Assessing the Effectiveness of Impact and Benefit Agreements in the Canadian North

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: mining, social sciences

Principal Investigator: Lapierre, Dianne (1)
Licence Number: 14191
Organization: University of Guelph
Licensed Year(s): 2007 2006
Issued: Jun 26, 2007

Objective(s): The objective of this research is to determine the perceived effectiveness of Impact and Benefit Agreements among the membership of the North Slave Metis Alliance.

Project Description: The objective of this research is to determine the perceived effectiveness of Impact and Benefit Agreements among the membership of the North Slave Metis Alliance.

Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) have increasingly been negotiated between mining firms and Aboriginal communities in the NWT. Despite their increasing use and significance, the phenomenon of IBAs remains largely unrecognized and poorly understood. Aside from this research program, there has been no systematic research undertaken that assesses signatories’ perspectives on the effectiveness of these agreements. This research specifically aims to assess IBA effectiveness from the perspective of one Aboriginal signatory to three IBAs in the Northwest Territories - the North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA). This task has academic significance, but it is also clearly of practical interest to northern communities and government.
Data collection will be based on focus groups and semi-structured interviews with a number of community members of the NSMA. Questions will be directed to issues of follow-up, capacity, trust, and benefits in an effort to elicit responses pertaining to IBA effectiveness. This field work component will be completed during the month of June, 2007.
There are a number of reasons why it is significant for this research to use community-level interviews to collect data. First, IBAs are often negotiated at the community level, so the scale of research is important. Secondly, this type of interview will allow for the dissemination of locally relevant issues from people within this particular IBA signatory community.
This research is part of a research program organized by the applicant’s supervisor, Dr. Benjamin Bradshaw. This program is aimed at highlighting and assessing Impact and Benefit Agreements in the Canadian North.
The first week of the field work will be devoted to getting familiar with the North Slave Metis Alliance (NSMA) and its community members. This will be through contacts with the NSMA already made in the area by a previous research investigator, and by the research supervisor, Dr. Ben Bradshaw. Introductions will take place immediately and some preliminary discussions with community members may be organized within the first week. The rest of the month will be devoted to data collection, which will require organized, semistructured interviews and/or focus groups of 8-10 people as the time will allow. Engaging with the community members is essential to gain their perspectives on IBA effectiveness in their region and with their experiences.
If time allows, key informant interviews may also be pursued; however, emphasis of this research will focus on community members.

Results of this study will be provided to the communities in written form. Additionally, any interested parties will be directed to the research website: www.impactandbenefit.com, which will include links not only to the currently proposed research, but research done by other members of an IBA research network. Finally, it is hoped that the results will be presented at an academic conference or workshop, and published in at least one peer-reviewed journal.

Fieldwork will be conducted from June 26 to Saturday, July 31, 2007 in Yellowknife.