In 1977, YFFN signed the Northern Flood Agreement (NFA) with Canada, Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, and 4 other First Nations. In 1995, YFFN entered into a second agreement with Canada, Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro to implement the NFA called the 1995 Comprehensive Implementation. Among other provisions, the 1995 agreement states that YFFN and Manitoba Hydro must develop a proposal to compensate YFFN for known and foreseeable adverse (negative) effects of any future development.
Because the Keeyask Generating Station is considered a “future development”, Manitoba Hydro is required to consult YFFN in developing proposed compensation for any adverse effects that cannot be eliminated, and are not off-set by benefits of the project.
What Does “Adverse Effects” Mean?
The 1995 Comprehensive Implementation agreement defines the term adverse effects as:
“the direct or indirect negative consequences of the project or the operation thereof by Hydro, which consequences impact or change the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of the environment and include, without limitation, risks or injuries to the health, safety, well-being, comfort or enjoyment of York Factory or Members, and impacts on interests in and the exercise of rights in relation to lands, pursuits, activities, opportunities, lifestyles and assets of York Factory or Members.”
Basically, the term refers to the negative effects that a development project has on the natural environment, local communities, economies, and the safety, well-being, activities, and interests of YFFN members.
Keeyask Adverse Effects
From 2005 to 2008, YFFN Chief, Council, and negotiators negotiated an adverse effects compensation proposal for the Keeyask project with Manitoba Hydro. Over the course of the adverse effects negotiations, YFFN and Manitoba Hydro exchanged positions on ways of lessening the impact of the project’s effects on YFFN members, and of compensating YFFN for unavoidable effects. These include both financial compensation for unavoidable effects and funding for a variety of community programs.
Keeyask Adverse Effects Agreement
In July 2008, Manitoba Hydro forwarded its position on the total dollar value of the Adverse Effects Agreement, and YFFN negotiators developed an agreement based on this dollar value.
In 2009, YFFN held several rounds of information meetings in York Landing, Thompson, Churchill and Winnipeg. Then in March 2009, YFFN held a referendum vote to seek direction from its membership as to whether Chief and Council should sign the Adverse Effects Agreement. Many of YFFN members chose not to vote, and those member who voted in favour of the Adverse Effects Agreement, did so with mixed feelings. Nonetheless, a strong majority of voters supported the agreement being signed.
The Adverse Effects Agreement includes various elements including a sum of money that will be held in Trust and off setting programs for community members such as a Resource Access and Use Program, an Environmental Stewardship Program and a Cultural Sustainability Program.
For further information, please refer to YFFN’s Adverse Effects Agreement.