The James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment (JBACE) and the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) have agreed on a protocol for determining the arrangements and procedures for the inquiry and public hearings on uranium exploration and mining to be held in the James Bay Territory. The purpose of the protocol is to ensure special involvement for the Crees in the consultation process, as stipulated in Section 22 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) and the agreement on a mandate to inquire into the uranium industry in Québec signed between the Québec government and the Crees of Québec in February 2014.
Commissions respectively formed by the JBACE and BAPE will conduct joint public hearings in communities in the territory covered by Section 22 of the JBNQA. During the "pre-consultation" phase, hearings will be held in Chisasibi (June 3, 2014), Chibougamau (June 4) and Mistissini (June 5) to solicit citizens' concerns and identify the issues. The protocol provides for collaboration between the two commissions during these consultations as well as during hearings held outside the territory covered by Section 22 of the JBNQA, on any matter that might affect the territory.
During the second phase of the inquiry, the commissions will return to the James Bay Territory to share information and answer questions related to the concerns expressed by the population. They will be helped by experts. During the third phase, organizations and individuals will get a chance to make oral or written submissions. Apart from the consultations in the Territory, this phase will also include a special hearing in Montréal on issues specific to the JBNQA Territory.
The JBACE is the preferential and official forum for responsible governments concerning the formulation of policies, laws and regulations relating to the environmental and social protection regime (Section 22). The Gouvernement du Québec, the Government of Canada and the Cree Nation Government each appoint an equal number of members.
Jean Picard, Chairman
James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment