Hamlet of Clyde River v. Petroleum Geo-Services Inc., Nunavut, Canada

Canada's National Energy Board approved seismic testing near Baffin Island, Nunavut, which can alter the migration routes of marine mammals. The Inuit people of the nearby hamlet Clyde River were not properly consulted.


Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) granted permission in 2011 to three oil companies to perform seismic testing to locate pockets of oil and natural gas for future extraction in Davis Strait and Baffin Bay near Baffin Island, Nunavut (National Energy Board, 2018). The NEB did not adequately consult with the local Inuit of Clyde River before approving this project, which had the potential to affect the migration patterns and mortality rates of marine mammals (CRv.PGS, 2017). 

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Basic Data
NameHamlet of Clyde River v. Petroleum Geo-Services Inc., Nunavut, Canada
SiteClyde River
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe seismic testing went for five years from July to November before approval was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada. The environmental assessment for the project suggested that potential impacts on marine mammal were significant but could be mitigated by the companies (CRv.PGS, 2017)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population1000 in Clyde River, and potentially several other communities
Start Date01/05/2011
End Date26/07/2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesPetroleum Geo-Services Inc (PGS) from Norway - Main
TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (TGS) from Norway - Main
Relevant government actorsAttorney General of Canada, National Energy Board, Attorney General of Ontario, Attorney General of Saskatchewan, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Makivik Corporation,

Nunavut Wildlife Management Board,

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and

Chiefs of Ontario
International and Financial InstitutionsMultiklient Invest AS (MKI) from Norway - Main
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace Canada (https://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/), David Suzuki (https://davidsuzuki.org/), World Wildlife Fund (https://www.worldwildlife.org/), Amnesty International (https://www.amnesty.org/en/), Idle No More (http://www.idlenomore.ca/)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Oil spills, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Development of AlternativesThe community wanted to be included in the decisions and have proper consultation in the decision process. Former Clyde River mayor Jerry Natanine has stated that the Inuit of Clyde River are not necessarily opposed to development, but want to be treated as partners in any future projects (Bell, 2017).
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Clyde River and overturned approval for the seismic testing, halting the project (CRv.PGS, 2017).
Sources and Materials

(CRv.PGS, 2017)

Clyde River (Hamlet) v. Petroleum

Geo-Services Inc., 2017 SCC 40
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(Harder & Wenzel, 2018);

Harder, M. T., & Wenzel, G. W. (2012). Inuit Subsistence, Social Economy and Food Security in Clyde River, Nunavut. Arctic, 65(3), 305-318.


The news article explains that there must be reform within the system for Indigenous people of Canada due to the victory at the Supreme Court.
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(National Energy Board, 2018)
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(Bell, 2017)
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Media Links

The YouTube video “We Do Not Consent” produced by Greenpeace Canada as part of the campaign against the seismic testing.
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Other Documents

Seismic Testing Apparatus The image explains how seismic testing works. Retrieved from https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/nrth/pblctn/nbrlrctcssmcxprtnfs-eng.html
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Meta Information
Last update07/01/2019