Questions and Answers
1. What does the Review Committee do?
The Review Committee is responsible for the social and environmental assessment of projects that may have an impact for the people and the territory in the James Bay region south of the 55th parallel. In recent years, these assessments have often concerned mining, road, and powerhouse projects.
2. When was the Review Committee created?
The Review Committee was created in 1975 by virtue of Chapter 22 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), which was signed by the government of Quebec, Hydro‑Québec and the Grand Council of the Cree of Quebec. The provisions in Chapter 22 were confirmed with the adoption of Quebec’s Environment Quality Act.
3. What is the territory within the mandate of the Review Committee?
The Review Committee’s mandate covers the Quebec region governed by the JBNQA that is located south of the 55th latitude and west of the 69th longitude. It also includes the Category I and II lands Whapmagoostui, a Cree community just north of the 55th parallel. More simply put, the Review Committee’s mandate covers what is commonly known as the central and northern part of the James Bay Region. It includes the nine Cree communities (Oujé-Bougoumou, Mistissini, Waswanipi, Nemaska, Waskaganish, Eastmain, Wemindji, Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui) as well as the territory of the cities of Chibougamau and Chapais. You can find a map of this area on the main page of this website.
4. How does the Review Committee work?
The Review Committee is composed of five members, three appointed by the government of Quebec (including the Chairman), and two appointed by the Government of the Cree Nation. When they review a project, the Quebec members can make use of the analyses carried out by the branch responsible for the environmental assessment of Northern and mining projects at the Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MDDELCC). These analyses are based on the results of discussions within the MDDELCC and with other departments and organizations. Every issue under study undergoes these discussions, which call upon the scientific expertise of specific stakeholders. The Cree members, meanwhile, use the expertise of analysts working for the Government of the Cree Nation. At the meetings of the Review Committee, the analyses from all these discussions are shared and discussed. Once discussions are concluded, the members of the Review Committee vote on final recommendations for the project, and their decision is entered in the register.
5. When does the Review Committee meet and when can I see the minutes?
The Review Committee meets about once a month. The minutes of the meeting are normally available on the COMEX website within 45 days after members have adopted them.
6. How does the Secretariat of the Review Committee operate?
The MDDELCC ensures the operation of the COMEX Secretariat and assumes all the related costs. The Secretariat is based in Quebec City, at 675 René-Lévesque Blvd. E., Édifice Marie-Guyart.
7. Is the Review Committee an independent body?
Yes, each member promises in writing to abide by the ethical standards and code of behaviour set out in the Review Committee’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, as well as in the Quebec Regulation respecting the ethics and professional conduct of public office holders.
8. What is the difference between a Review Committee recommendation and a decision of the Quebec government?
The recommendations of the Review Committee are sent to the Administrator appointed by the Quebec government, namely, the Deputy Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change. It is the Administrator who makes the decision whether or not to authorize a project, and what the conditions will be, if any. Once the project is authorized, the Administrator issues a certificate of authorization for the project, and sends it to the project proponent.
If the Administrator decides to amend or reject one or more of the recommendations made by the Review Committee, he must officially consult with the Review Committee.
9. How can I view the decisions of the Administrator?
All decisions of the Provincial Administrator related to the territory covered by the Review Committee’s mandate are summarized in a table of decisions that can be found on the MDDELCC website.
10. How can I participate in the review of a project?
Every project subject to review by the Review Committee is described on this website. You can read the relevant documents and can also send any comments you have to the COMEX Secretariat. When the Review Committee holds public hearings on a particular project, the hearings are announced in advance on the welcome page of our website. The rules for participating in public hearings are described in the section labeled Public Participation.
11. Do you have a question we haven’t answered?
Please send us your questions and/or comments.