Land Use and Planning

Planning land use for the Cree Nation

Planning land use for the Cree Nation

Building upon the foundation set out by the JBNQA and the Paix des Braves agreements, the Agreement on Governance in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory (or Cree-Quebec Governance Agreement) signed in 2012, marked another important step in protecting the Cree way of life and ensuring Cree involvement in the development of resources within Eeyou Istchee. Specifically, the Cree-Quebec Governance Agreement provided new powers for the Cree Nation Government relating to land use and resource planning and management, as well as to municipal management. The Cree Nation Government took important steps in establishing a solid foundation for future land use planning. In 2017, the Eeyou Planning Commission (EPC) was established to help carry out some of the new land use planning powers held by the Crees. The EPC is composed of members from each of the Cree communities, and is chaired by the Deputy Grand Chief of the Cree Nation Government.

EPC Mandate

Main role
The EPC has a mandate to create a Regional Land and Resource Use Plan (RLRUP) for Category II lands. The RLRUP is intended to guide decision-making on Category II lands with respect to development and lands management. The draft RLRUP will be submitted to the Cree Nation Government for acceptance, and then to the Québec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources for approval. Guided by a unifying Cree vision, the EPC seeks to build the capacity to engage in land use planning throughout all of Eeyou Istchee. The EPC collaborates with regional planning partners in order to harmonize the land use with the collective vision, interests and aspirations of the Crees.

Caring for the different lands
In collaboration with the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government (EIJBRG), the EPC’s role is to harmonize the draft RLRUP, with the EIJBRG’s Plan for Integrated Land and Resource Development for Category III lands. The EPC will also work collaboratively to provide Cree content and information to inform land use and resource planning for Category III lands. Category I lands are under the planning jurisdiction of the Cree First Nations. The EPC will however work collaboratively at harmonizing land use plans for Category I with the Cree First Nations.

Marine and offshore regions
Working closely with the Eeyou Marine Region Planning Commission on land use planning related to the offshore/marine region, the EPC also seeks to work towards harmonizing the plans for land and sea.

Informed land use for Eeyou Istchee
The EPC shall make recommendations to the Cree Nation Government, at the request of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government, or on its own initiative, on any matter related to land use planning.

Land Use Planning Unit

The Land Use Planning Unit is housed within the Environment and Remedial Works Department of the Cree Nation Government.  The ability for Crees to map, document, analyze and apply Cree knowledge to land use planning is primordial. The Land Use Planning Unit was created to provide the required technical expertise and support to respond to this need.