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Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement-in-Principle 2001
|Date:||25 June 2001|
|Sub Category:||Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) (Canada) | Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada)|
|Location:||Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada|
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|Subject Matter:||Management / Administration | Compensation | Cultural Heritage | Education | Economic Development | Environmental Heritage | Health and Community Services | Land Transaction | Land Management | Self Government | Land Settlement | Mining and Minerals | Native Title | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests|
|The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement-in-Principle (Labrador AIP) was signed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Canada and the Labrador Inuit Association (LIA) on 25 June 2001. It is the first agreement of its kind in Atlantic Canada. It is central to the federal government's commitment to the resolution of land claims and to the principle of Aboriginal self-government. The land claim itself was originally filed in 1977 and negotiations towards settlement commenced in the 1980s. Negotiations towards the Labrador AIP began in December 1990, subsequent to the signing of a Framework Agreement in November of that year. 1992 saw Canada discontinue its participation in the formal tripartite negotiations of Labrador land claims as it was unable to achieve agreement with Newfoundland regarding their respective roles and responsibilities. Canada resumed its involvement with the formal negotiation process in December 1993 however. In October 1997, representatives from Canada, Newfoundland and the LIA reached a verbal agreement regarding land quantum, resource revenue sharing, financial elements, and self-government matters. Throughout the course of 2000, the parties engaged in negotiations regarding land selection, whilst information and consultation sessions were conducted with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups throughout Labrador. The Labrador AIP operates as the basis for negotiating a final agreement.|
|The Labrador AIP is not a legally binding agreement, however it paves the way for a final agreement which will deliver certainty regarding land ownership, resource sharing arrangements and the increased participation of the Inuit in the local and national economy. The key elements of the AIP establish the details regarding land quantum, settlement costs and responsibilities, and other items. The AIP recognizes the Labrador Inuit as Aboriginal people of Canada and that land claims are based on 'traditional and current use and occupancy […] in accordance with their own customs and traditions'. |
The AIP does not alter the constitutional division of powers between Canada and Newfoundland, nor does it effect the status of the Inuit as Canadian citizens nor their right to benefit from any future constitutional rights. The rights of other Aboriginal groups, protected under s 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, will not be affected by the Labrador Inuit Comprehensive Claim. Amendment of the AIP is to take place only with the consent of all the parties. Subject to the provisions of the AIP, federal and provincial laws continue to apply to the Inuit, the Inuit Government, Labrador Inuit Lands and Community Lands. The AIP also provides that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms shall apply to the Inuit Government. Negotiations under the AIP are to take place in good faith.
Land and Non-renewable resources
The AIP establishes that the Newfoundland Government will provide for a Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (LISA) in Northern Labrador comprising 72,520 square kilometres. Of this, 15,800 square kilometres will be owned in fee simple by the Inuit, this area to be known as Labrador Inuit lands (LIL) (see Part 3). In the LIL, the Inuit will receive 25 percent of the provincial revenues from subsurface resources, excluding harvesting rights and control of new developments. Of the residual 56,720 square kilometres of the LISA, the Inuit will receive 50 percent of the first two million dollars (Canadian) of subsurface resources revenues and five percent thereafter. This includes priority in subsistence harvesting rights. In the LIL, the Inuit central Government will have authority to make laws with respect to the administration and control of estates in Inuit land and the granting of rights and interests in that land. Part 3 of the AIP also sets out provisions of access to the LIL stating that non-Inuit may only enter or cross LIL with the consent of the Inuit Central Government. Different provisions apply regarding access to LISA and are set out in detail (see Part 3.14). Part 3.15 deals with requirements for expropriation of Labrador Inuit Lands.
Identification and Selection of Labrador Inuit Lands
Part 4 of the AIP sets out in detail the provisions and principles for the identification and selection of Labrador Inuit lands. The LISA is to include the proposed Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve to be established pursuant to Part 9 of the AIP. The Voisey's Bay Area is not included within the LIL nor the LISA despite the fact that this is located within Labrador Inuit traditional territory (see Part 8). The AIP does however provide that the parties negotiate rights in relation to the area prior to the conclusion of a final agreement. Chapter 7, dealing with resource revenue sharing, also provides that the Inuit shall receive three percent of revenues from the Voisey's Bay nickel mining project.
Water Management and Inuit Water Rights
Part 5 of the AIP sets out comprehensive provisions dealing with water rights in both LIL and LISA areas and includes entitlement to compensation.
Harvesting and Fishing Rights
Under the AIP, the Labrador Inuit will have preferred rights of fishing in the LISA. These are to respect the principles of conservation and public health and safety. Part 7 provides for consultation requirements with the Labrador Central Government with respect to the development of Marine Protected Access Areas, marine navigation services and exploration. Chapter 23 provides for exclusive Inuit wildlife and plant harvesting rights in LIL, and harvesting rights with some restrictions in LISA. The section establishes harvesting limits for this area. Chapter 13 sets out comparable guidelines with respect to fishing rights. Chapter 14 sets out the requirements for harvesting compensation.
Chapter 17 deals with Inuit self-government arrangements. The Inuit are to prepare a Labrador Inuit Constitution which shall establish an Inuit Central Government and determine its membership, powers and duties. Inuit legislative jurisdiction will cover laws regarding Inuit culture and language, education, health, social services, marriage and family relationships, housing, law enforcement, and a wide range of matters concerning the administration of LIL and LISA areas. The AIP also requires negotiations between the parties regarding Inuit jurisdiction over environmental protection and other matters. The Constitution is also to establish Inuit Community Governments.
Financial Arrangements and Capital Transfer
Under the AIP, Canada is to provide a capital transfer of 140 million dollars, and an additional 115 million for implementation costs upon the completion of the final agreement ratification process.
Ratification and Implementation
Procedures for ratification of a final agreement are set out in Chapter 23 (while Chapter 26 deals with ratification of the AIP). This requires that Labrador Inuit are to ratify the Agreement prior to consideration of ratification by Canada and Newfoundland. Chapter 23 also sets out the time frame for ratification and establishes that responsibility for implementation costs lies with Canada and Newfoundland. Chapter 24 requires the establishment of an Implementation Plan for an initial period of ten years. The Plan is to identify the respective obligations and activities of the parties and outline the time frames for completing them. An Implementation Committee shall oversee and guide the Implementation Plan.
Chapter 25 of the AIP provides that provisions for dealing with overlapping land claims between the Labrador Inuit and other Aboriginal claimants may be set out in a final agreement.
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