The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual Energy Council of Canada initiative which provides opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration on a topic of shared interest across the Canadian energy sector, produced with the support of Canada’s national energy associations and Energy Council of Canada’s members. The stories contributed to the 2019 edition, Indigenous Energy Across Canada, highlight current conversations celebrating Canada’s dynamic energy sector and encouraging its continuous improvement.
Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.
Click to read a Foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
THE THIRD PHASE OF JAMES BAY DEVELOPMENT: TAKING PARTNERSHIPS, ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES AND SHARING OF WEALTH TO NEW LEVELS
This article, submitted by Hydro-Québec, will focus on the development of the third phase of the James Bay complex, namely the generating stations namely the Eastmain-1 and Eastmain-1A/Sarcelle/Rupert project. Emphasis will be placed on the development of a new relationship with the Cree that led to an improved project development model.
The Eastmain Complex, the most recent of the James Bay hydroelectric development: Taking partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels.
When the initial phases of hydropower development in the Baie-James region of Québec was launched in the 1970s, there was no law on the environment, no environmental ministries and no environmental impact assessment process. So consulting affected communities wasn’t on anyone’s agenda and wasn’t yet part of Hydro-Québec’s approach. In the new millennium, with a new phase of development in this region, close-knit partnerships with the Cree Nation have become the cornerstone of project development throughout Québec.
Nadoshtin and Boumhounan agreements paved the way to new developments in Baie-James in the 2000s
The Nadoshtin agreement (2002) between the Crees and Hydro-Québec opened up the possibility of building and operating the Eastmain-1 hydropower project, while the Boumhounan agreement (2002) provided a framework for the Eastmain 1- A/Sarcelle/Rupert project. The key to success for the Eastmain projects was partially diverting the Rupert River’s flow northward.
But Hydro-Québec’s commercial interest in this new project had to be balanced by clear and extensive measures to preserve the surrounding environment and respect host Cree Nation and Cree communities.
In the framework of the Eastmain-1 project, Hydro-Québec made a number of commitments with a view to
- reduce the project’s impacts on the environment
- protect the Cree way of life and encourage partnerships with the Cree communities
- encourage the awarding of contracts to Cree businesses
- promote the training and hiring of Cree workers.
- built local capacity
“…The company wanted to do more than minimize environmental impact; Hydro-Québec wanted community members to see positive gains from the Eastmain developments…”
From the design stage, which was carried out in concert with the Cree, the Eastmain 1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project incorporated many environmental protection measures, reflecting the Cree traditional knowledge of the community members they consulted. The Cree of Québec were involved in all stages of the project, ensuring they had a voice in how their land would be impacted.
With input from Cree community members, Hydro-Québec devised a combination of dikes and canals to improve water flow, ensuring that the project, which diverts 71% of the river’s flow, flooded only a minimal land area. They also incorporated a substantial ecological in-stream flow and a series of weirs in the river to protect fish habitats, biological diversity, preserve the landscape, and maintain navigation and other activities in the area.
Furthermore, Hydro-Québec signed an unprecedented water management agreement with the Cree to ensure that the modulation of the ecological in-stream flow was managed in a cooperative manner.
In addition to helping preserve the local environment, Hydro-Québec was committed to bringing growth opportunities to the Cree of Québec. The company wanted to do more than minimize environmental impact; Hydro-Québec wanted community members to see positive gains from the Eastmain developments.
Under the Boumhounan Agreement, an extensive participation program built around information and consultation with Cree stakeholders was put in place. It also made funds available for the Cree to finance fisheries, capacity building and traditional activities projects.
When the Eastmain 1A/Rupert diversion project was completed in 2013, the Cree and Hydro-Québec signed the Reappropriation Agreement, giving Cree land users the necessary support to maintain their traditional activities as long as the Rupert River diversion is in operation.
Post-project consultations: ensuring that measures were effective
The COMEX, a joint committee composed of 3 members appointed by the Government Quebec and 2 members appointed by the Cree Nation government, organized consultations with Cree communities to hear their views on the effectiveness of environmental and social mitigation measures put in place for the Eastmain 1A/Rupert diversion project. Approximately 200 members of the Cree Nation from six communities participated in the consultations organized in November 2012.
The major findings of the COMEX were as follows:
- […]”the Committee is convinced that the Eastmain-1-A and Sarcelle Powerhouses and Rupert Diversion Project will have contributed to greater understanding between all the parties concerned, to greater Cree involvement in the development of the territory, and perhaps to empowering them to achieve their long- term economic and community development goals.”
- “Compared to previous projects carried out in the territory, the Eastmain-1- A/Sarcelle/Rupert project included more adequate and an unprecedented number of mitigation and compensation measures, for both environmental and social impacts. Many of these measures are aimed at helping Cree land users reclaim the territory. A new approach was developed and the Crees have benefited from the partnerships built with the proponent, thereby forging a new relationship.”
