Agreement-in-Principle (Overview)

Overview of the Agreement-in-Principle to create the Nunavik Government

Building on the existing institutions.

In the Agreement-in-Principle (AIP), the amalgamation of the three major public institutions operating in Nunavik provide the basis for developing a new form of government for the region. In fact, the structures, powers, and resources of these three organizations will act as the foundation on which the Nunavik Government will be created.

It is therefore worth noting the nature and origin of these three institutions, namely, the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), the region’s supra municipal government, the Kativik School Board (KSB), and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS).

The KRG, KSB, and NRBHSS, or their predecessors, have been in existence for approximately a quarter century, and they trace their origin to provisions of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), the country’s first modern land claim agreement. These institutions are largely the result of an Inuit decision to negotiate the establishment of public institutions as a means of gaining greater control of the decision making process affecting their lives and the region north of the 55th parallel.

The KRG, KSB, and NRBHSS hold very important mandates in their respective fields of activity and responsibility, and they exercise their jurisdiction throughout all of Nunavik. Despite occasional growing pains, these organizations, or their predecessors, have successful track records going back 25 years or more.

The KRG, KSB, and NRBHSS are non-ethnic in nature, and open to the full participation of Inuit and non-Inuit residents of Nunavik. In accordance with the terms of the JBNQA, these public institutions were created through legislation adopted by the Quebec National Assembly.

The Nunavik Government will very much be the product of the amalgamation of the KRG, KSB, and NRBHSS. By building on these institutions, the creation of the Nunavik Government will not represent an abrupt change in the course of the development of governmental institutions in Nunavik. Rather, it will be an evolution of what began over 25 years ago with the establishment of public organizations in Nunavik. In this context, the creation of the Nunavik Government can be described as adding an overall governmental structure to what already exists and works.

An On-Going Process.

Provisions for amalgamation of the KRG, KSB, and NRBHSS, and the creation of a Nunavik Government, are described in the proposed Agreement-in-Principle (AIP). When studying this document, it is important to note it is only one step in an ongoing process for the creation of a new form of government in Nunavik.

Although there have been earlier efforts to negotiate a Nunavik Government going back to the 1980s, the current process actually started with the signing of the Framework Agreement in the summer of 2003. The Framework Agreement sets out a formal process for the negotiations, provides overall principles applicable to the negotiations, and describes the subject matter of the negotiations.

According to the Framework Agreement, one of the first objectives of the process is to negotiate an AIP which will provide for a fairly comprehensive description of the Nunavik Government, and how it will be created. The draft AIP is then submitted for ratification in Nunavik, and by the Governments of Quebec and Canada.

The next step in the process will be to negotiate a Final Agreement. It will be very similar to the AIP, but it will contain additional details necessary to make it a legally binding document. Attached to the Final Agreement will be a very thorough Implementation Plan. The Final Agreement will then be ready for ratification by the residents of Nunavik in a public referendum, and by the Governments of Quebec and Canada.

Implementation work will move into high gear following the ratification of the Final Agreement. This will involve making the required amendments to the JBNQA through a Complementary Agreement. At the same time, enabling legislation will be developed and submitted for adoption by the Quebec National Assembly. This legislation will set the “effective date” on which the Nunavik Government will officially come into existence and begin operations. The initial election of the Nunavik Government will be held just prior to the “effective date”.

Although the Nunavik Government will come into existence and begin operations on the effective date, the process for the creation of a new form of government in Nunavik will not stop there. Both the Framework Agreement and the AIP make it very clear that all this will be followed up by a second phase of negotiations. The subject matter of the second phase will be new powers and jurisdictions for the Nunavik Government. Furthermore, the Nunavik Government will, itself, be part of the second phase of negotiations.

Although the proposed AIP is only one step in the ongoing process to create a new form of government in Nunavik, it is very important because it is the first document which gives a comprehensive description of what the Nunavik Government will look like, and how it will be created.

The following is a summary of the various Parts of the AIP. By its very nature, this summary cannot describe every detail of the AIP. People should consult the actual AIP for full understanding of its various provisions. The AIP is available in Inuttitut, French and English, and will be widely circulated in the period leading up to any formal ratification process.

Agreement-in-Principle (Overview)
Agreement-in-Principle (Summary:Part I)
Agreement-in-Principle (Summary:Part II)
Agreement-in-Principle (Summary:Part III)
Agreement-in-Principle (Summary:Part IV)
Agreement-in-Principle (Summary:Part V)

  • April 12, 2005
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