Nunavut Land Claims (NLCA) Directions

The NWMB may hold public hearings into any issue requiring a decision on its part (NLCA 5.2.26).

The NWMB may make rules distinguishing between the roles reserved for full parties and the roles reserved for other classes of persons at public hearings (NLCA 5.2.27).

Any representative or agent of the federal or territorial Government, any Inuk or any HTO or RWO is to be accorded the status of full party at a public hearing. The NWMB has the discretion, in conformity with its rules, to determine whether any other person is accorded the status of full party for a particular public hearing (NLCA 5.2.28).

The NWMB may, in any application, proceeding or matter of special importance pending before it, if in the  opinion of the NWMB the public interest so requires, hire counsel to conduct or argue the case or any particular question arising in the application, proceeding or matter (NLCA 5.2.29).

The NWMB has the same powers as commissioners appointed pursuant to Part I of the Inquiries Act, R.S.C. 1970, c.I-13 (NLCA 5.2.30).  Accordingly, the Board has the power to summon before it any witnesses, except Ministers of the Crown, and to require them to:

         i) Give evidence on oath or solemn affirmation, orally or in writing; and

         ii) Produce such documents and things as the NWMB requires for a full investigation of the matters which it is examining.

Types of Hearings

The NWMB may hold three types of hearings:

1.  An in-person hearing, consisting of both a written and an oral component. Generally, the NWMB will hold an in-person hearing for Board decisions that are of significant economic, social and/or cultural interest to Inuit harvesters. Whenever practical, an in-person hearing is held in the community or Region most affected by the proposed decision(s).

2.  An electronic hearing, conducted by conference telephone or another form of electronic technology, whereby parties are able to communicate orally. An electronic hearing may also include a written component. Generally, the NWMB will hold an electronic hearing in one or more of the following three circumstances:

      (a) time is of the essence in addressing the issue under consideration;

      (b) the parties are unable to meet in person in a timely manner; and/or

      (c)  the cost of holding an in-person hearing  is prohibitive.

3. A written hearing, which does not include any oral component. Generally, the NWMB will hold a written hearing in one or more of the following five circumstances:

      (a) the “Proposal for Decision”  is – either formally or informally – a joint initiative on the part of Government and affected Inuit;

      (b) the eventual Board decision is, in the opinion of the NWMB, of relatively less economic, social and/or cultural interest to affected Inuit;

      (c) time is of the essence in addressing the issue under consideration;

      (d) the parties are unable to meet in person in a timely manner; and/or

      (e) the cost of holding an in-person hearing  is prohibitive.

Procedural Fairness

The NWMB is a tribunal - a public body which makes decisions that affect people’s rights or interests. Accordingly, the NWMB is subject to administrative law, which is the law that governs public officials and tribunals who make such decisions. That law requires that decisions be made following procedures that are fair to the affected parties. The doctrine of fairness dictates that the parties be provided timely notice, reasonable disclosure and adequate opportunity to respond before a decision is made affecting their interests or rights.

An NWMB in-person hearing generally consists of the following procedural steps:

1. Receipt by the NWMB of a Proposal for Decision and accompanying best available information;

2. Issuance by the NWMB of a formal public hearing notice, including an invitation for public participation;

3. NWMB disclosure of all the best available information;

4. Issuance by the NWMB of an invitation to potential parties to file written submissions;

5.  The holding of an NWMB oral hearing; and

6. The holding of an NWMB decision-making meeting following the hearing.

Proposal for Decision:

Every Proposal for Decision must include the following five (5) elements:

1. A clearly-written statement of what NWMB decision the proponent is seeking;[1]

2. The best available western scientific, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and/or community information related to the Proposal, including the reasons in support of the Proposal, as well as relevant evidence - and argument, if the proponent wishes - to reasonably justify the proposed decision;

3. A reasonably-detailed summary of what relevant consultations have been undertaken, and with whom – including a report of the matters consulted on, the views raised by those consulted, and the results of the consultations;[2] if Government is the proponent, or one of the proponents, it should also indicate, where appropriate, what accommodations, if any, it has made as a result of the consultation process;[3]

4. If the matter is urgent or otherwise time-sensitive, the provision of reasons and supporting evidence for fast-tracking the Proposal; and

5. All of the above translated into English or Inuktitut (Inuinnaqtun), as the case may be – except that supporting documentation over 10 pages in length need not be translated if accompanied by a reasonably-detailed, translated summary.

