Not all proposed projects require Screening by the NIRB. Under the Nunavut Agreement and the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, applications for all proposed projects must be submitted to the Nunavut Planning Commission, and after determining whether the project conforms to any approved land use plans the NPC verifies whether the project type is exempt from the requirement for screening. Schedule 12-1 of the Nunavut Agreement sets out a number of different project types with low potential to adversely impact the environment which are typically exempt from Screening by the NIRB. These project types include many activities in municipalities, tourist facilities of less than 20 beds outside a municipality, and other small projects.
The NIRB also has the ability to enter into agreements with responsible government Ministers to further exempt additional project categories or activities from the requirement for Screening. This may be warranted where a project type has low potential to adversely impact the environment and where a comparable process is in place to ensure environmental impacts are appropriately addressed. The NIRB currently has 3 such screening exemption agreements in place under Schedule 12-1(7) of the Nunavut Agreement and Schedule 3 of the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act:
- NIRB Screening Exemption Agreement with Parks Canada
- NIRB Screening Exemption Agreement with Government of Nunavut department of Culture and Heritage
- NIRB Screening Exemption Agreement with Government of Nunavut department of Environment
Each screening exemption agreement requires annual summary reporting of licences, permits and approvals issued and can be revisited at any time as necessary.
In exceptional cases, even where a project type is exempt from the requirement for screening by the NIRB, the Nunavut Planning Commission maintains the ability to refer such project proposals to the NIRB for screening where the NPC has a specific concern for potential cumulative effects that might occur.