Canada`s Aboriginal Human Resources and Skills Development Strategy (HRSDC) enables Aboriginal organizations in Quebec that have signed human resource development agreements to implement their own employment programs that help integrate their clients into employment. In 2008-2010, HRSDC provided a total of $39,560,500 to Cree, Inuit and Naskapi to implement this strategy. The resources allocated to Cree, Inuit and Naskapi have made available to their respective clients various employment measures, including encouraging return to work or school for more than 4,603 Inuit and more than 4,449 Cree. The James Bay Agreement addresses a number of issues and is the first Canadian-indigenous treaty since the 1920s to have few similarities to previous treaties, but it has become the prototype of the many agreements reached since then. It has defined a number of provisions, mainly in the following areas: dispute resolution mechanisms are included in the two implementation agreements with Naskapi and Inuit (NEQA and JBNQA) and in the “New Relationship Agreement” with Cree. Parties may use dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve or as stated issues relating to the interpretation, management or implementation of the JBNQA and NEQA. These mechanisms are usually initiated by a two- or three-part consultation phase. If a satisfactory solution is not found for all parties to the dispute, a mediation procedure and a possible arbitration procedure will follow in the initial phase. The JBNQA and NEQA were the first land-use agreements signed in modern times between the governments of Quebec and Canada and the Aborigines. These agreements contain components of self-management and lay the groundwork for a new relationship between the Cree, Inuit, Naskapi and the Government of Canada.
The area covered by the JBNQA and THE NEQA covers more than one million square kilometres of land in Quebec, between the 48th and 62nd parallels. It was once part of a larger federal territory known as Ruperts Land, from which two long distances were transferred to Quebec in 1898 and 1912. When the government refused to address the problem and insisted on dam construction, Cree and the IQA partnered with the Northern Quebec Inuit Association (NQIA). In November 1972, they filed a lawsuit to slow down the project and force the province to negotiate. Their main argument was that the land transfer agreements for James Bay and northern Quebec, concluded in 1898 and 1912 respectively, declared a commitment to negotiate the surrender of land rights. The Quebec government, which had little interest in its northern territories before 1960, did not consider it necessary to meet this obligation. The James Bay and Northern Quebec agreement was amended by about 20 other agreements on the implementation and terms of the original agreement, as well as by the extension of its provisions. In addition, the Constitution Act of 1982 enshrined in the Constitution of Canada all rights granted in treaties and fonal claims enacted prior to 1982 and confers on the rights enshrined in the original agreement the status of constitutional rights. Over the years, the Government of Canada has signed two “transposition agreements” with the Naskapi and Inuit and an out-of-court agreement with Cree: yet, more than thirty amendments, subsidiary agreements and relevant laws illustrate the complex and dynamic nature of the agreement. In 1984, the Canadian Parliament kept its promise of Aboriginal autonomy and adopted the Cree-Naskapi (Quebec), the first of its kind in the country (see Indigenous Self-Government in Canada).