- “Hydro-Québec was proactive, exceeding the requirements of the certificate of authorization in an effort to minimize the project’s impacts and ensure greater Cree involvement in environmental and social follow-up activities.”
- “Hydro-Québec went to great lengths to ensure that Aboriginal communities derive benefit from the project.”
A new project development model
The Eastmain Complex – the most recent phase of development in Baie-James – added a potential energy output of 8.7 TWh per year, enough to power more than 500,000 Québec homes. The new relationships that Hydro-Québec and the Cree Nation developed over that period have become models for future energy resource development throughout Québec. With considerable untapped hydropower potential and a strong wind potential in Québec, Hydro-Québec’s new and improved project development model holds great promise for the future of clean energy in northeast North America.
The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector. The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.
Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.
Alberta Budget 2024 – Employment
Budget 2024: Maintaining Alberta’s economic advantage
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan that maintains Alberta’s competitive advantage so businesses and industry can continue to innovate, thrive and create jobs.
Budget 2024 puts Alberta on a path of continued economic growth through funding that supports creating jobs, attracting investment and developing a skilled and diversified workforce. Strategic investments will empower job creators and innovators to invest, grow and flourish in Alberta’s diversifying economy.
“Budget 2024 reaffirms our commitment to diversify, attract new investment and provide more jobs that keep Alberta’s engine humming. Strategic investments that support the growth of Alberta cities and promote apprenticeship programming and emission reduction technology will help create more opportunities to build an even stronger Alberta.”
Alberta remains a key driver of Canada’s economic prosperity, accounting for 22 per cent of all jobs created in the country last year, despite having just 12 per cent of the population. Compared with other provinces, Alberta has the highest weekly earnings and the lowest taxes, offering many incentives to newcomers seeking a great place to call home.
To further build on these advantages, Budget 2024 introduces the Alberta is Calling attraction bonus, a $5,000 refundable tax credit aimed at attracting out-of-province workers in the skilled trades. A total of $10 million will be provided to workers.
“The Alberta is Calling attraction bonus will support our government’s commitment to build a skilled and resilient labour force that helps businesses and the economy thrive. We will continue to foster the conditions for growth to ensure Alberta remains the best place to live, work, invest, do business and raise a family.”
Budget 2024 supports the sustainable growth of Alberta’s cities and communities. In addition to $724 million in municipal infrastructure funding through the Local Government Fiscal Framework in 2024-25, Budget 2024 launches the new Local Growth and Sustainability Grant, an application-based program that provides $60 million over three years to enable municipalities to fund infrastructure that supports economic development and addresses unique and emergent needs in their communities.
“We’re pleased to see so many people choosing to move to Alberta to experience the advantages this province has to offer, thanks in part to the strong communities we are supporting through predictable, sustainable funding. We also recognize the pressure this growth can put on local communities. The Local Growth and Sustainability Grant is part of our responsible plan to support a vibrant province and help communities respond to growth opportunities and acute sustainability challenges.”
As Alberta’s economy continues to grow, so does the need to sustain a vibrant and robust workforce to meet the needs of Alberta employers. Budget 2024 addresses current and future potential labour shortages by expanding skills and knowledge in key areas.
More than $100 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs will add 3,200 seats to help meet growing demand at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions. Another $361 million from the Budget 2024 Capital Plan will build and upgrade research and learning facilities in some of the province’s world-class post-secondary institutions. Investments include $63 million to renovate and expand the W.J. Elliott agricultural mechanics building at Olds College and $55 million to increase STEM programming capacity at the University of Calgary.
“Supporting growth in Alberta’s economy means ensuring no region is left behind. Our funding commitments to STEM programming at the University of Calgary and agriculture at Olds will create new opportunities for students in our rural economy and those studying in our largest urban centre.”
The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) is helping turn the province into a top global producer of petrochemicals. The APIP provides grants to cover 12 per cent of eligible capital costs for Alberta-based petrochemicals projects. In 2023-24, three projects are expected to receive APIP grant payments totalling $116 million, helping to diversify Alberta’s economy and create jobs.
“Royalties collected from oil and gas fund the things Albertans rely on, like health, education and social services. Budget 2024 supports the government’s mission to strengthen investor confidence and support job creation in communities all while lowering emissions through the use of new technologies.”
Budget 2024 highlights
- $597 million over three years from the province’s TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) fund to support a suite of programs that reduce emissions, support clean technology development, enhance climate resiliency and create jobs for Albertans.
- $1.5 billion for child-care services, an increase of $200 million, enabling more Albertans with young children to participate in the workforce.
- $32 million to build three new water intakes in the Designated Industrial Zone in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, which will support long-term private investment opportunities in the area.
- Almost $30 million over three years for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund, an increase of nearly $8 million, to help fund business startup and expansion costs in Indigenous communities.
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to strengthen health care and education, build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.
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