Media Centre

NTI welcomes Supreme Court of Canada decision on seismic testing

(July 26, 2017 – Iqaluit, Nunavut)              Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) President Aluki Kotierk today welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada confirming the right of Inuit to be meaningfully consulted when Inuit rights under the Nunavut Agreement are potentially impacted, and offers her congratulations to the Community of Clyde River for successfully challenging the 2014 National Energy Board decision that would have allowed seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.


The Supreme Court of Canada heard the case in November 2016 and NTI participated in the hearing as an intervener.


“The Supreme Court confirmed that ‘the consultation and accommodation efforts in this case were inadequate and fell short …,’ said Kotierk, “That is what NTI and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), in support of the community, have been saying consistently in our correspondence and submissions to the Government of Canada and the National Energy Board.”


The Supreme Court ruled that the Crown breached its duty to consult and quashed the National Energy Board’s decision to authorize seismic testing.


It has been NTI’s and QIA’s position that a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) should be conducted before any permit for seismic testing be issued. A SEA would allow for the assessment of potential benefits to Inuit and effects on marine mammals.  NTI and QIA are currently participating in the SEA process led by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.


The Supreme Court also confirmed the important legal principle that while the Crown may rely on steps undertaken by a regulatory agency to fulfill its duty to consult, the “Crown always holds ultimate responsibility for ensuring consultation is adequate.” “This was NTI’s position in our submission to the Supreme Court of Canada and we are glad to see that the Court agreed with us as this principle will have fundamental impacts on our day-to-day work with the governments and Institutions of Public Government in Nunavut,” said Kotierk.

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Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated