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The Regional Government is responsible for managing Category III Lands, which are public lands in the domain of the State. These lands covers a total area of approximately 277,000 square kilometres and are located between the 49th and 55th parallels. The Crees have exclusive trapping rights there (except in the southern zone), as well as certain non-exclusive hunting and fishing rights. The Crees also benefit from an environmental and social protection regime. Category III lands include all of the lands within the territory covered by the JBNQA that are located south of the 55th parallel and are not included in other land categories.

Category I Lands

These are lands allocated to the Cree communities. Within the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory, they represent an area of over 5,500 km2. However, the Gouvernement du Québec retains certain rights over these lands, particularly subsurface rights.

For the Crees, Category I Lands are divided as follows:

  • Category IA lands: Québec retains the ownership of these lands, but their administration, management and control has been transferred to the Government of Canada, for the exclusive use and benefit of the Cree First Nations.
  • Category IB lands: The collective ownership of these lands has been transferred by the Gouvernement du Québec to Cree landholding corporations that administer the lands and may grant rights on them. These lands may not, however, be sold or ceded except to Québec.

Category II Lands

Category II lands cover an area of approximately 70,000 km2. The Crees have exclusive hunting, fishing, and trapping rights there. These are public lands in the domain of the State that may be developed for other purposes, on the condition that the parcels of land affected are replaced or compensated for.