocks harvested must vary in size. At least 20% of the blocks must be less than 50 ha and at least 70% must be less than 100 ha. No more than 30% of the blocks may be larger than 100 ha, and no block may exceed 150 ha.
  4. The residual stands to be preserved must be located in priority in mixed forests, as they are relatively rare and play an important role as wildlife habitats.
  5. The forest to be preserved between two cutting areas must be at least equal in size to the area of the stand harvested (this equivalency may also be calculated for a set of stands located within an annual harvesting sector).
  6. The residual forest will be composed of productive forest stands more than 7 meters high (this will include many remaining stands of 12 meters high, in light of the present composition of the standing forest).
  7. The residual forest between two cutting areas must be at least 200 meters wide (long strips of unvarying width must be avoided).
  8. The residual forest must be left standing for a period long enough to allow the new growth to achieve the required level of development (minimum 3 meters).

Appendix ii)

Maintaining of a forest cover in the whole of each trapline

A) Hardwood component

As post-logging regrowth usually contains more hardwood trees than the original forest, a number of silvicultural treatments will therefore be carried out to release the coniferous growth.

In pre-commercial thinning and stand release operations, special attention will be given to the conservation of different habitats. For example, it would be possible to:

B) Protection of established regeneration

To limit the impacts of extensive logging in the territory, it is important to improve the protection given to established regeneration, especially tall regeneration whose presence shortens the revegetation period and restores good habitats for small wildlife species such as hare.

When the conditions allow, cuttings with protection of regeneration and soils must be carried out under a special framework in order to protect tall regeneration. To do this, the following is required:

C) Mixed forest stands management strategy

Given the importance of mixed stands as wildlife habitats and their rarity in the territory concerned, it is necessary to develop a distinct management approach for these stands. The approach will take the form of a management guide applicable specifically to the mixed forests at the community scale. The wildlife and forest-related management objectives will be described, as will the operational methods required to maintain and renew these stands (logging techniques, features of the stands to be preserved, etc.).