International Joint Commission

International Joint Commission, the oldest of Canadian-American intergovernmental organizations, was established by the BOUNDARY WATERS TREATY of 1909 to deal mainly with the apportionment, conservation and development of water resources (including hydroelectric power) along the international boundary. Since beginning its work in 1912 it has reported on over 50 issues affecting the US and Canada, has produced decisions on even more applications for diversion of waters, and has supervised dozens of decisions for Canadian-American joint boards and committees. The IJC has a wide range of investigative, quasi-judicial, administrative and arbitral functions. It can also act as a final court of arbitration on any issue between Canada and the US, but has never been used thus. The IJC comprises 3 Canadian and 3 American commissioners and maintains offices in Ottawa and Washington. It has limited staff and budget, yet enjoys a great deal of independence. It has been highly successful, and suggestions have often been made that the IJC model, especially its fact-finding techniques, be applied to other problem areas.