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Participant Funding Program - Aboriginal Funding Envelope
Funding Review Committee's Report

Allocation of Federal Funds for Phase I of the Environmental Assessment of the Canpotex Potash Export Terminal Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) was set up pursuant to the legislative provision contained in subsection 58(1.1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), which states: For the purposes of this Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels. The PFP also includes an Aboriginal Funding Envelope (AFE) to strengthen the ability of Aboriginal groups to participate in federal or joint environmental assessment (EA) processes and in related consultation activities.

A Funding Review Committee (FRC), independent of the review process, was established to assess applications for funding under Phase I of the AFE for the Canpotex Potash Export Terminal Project (the Project) and recommend a funding allocation to the applicants. Under Phase I of the AFE, a total of $99,000 was made available to enable applicants to participate in the early stages of the comprehensive study process for the Project. Phase I funds are to support Aboriginal groups' input to the proposed scope and selection of the track to be followed for the remainder of the EA (either comprehensive study or review by a panel or by means of mediation. Further funding is expected to be available later (for Phase II of the EA process) to support Aboriginal groups' input to the Environmental Impact Statement and the comprehensive study report if a decision is made to proceed with the review by means of a comprehensive study. Should a decision be made to refer the Project to a panel or a mediation, then a separate funding program in support of those activities will be established.

On March 12, 2010, the FRC met to review the five applications received. The FRC members were Mr. Bruce Morgan, Executive Advisor to the Vice-President, Operations Sector, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency), acting as Committee Chairperson; Mr. Paul Scott, retired Regional Director of the Agency's Pacific and Yukon office; and Mr. Ray Crook, Environmental Assessment Consultant.

Background

Canpotex Terminals Ltd. is proposing to construct a potash export terminal on Ridley Island in the Port of Prince Rupert, BC. The Project facility will cover approximately 55 hectares of federal lands located on Ridley Island and a 14 hectare water lot. The federal land is managed by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. Project value is estimated at $400 million. Prince Rupert Port Authority will build and own the road/rail/utility corridor that will service the Canpotex terminal and other proposed industrial lots. The Major Project Management Office identified the Project as a Major Resource Project and therefore subject to the Cabinet Directive on Improving the Performance of the Regulatory System for Major Resource Projects.

A Notice of Commencement of an EA pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was posted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry internet site on May 21, 2009. The notice indicated Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada would be required to ensure an EA is completed. In November 2009, the Responsible Authorities determined the Project will be reviewed by means of a comprehensive study.

Eligibility

Under the PFP-AFE, funding may be provided to Aboriginal groups who plan to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government that are linked to the EA of a proposed project through a comprehensive study, mediation or review panel. The funds can be used to support their engagement in consultation activities and input to the EA.

The applicants must demonstrate that they meet at least one of the following three eligibility criteria. They must:

  • have a direct, local interest in a project, such as a residence in the area or historical or cultural ties to the area likely to be affected by the project;
  • have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EA; and/or
  • have expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the project.

Funding from other sources that is known to have been made available to or received by Aboriginal groups related to the review of a project is considered by the FRC, as are any partnerships between the applicants and other participants in a project's assessment.

All five of the applicants for Phase I funding were found to be eligible for funding, based on the above criteria.

Rationale for Allocation

The FRC concluded that all five of the Aboriginal organizations that applied for funding have legitimate and potentially important roles to play in the EA. However, the FRC found that a few of the applicants appeared to be applying for funds to participate throughout all phases of the federal EA, and not just Phase I.

The FRC approached this allocation process by focusing its analysis and associated recommendations on two considerations:

  1. The potential adverse environmental effects of the Project on areas where an applicant may have existing or potential Aboriginal rights or interests, including the locations of its communities and Indian Reserves, and on lands that its members occupy or use for traditional purposes; and
  2. Supporting the applicant in providing comments on the scoping documents.

Recommendation

The FRC recommends the allocation of all available Phase I funding, totalling $99,000, to the applicants to participate in the early stages of the comprehensive study process.

The FRC believes that the following three activities would qualify for Phase I funding and recommends that any funding agreements entered into between the Agency and the applicants clearly state that the Phase I funding activities be limited to these activities:

  1. education of communities about the Project and the EA process to be followed;
  2. reviewing, consulting and providing comments on the scoping document to be issued by the federal responsible authorities; and
  3. meetings with the Agency and federal authorities.

The FRC also recommends that any funding agreements entered into between the Agency and the applicants clearly state that a condition of funding is that the recipient must provide comments on the scoping documents.

The Participant Funding Review Committee
Canpotex Potash Export Terminal Project

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Mr. Bruce Morgan, Committee Chairperson, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

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Mr. Paul Scott, Retired Regional Director of the Agency's Pacific and Yukon office

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Mr. Ray Crook, Environmental Assessment Consultant

Recommended Pahse I Participant Funding Allocations
Canpotex Potash Export Terminal Project
Aboriginal Funding Envelope
Applicant Total amount recommended
Kitsumkalum First Nation $14,500
Gitxalaa Nation $20,000
Kitselas First Nation $14,500
Lax Kw'alaams $25,000
Metlakatla $25,000
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