Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes

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Overview

In the 2007 Speech from the Throne, Canada announced its Northern Strategy which outlined an overarching vision for the North and focused on four priority areas: strengthening Canada’s sovereignty; protecting our environmental heritage; promoting economic and social development; and improving and devolving governance.

In May 2010, the Minister announced an investment of $18 million over two years to support improvements to regulatory systems in the North through Canada’s Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes. The Action Plan will make improvements by building on progress to date and will take important strides to make the northern regulatory frameworks strong, effective, efficient and predictable. It will do this by:

  1. Making reviews of projects more predictable and timely;
  2. Reducing duplication for project reviews;
  3. Strengthening environmental protection; and
  4. Respecting consultation obligations with Aboriginal groups.

The Action Plan focuses on legislative changes in the three territories. In Nunavut, emphasis was put on continued consultations towards the completion of the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act. Improvements in the regulatory regime of theYukon are being guided by the five-year review of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act undertaken by Canada, the Council of Yukon First Nations and the Government of Yukon. In the Northwest Territories, the key components of the Action Plan includethe creation of the  NWT Surface Rights Board Act and proposed amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA ),  including restructuring the land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley.

On June 19, 2013 The Northern Jobs and Growth Act received royal assent and is an important step in implementing this approach.  Building on the Government’s 2010 Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes, the Northern Jobs and Growth Act includes the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act, along with amendments to the Yukon Surface Rights Board Act. Together, these measures fulfill outstanding legislative obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement as well as the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements. They also respond to calls for measures to streamline and improve regulatory processes in the North and were the result of collaborative con sultations.

Next Steps:

Nunavut

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is working with its partners to implement the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, which comes into force upon Royal Assent.

AANDC is continuing discussions on further potential improvements to the regulatory regime, which could include amendments to the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act

Northwest Territories

NWT Surface Rights Board Act – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is working to establish the Board.

AANDC is currently consulting on draft legislative proposals. On May 22, 2013, AANDC launched consultations with stakeholders on proposed amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. On August 26, 2013, AANDC announced consultations on further proposed amendments to this Act, as well as to the Territorial Lands Act and the Northwest Territories Waters Act. AANDC will

Yukon

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is currently consulting on proposed amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act.

Status

Improvement to northern regulatory regimes is ongoing