NWMB Hearing Rules:

The following set of eighteen (18) Hearing Rules (Rules) applies to all in-person hearings. They also apply – with changes as necessary – to electronic and written hearings. The Board reserves the right to modify the Rules for any particular in-person, electronic or written hearing. The NWMB publishes a set of Rules for each hearing. Hearing parties, interested persons and organizations, and the public are advised to consult the specific Rules for the hearing(s) they will be attending.

1.  The hearing shall be open to the public, with notice provided to the public at least sixty (60) days prior to the commencement of the hearing. Part of the hearing may be conducted in camera, where the NWMB considers that confidential or sensitive matters may be disclosed or discussed.

2.  Any interested person or body may file with the NWMB a written submission and supporting documentation[4] in response to the “Proposal for Decision” – duly translated into Inuktitut/Inuinnaqtun or English as the case may be – by no later than 5:00 p.m. on [month/day/year].

3. Unless persuasive written and translated reasons are provided to the NWMB for late filing, the NWMB will not consider materials for this hearing that are not filed on time.

4. The requirement for translation of written submissions and supporting documentation filed with the NWMB does not apply to individual members of the public.

5.  For all others who file supporting documentation with the NWMB, the requirement for translation does not apply to such documents over 10 pages in length, as long as each supporting document that is not translated is accompanied by a concise, translated summary (English and Inuktitut/Inuinnaqtun) at least two (2) pages in length.

6. The NWMB shall ensure that all materials filed with it or produced by it are made publicly available, subject to relevant confidentiality or privacy concerns.

7.  The NWMB shall provide simultaneous English and Inuktitut translation at the hearing, to the extent reasonably possible.

8. A quorum of NWMB members shall be present at the hearing.

9. Any representative or agent of the Government of Canada or Government of Nunavut, any Hunters and Trappers Organization or Regional Wildlife Organization and any Inuk shall be accorded the status of party at the hearing.

10. Unless invited by the NWMB to be a party, any other person or body wishing to be named as a party by the NWMB shall make an appropriate request in writing to the NWMB.

11. All parties and other participants at the hearing are required to treat one another and the NWMB with respect.

12. The NWMB shall provide a reasonable opportunity for oral presentations from each of the parties at the hearing by their choice of official, expert or counsel.

13. Any member of the NWMB, the NWMB’s Director of Wildlife or the NWMB’s Legal Counsel may ask relevant questions of any party at the hearing.

14. Any party may ask relevant questions of any other party at the hearing.

15. The NWMB shall provide members of the public in attendance at the hearing a reasonable opportunity to make statements and to ask questions of the parties and the NWMB.

16. Every person at the hearing wishing to speak or ask a question shall raise his or her hand, and shall only speak once the NWMB Chairperson has recognized him or her.

17.  The NWMB Chairperson reserves the right to place reasonable time limits on presentations, statements and questions.

18. The NWMB shall make an audio recording of the hearing available upon request.

[1] This may be very specific – for instance, setting out an exact TAH number, calibre of weapon, season of harvest, etc. Other times, options are put forward, or the Proposal may even be open-ended – for example, requesting whatever decision the NWMB considers to be best supported by the evidence.

[2] By way of example, the results of consultations should include any response(s) to issues, concerns, etc. raised during the consultations.

[3] The NWMB will – as a preliminary matter – assess the adequacy of the consultation measures undertaken by the proponent.

[4] “Supporting documentation” refers to one or more studies, articles, opinions or other documents separate from a person’s or organization’s written submission, filed as additional evidence and/or argument in support of that person’s or organization’s submission.