Public participation and social acceptability

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As for environmental assessment, public participation and social acceptability are some of the most important concerns for the JBACE. In recent years, several initiatives and projects have been at the heart of the JBACE's work, such as the development of a progress report and a final report offering several recommendations on the issue in 2010 and 2016 respectively, and the Uranium Commission that took place between 2014 and 2016. In addition to ensuring that public participation is in line with Section 22, and is encouraged, the JBACE is interested in developing tools to assist this participation.

Consultation and public participation policies

Several ministries at each level of government have consultation policies in place to oversee such practices. The JBACE is actively involved in the analysis and revision of these policies:

  • May 2016: brief to the MERN regarding the Aboriginal Communities Consultation Policy Specific to the Mining Sector
  • March 2017: comments to the MERN concerning the ministry's guides on public consultations and monitoring committees for proponents
  • May 2017: comments on the draft MFFP Forest Management Consultation Policy
  • June 2017: comments to the MERN on the ministry's guidelines in the area of social acceptability
  • February 2018: comments on the Mining Sector Indigenous Consultation Policy and the Supplementary Document
  • June 2018: comments on the document entitled Establishment and operation of a monitoring committee: Good practices guide for project promoters and local actors, and legal obligations of monitoring committees – preliminary version, published by the MERN

The JBACE will remain interested in the establishment and evolution of policies and consultation processes at all levels of government.

Development of a guide for project proponents

In 2015, the JBACE presented recommendations to improve public participation during the environmental and social impact assessment and review procedure provided for in Section 22 of the JBNQA. One of these recommendations was to produce a public participation best-practice guidance document for project proponents.

  • June 2016: establishment of a working group and beginning of the preparation of the guidance document
  • February 2017: submission of the first draft to the working group and workshop
  • November-December 2018: finalization and submission of final draft to JBACE members for approval
  • May 2019: presentation at the AQEI conference
  • August 2019: publication of the guide entitled Best-practice guidance for project proponents: Project-related public participation and engagement in the James Bay Territory (available here)

The JBACE will continue to disseminate the guide by participating in the Québec Mines+Énergie 2019 conference that will be held in November, among other things.