Participant Funding Program — Aboriginal Funding Envelope
Funding Review Committee’s Report

Allocation of Federal Funds for the Environmental Assessment of the Renard Diamond Mine Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) is established pursuant to subsection 58(1.1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which states: “For the purposes of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels”. The PFP also includes an Aboriginal Funding Envelope (AFE) to strengthen the ability of Aboriginal groups to participate in federal or joint federal–provincial environmental assessment (EA) processes and in related consultation activities.

A Funding Review Committee (FRC) independent of the EA was established for the Renard Diamond Mine Project (the Project), which is being conducted by means of a comprehensive study (CS). Its purpose was to assess the funding applications received under the PFPAFE for the Project and to provide recommendations to the President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) on whether funding should be provided, and if so, in what amount.

Under the AFE for this Project, a total of $40,000 was made available to support Aboriginal participation and related consultation activities in the EA, including:

  • review and comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) submitted by the project proponent;
  • review and comment on the Comprehensive Study Report (CSR); and
  • prepare for and participate in community meetings/open houses to consider the proposed project;

The deadline to submit an application was August 15. One application was received for a total funding request of $40,000.

On August 25, the FRC met to review the application. The FRC members were: Mr. Bruce Young, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency, acting as Committee Chairperson; Mr. Guy Demers, Senior Environmental Consultant, Formenvir; and Mr. Guy Riverin, retired Environmental Assessment Specialist, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Prior to the FRC’s deliberations on the application, the EA Manager for the Agency provided information on the Project and outlined the expected steps in the EA process.


Stornoway Diamonds (Canada) Inc. (the proponent) is proposing to develop a diamond deposit on the Foxtrot property in the municipality of James Bay. The Project is located approximately 70 kilometres (km) north of the Otish Mountains. The project site is approximately 300 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 360 km north of the town of Chibougamau. The extension of Route 167 could potentially ensure access to this mine site.

According to the latest mineral resource estimates, the mine life could be 25 years, with a good possibility of extending the extraction period of this resource. This project involves the development of the mine, including open pits, mine shafts, groundwater pumping, mine adits, a processing plant and a kimberlite tailing containment area. It also includes the construction of a housing complex, a secondary road, an airstrip, and associated facilities.

This project has been identified as a major resource project requiring the involvement of the Major Projects Management Office. A project agreement was signed in September 2010, but must be amended due to procedural changes. The Project is described in the CS list under section 10 of the Comprehensive Study List Regulations, which states:

The proposed construction, decommissioning or abandonment of a facility for the extraction of 200,000 cubic metres by year (m³/yr) or more of ground water or an expansion of such a facility that would result in an increase in production capacity of more than 35 percent.

As set out in subsection 11.01(1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Agency intends to initiate a CS of the Project, as the following federal departments may issue authorizations:

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada under section 32 and subsection 35(2) of the Fisheries Act;
  • Natural Resources Canada under paragraph 7(1)(a) of the Explosives Act; and
  • Transport Canada under subsections 5(1) and (2) of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

This project is also subject to the provincial process of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.


Under the PFPAFE, funding may be provided to Aboriginal applicants to support their input to an EA and/or to support their engagement in consultation activities with the federal government. These activities must be linked to the EA of a proposed project through a CS, mediation or review panel.

Eligible recipients must plan to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government that are linked to the EA of the proposed project and be able to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • have a direct, local interest in the proposed project, such as living or owning property in the project area;
  • have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EA; or
  • have expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the Project.

The applicant was deemed to have met the eligibility criteria.

Under the PFPAFE, applicants can request funding for costs related to:

  • professional fees;
  • staff salaries and benefits;
  • travel expenses;
  • honoraria for Elders and Chiefs to attend meetings and functions;
  • ceremonial offerings related to receiving traditional knowledge in relation to the EA;
  • administrative and reporting costs;
  • local collection and/or distribution of information;
  • office supplies and telephone charges;
  • rental of office space and meeting rooms;
  • legal fees;
  • general media advertising and/or promotion;
  • purchase of information material, with supporting documentation; and
  • other detailed expenses.

Rationale for Allocation

In reviewing the one application and in reaching its conclusions and recommendations, the FRC took into consideration a number of factors including the following:

  • whether the Aboriginal group could demonstrate that it plans to engage in Aboriginal consultation activities with the federal government that are linked to the EA of the proposed project;
  • the ability of the Aboriginal group to demonstrate that it had met one or more of the eligibility criteria listed above;
  • the quality, clarity and content of the application, particularly with respect to the relationship between specific project components and the applicant’s traditional lands and resources, and the applicant’s proposed EA participation work plan;
  • advice received from the Agency regarding the Aboriginal group’s expectation to be a participant in the EA, and the role that the group may play in the review;
  • the eligible activities under the PFPAFE for the Project, which include the review and provision of comments to the Agency on the EIS and the CSR as well as the participation in community meetings; and
  • reasonable estimates for time for professional and staff salaries and benefits support given the eligible activities.


The FRC recommends allocating $28,500 of the available AFE funding to support the Cree Nation of Mistissini.

The FRC further recommends that any funding allocation be conditional on a provision of written comments to the Agency, by the applicant, on the EIS and the CSR.

The Participant Funding Review Committee
Renard Diamond Mine Project
Aboriginal Funding Envelope

Bruce Young, Committee Chairperson, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency

Guy Demers, Senior Environmental Consultant, Formenvir

Guy Riverin, retired Environmental Assessment Specialist, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Recommended Participant Funding Allocations
Renard Diamond Mine Project
Aboriginal Funding Envelope

Applicant Total Allocation Amount Recommended
Cree Nation of Mistissini $28,500
TOTAL $28,500

Document Reference Number: 6

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