Bill S-6, Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act: Proposed Amendments to the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act

Bill S-6 aims to further unlock the economic potential of the North while ensuring sound environmental stewardship and help the territories remain an attractive place in which to live, work and invest.

The amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, will enhance, improve, and modernize Northern regulatory regimes and ensure consistency with other regulatory regimes across the North and in the rest of Canada.

Nunavut

The proposed amendments to the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act would reduce the regulatory burden, ensure more timely and predictable water licence review processes and implement more robust enforcement provisions to foster environmental stewardship, as well as align the Act with other federal environmental statutes.

In response to a request from the Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, a Working Group was established to review proposed amendments to the legislation. It met in January, February and March 2014. In February 2014, a draft legislative proposal was sent to the Working Group members, including Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and Regional Inuit Associations, and to a broader circulation of stakeholders, including the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the Nunavut Planning Commission and industry, for review and comment.

Specifically, some of the proposed amendments would:

  • introduce time limits for water licence reviews;
  • increase existing fines associated with water licences;
  • add an administrative monetary penalties regime;
  • allow for "life-of-project" water licences;
  • require the Nunavut Water Board to take into consideration agreements between Canada, regional Inuit associations and proponents regarding posting of security to address the issue of over bonding; and
  • establish a cost-recovery regulation-making authority.

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