NTI, GN, Ottawa reach deal to pay for IPGs

Board funding rises from $13 to $15 million a year


At long last, they’ve actually agreed on something.

Following advice contained in conciliator Thomas Berger’s interim report last fall on the implementation of the Nunavut land claims agreement, negotiators struck a deal this past February on how to pay for Nunavut’s family of environmental management boards.

Known to bureaucrats as “IPGs,” or “Institutions of Public Government,” these include public bodies such as the water board, the wildlife management board, the impact review board, and the planning commission.

The agreement’s details are attached to Berger’s final report, submitted to the federal government on March 1, and leaked last week to Nunatsiaq News.

Here’s a summary of who gets what under the proposed agreement:

* Nunavut Wildlife Management Board: $6.89 million a year, which includes $2.6 million a year to pay for local and regional hunters and trappers’ organizations;
* Nunavut Impact Review Board: $2.39 million a year;
* Nunavut Water Board: $2.3 million a year;
* Nunavut Planning Commission: $3.49 million a year;
* Surface Rights Tribunal: $194,932 a year.

These amounts of money aren’t retroactive to 2003. They’re intended to cover the period between now and 2013, when a new implementation contract would expire.

In talks that started in 2001 to produce that new 10-year implementation contract for the Nunavut land claims agreement, negotiators with the Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the federal government could not agree on how much money Ottawa should pay every year to operate these bodies.

Berger, who was appointed as a conciliator in May of 2005 after talks collapsed, made numerous suggestions in his interim report last fall that are aimed at helping the three sides reach an IPG funding deal.

The three sides then worked out an agreement at talks in December and January, with the involvement of another body called the Nunavut Implementation Panel.

Negotiators also recommended some structural reforms to be included in a new implementation contract. They include:

* changes to the structure of the Nunavut Implementation Panel, and new mechanisms that the panel can use to resolve implementation disputes;
* a special fund that the panel can use to deal with governance and capacity problems within the IPGs (this is likely prompted by recent embarrassing controversies such as the near-collapse of the Nunavut Planning Commission last year, and conflict-of-interest allegations directed at the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board by some fisheries groups);
* funding to help the GN pay for a general monitoring plan.

The IPG agreement won’t become a done deal until after a new implementation contract to cover the period between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2013 is completed, ratified, and signed.

But it does mean that the biggest outstanding issue is now the question of how to carry out Article 23, a question that dominates Berger’s final report.

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