Project acceptability and compensation for impactsHydro-Québec does not build a hydropower project unless it is favorably received by the communities concerned. In addition, the company takes all the necessary steps to ensure that the host communities, including Aboriginal communities, are involved in development and benefit from economic spinoffs in all stages of its projects.
In the draft-design phase, Hydro-Québec deploys an extensive participation program built around information and discussion panels with local stakeholders. Other communication methods are used concurrently to obtain input from various publics: workshops on specific topics, meetings with special-interest groups, open-house events, technical committees and information bulletins. Upon project completion, the company reviews compliance with its commitments to the host community and the results of the environmental follow-up.
Partnering with host communitiesHydro-Québec signs partnering agreements with host communities to support their long-term development.
For the Romaine project, for example, Hydro-Québec signed an agreement with the regional county municipality of Minganie to fund economic, recreational, tourism, social and cultural projects. The company also signed agreements with the Innu communities of Ekuanitshit, Nutashkuan, Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipi on support for economic, community and cultural projects, as well as traditional activities and education programs.
Respectful relations with Aboriginal communitiesQuébec recognizes 11 Aboriginal nations in 55 communities. Many of these communities are located in areas with high hydropower potential. Hydro-Québec endeavors to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with these communities through formal agreements. The company calls upon their knowledge of the natural environment to conduct environmental inventories and develop mitigation measures.
Hydro-Québec is among the Canadian companies that maintain particularly close ties with Aboriginal communities. The company ensures that they participate in even the first phases of its projects, and considers them to be front-line players.
This approach is based on relationships that respect the interests, values and culture of the various Aboriginal communities. Fulfillment of commitments and ongoing dialogue are also essential for mutual understanding.
Some 30 agreementsSince 1975, Hydro-Québec has signed about 30 agreements with Aboriginal communities to promote their long-term development well after its hydropower projects are completed. This approach shows that Hydro-Québec considers project acceptance by the Aboriginal communities to be extremely important, and the company endeavors to reconcile its objectives with their interests as an essential condition for harmonious development of Québec’s hydropower potential.
Main agreements +
James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) – 1975Projects: La Grande complex and Eastmain projects (particularly Eastmain-1)
This treaty gave the Québec Crees and Inuit special rights under a regime that divided northern Québec into three categories of land. The JBNQA also set out the nature and scope of their rights in a number of areas. Financial compensation was paid to them. Other provisions established an environmental impact assessment framework and an income security program for hunters and trappers. One chapter of this historic agreement deals with hydroelectric development.
La Grande Agreement (1986)Projects: La Grande-1, La Grande-2-A, Brisay and the Radisson–Nicolet–Des Cantons line
This agreement came about in order to provide for additions or changes to the La Grande complex (1975) described in the JBNQA. Among other benefits for the James Bay Crees were payment of financial compensation, implementation of remedial and mitigation measures, connection of five Cree villages to the power grid, and training and jobs for Crees in the operation of Hydro-Québec facilities.
Nadoshtin Agreement and Boumhounan Agreement – 2002Projects: Eastmain-1 and Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert
These two agreements stemmed from the “Paix des Braves,” a historic 50-year agreement that the Québec government negotiated with the Crees on economic, social and community development in the Baie-James region.
The Nadoshtin Agreement dealt with the construction and operation of the Eastmain-1 project, already provided for in the JBNQA, while the Boumhounan Agreement covered the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert development, which constituted a new project under the terms of the JBNQA. The Boumhounan Agreement was innovative in that it gave the Crees the means to participate directly in all stages of the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project, from the preliminary studies to facility commissioning.
Both agreements provided for various environmental measures to remedy or mitigate the project impacts, as well as for the awarding of contracts to Cree businesses.
Manitukapatakan Agreement – 2003Project: Péribonka
Hydro-Québec signed this agreement with the Montagnais Band Council of Lac-Saint-Jean to reconcile its objectives with the interests of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh nation. The agreement set up funds for many economic, environmental, social and cultural projects. It also provided for contracts to be awarded to Ilnu companies for the project studies and construction.
Nanemessu-Nutashkuan Agreement 2008, Unamen-Pakua Agreement 2008 and Nishipiminan Agreement 2009Project: Romaine complex
These agreements concern four Innu communities affected by the Romaine complex. They provide for the creation of funds for economic, community and cultural projects, traditional activities and training programs. Other provisions deal with contract awards to Innu businesses and the participation of Innu communities in the environmental follow-up for the project.
Promoting Aboriginal employmentAs part of its infrastructure projects, Hydro-Québec devotes considerable effort to promoting Aboriginal employment. The most important measures in this regard include:
- Creation of Aboriginal companies, which will expand the Aboriginal workforce and contribute to development of Aboriginal expertise;
- Funding to give Aboriginals the training they need to work on Hydro-Québec jobsites;
- Direct negotiation of contracts for certain construction jobs on Hydro-Québec projects.
Aboriginal communities participate in all project stages, from design to construction and environmental follow-up.
More specifically, they ...
> are kept informed of activities planned in the area and the results of the studies conducted by Hydro-Québec,
> participate in field surveys, inventories and studies,
> influence project development by contributing their traditional knowledge and their familiarity with the land for data collection and interpretation purposes,
> collaborate in determining potential project impacts,
> contribute to the development of mitigation measures, and
help to maximize the positive impacts of the projects.
Romaine complex (Côte-Nord region)
ROMAINE COMPLEX (CÔTE-NORD REGION)
The Nishipiminan Agreement 2009 is designed to reconcile the interests of Hydro-Québec and the Ekuanitshit Innu. This agreement provides funding for economic, cultural and community development projects, and will enable the Innu to participate in project construction and the environmental follow-up. It will also support the practice of traditional activities and meet training needs.
EASTMAIN-1 AND EASTMAIN-1-A/SARCELLE/RUPERT
Created under the Nadoshtin Agreement, Weh-Sees Indohoun Corporation is a Cree–Hydro-Québec–SEBJ joint venture that oversees sport hunting and fishing in the area encompassing the Eastmain-1 and Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert jobsites. Its mission is to promote wildlife and ecosystem conservation during project construction.