Vol. 148, No. 8 — April 9, 2014
SI/2014-34 April 9, 2014
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES DEVOLUTION ACT
Order Fixing April 1, 2014 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2014-305 March 27, 2014
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development,
- (a) pursuant to subsection 73(1) of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act (“the Act”), chapter 2 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014, fixes April 1, 2014 as the day on which Part 1 of the Act, other than sections 47 and 64, comes into force; and
- (b) pursuant to subsection 253(1) of the Act, fixes April 1, 2014 as the day on which sections 113, 116, 125 and 126, subsection 128(3), section 130, subsections 132(2) and (4) and 135(1), sections 139 and 140, subsections 141(1) and 142(2), sections 145 and 163, subsections 173(2), 174(1) and 175(3), sections 177, 182 and 185, subsection 187(2), sections 188 and 189, subsection 190(2), sections 192 and 194 to 198 and subsection 213(1) of the Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order brings into force various provisions of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, on April 1, 2014.
The provisions of the Act that are brought into force by this Order
- implement certain provisions of the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement in order to allow devolution of land and resource management responsibilities from Canada to the Northwest Territories to occur; and
- replace the current Northwest Territories Act, in order to modernize it.
The Northwest Territories Devolution Act achieves a number of Government of Canada objectives. It devolves land and resource management from Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories and implements the terms of the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement which was signed by the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and five Aboriginal organizations on June 25, 2013. It makes improvements to the Northwest Territories land and water regulatory regime in accordance with the Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes. And finally, it replaces the Northwest Territories Act with a more modern version that reflects current political structures and practices and is more in line with the Yukon Act and the Nunavut Act.
The Act contemplates a number of coming-into-force periods in order to accommodate the various objectives and implementation considerations of this legislation.
At Royal Assent, a series of regulatory improvement measures contained in amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, the Northwest Territories Waters Act and the Territorial Lands Act came into force. These amendments were brought into force first in order to achieve the Government of Canada’s objective of devolving a modern, efficient and effective land and water regulatory system to the Government of the Northwest Territories.
This Order fixes the second coming-into-force date. The provisions of the Act brought into force by this Order modernize the Northwest Territories Act, the governing statute of the Northwest Territories, and allow for devolution of land and resource management responsibilities to occur. The parties to the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement have been working toward an April 1, 2014, effective date for devolution. This Order brings into force those provisions of the Act that allow this objective to be achieved.
The remaining provisions of the Act, all of which relate to regulatory improvement measures, will come into force at various points over the next few years, following the completion of related administrative and regulatory work.
The provisions of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act brought into force by this Order will provide residents of the Northwest Territories with a modernized Northwest Territories Act and greater control over their lands and resources. Devolution in the Northwest Territories, as implemented by the Act, will mean the transfer of decision making and administration for land and resource management from Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories. The territorial government will become responsible for the management of onshore lands and the issuance of rights and interest with respect to onshore minerals and oil and gas. Devolution will also give the territorial government the power to collect and share in resource revenues generated in the Northwest Territories.
The Northwest Territories Devolution Act was developed after extensive consultation with Aboriginal organizations and governments, Northerners, the Government of the Northwest Territories and industry.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada shared the proposed legislation at various stages with the stakeholders for review and comment and held meetings and consultation sessions with them, most recently, in early November 2013. Financial assistance was offered to Aboriginal groups throughout the consultation process for the review of this legislative initiative.
As well, throughout devolution negotiations, regional Aboriginal organizations were encouraged to participate in the devolution process. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada consulted Aboriginal groups, resident and transboundary, to hear and consider their views. Five of the seven Aboriginal groups in the Northwest Territories participated in negotiations of the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement and signed on to the Agreement as full partners. The Agreement has been structured so that the other two are able to sign on at a later point if they so wish.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada believes that nothing in the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement or the Northwest Territories Devolution Act will take away from Aboriginal and/or treaty rights or the Crown’s legal duties and obligations towards the Aboriginal people.
Devolution and Major Programs
Devolution and Territorial Relations Branch
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada