Legislative Initiatives

What are the new and amended pieces of legislation ENR is developing?

ENR recently introduced three new bills to the Legislative Assembly:

ENR continues to advance the development of two additional bills, for introduction at a future date:

  • Bill 44, Forest Act 
  • Amendments to the Environmental Protection Act
  • Amendments to the Waters Act

Why do we need new legislation?

ENR’s current legislation needs updating. The proposed new legislation and amendments are required to bring GNWT law in line with the authorities received through devolution, to help give the GNWT a legislative base to better integrate environmental protection with economic and social needs, and to ensure the GNWT is using the most current and comprehensive legislative tools to manage lands and resources.

A thriving economy for the Northwest Territories starts with our most important and cherished resources: our land, water and air. Our collective efforts across this suite of legislation will result in a made-in-the-NWT model that incorporates and addresses feedback brought forward by Indigenous governments and organizations, stakeholders and the public.

The new and amended pieces of legislation will address feedback brought forward by Indigenous governments and organizations, stakeholders and the public. They will help us to design and implement an effective regulatory process by increasing efficiencies, filling gaps, eliminating overlaps and establishing a consistent legislative base for existing policy. They will also explicitly affirm Aboriginal and treaty rights.

What process did ENR use to develop these bills?

ENR’s legislative initiatives have been developed through a partnership approach with Technical Working Groups (TWG) of Indigenous governments and organizations (IGOs) and regulatory boards, and with additional input from Stakeholders Advisory Groups (SAG) consisting of non-government organizations, boards and industry representatives.

This partnership process was designed with input and agreement from the Intergovernmental Council of IGOs, and has been utilized to guide the development of all five of ENR’s legislative initiatives. Funding to support members’ ability to participate on the TWG and SAG has been provided by ENR on a case-by-case basis. Co-management partners were engaged throughout the TWG and SAG processes.

Through this partnership approach, individual drafting frameworks for each bill were developed over two years of engagement. A total of eight TWG meetings were held on the Protected Areas Act, seven on the Forest Act and five on amendments to the Environmental Rights Act. A total of three SAG meetings were held on ENR’s legislative initiatives.

There was also an external public review period, in which the general public was invited to provide feedback on summary documents through an online engagement process.

Once the drafting frameworks were completed, bills were drafted and shared through consultation with Indigenous governments and organizations to determine and address potential impacts the bills could have on Aboriginal or treaty rights.

The bills reflect ENR’s careful consideration of the feedback received through the TWG and SAG processes, public engagement and consultation.

ENR will continue to meet with the TWG and SAG to advance the development of the Waters Act and the Environmental Protection Act.

Who was invited to participate in the Technical Working Groups?

The following IGOs were invited to participate in the TWGs for all of the Acts:

  • K’atl’odeeche First Nation
  • Tłįchǫ Government
  • Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • Gwich’in Tribal Council
  • Sahtu Secretariat Inc.
  • Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government
  • Salt River First Nation
  • Acho Dene Koe First Nation
  • Deninu Kue First Nation
  • Northwest Territory Métis Nation
  • Dehcho First Nations
  • Akaitcho Territory Government
  • North Slave Métis Alliance

Renewable Resources Boards were included in discussions for the Protected Areas Act and the Forest Act.

Land and Water Boards were also included in discussions related to the Waters Act, Environmental Protection Act and Environmental Rights Act.

Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service and IGOs with proposed protected areas (Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation, Yamoga Land Corporation and Łutsel K’e Dene First Nation) were included in the discussions relevant to the Protected Areas Act.

Who was on the Stakeholder Advisory Group?

The SAG included representatives from the Government of Canada, regulatory boards, industry and interest groups, and environmental non-governmental organizations.

How did ENR consult with Indigenous governments and organizations on the legislation?

ENR consulted Indigenous government and organizations with asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights on each of the draft bills.

ENR considered all feedback and, where appropriate and necessary, made amendments to the bills based on the input received during the consultation process.

Where can I find results of engagement on the legislation?

Many concepts evolved throughout discussions over the two years of engagement, and the final outcomes of these discussions with the TWG and SAG can be seen reflected in the draft bills.

ENR has compiled summary reports of what we heard during the public engagement period for each Act. These documents are available here.