Backround and Purpose of SEMCs
Monitoring major projects is a requirement under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and is one of the responsibilities of the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) (NLCA 12.2.2e). A project certificate or a recommendation issued by the NIRB may contain terms and conditions that “provide for the establishment of a monitoring program for that project which may specify responsibilities for the proponent, NIRB or Government” (NLCA 12.7.1). Monitoring is necessary to identify whether predicted changes are taking place, to determine if unpredicted impacts are occurring, and to ensure that companies are mitigating any effects as legally required.
Socio-Economic Monitoring Committees (SEMCs) were established in 2007 to address project certificate requirements for project-specific monitoring programs. Through a regional approach, three SEMCs create a discussion forum and information sharing hub that supports impacted communities and interested stakeholders to take part in monitoring efforts. This approach also provides monitoring efficiency and consistency within the territory (see figure 1 below).
The Department of Economic Development & Transportation (EDT, ‘the Department’) has been the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) lead on the SEMCs. As such, the Department has been responsible for collecting socio-economic data from across GN departments and other sources, consolidating this information, and disseminating it to the Committees and other interested parties, primarily through reports such as this. Each of the three SEMCs are chaired by one of EDT’s Regional Directors of Community Operations, and coordinated by EDT’s Regional Socio-Economic Coordinator to ensure efforts are consistent, traceable, comparable, and that they feed into other programs such as the Nunavut General Monitoring Plan.
The SEMCs are conducted in collaboration with the Government of Canada, Designated Inuit Organizations, Hamlets, and proponents.
Considering the above, SEMCs have the following objectives:
- To ensure that major development projects comply with their permits by meeting their socio-economic monitoring requirements during the environmental assessment, approval, and monitoring processes as required by NIRB and the NLCA;
- To bring together communities, governments, Regional Inuit Associations, and companies in a unique forum that encourages open and engaged discussions and information-sharing among all parties;
- To collect and disseminate data that is validated by local and traditional knowledge