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Want to know something specific about the devolution of land and resources? You probably aren’t the only one to wonder.

 

 

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Q1. After devolution, will there be any distinction between Public Lands and Commissioner’s Lands (as defined in Chapter 1 of the agreement), or will both be referred to as either Commissioner’s Lands or Public Lands?

Q2. Will the GNWT assume the duty to consult (where the rights of aboriginal people may be affected) for areas where responsibilities are devolved from the federal to the territorial government, or will the duty to consult remain with the federal government?

Q3. Where is the communication plan for consultations [public engagement]?

Q4. What does ‘Water Revenues’ refer to?

Q5. Where is the actual detailed breakdown of the transfer of resources and persons from the Federal Departments to the GNWT? How can questions related to costs be addressed when this ‘detailed’ information (wages, benefits, pensions etc.) has not been provided?

Q6. When the job offers are given [to federal staff], are our only options to accept or decline, or is there room for negotiations?

Q7. There has been a lot of speculation about the Taiga Laboratory building…that GNWT wants it, but it might not fit all of their requirements. If the lab employees get job offers, but the building isn’t suitable, what happens to the employees?

Q8. If devolution goes ahead will all harvesting/hunting rights of the Caucasian NWT resident be taken away?

Q9. Will a Caucasian NWT resident hunter be forced to try and navigate through thousands and thousands of kms of aboriginal land just to hunt a small fragment of huntable land left for a white man?

Q10. For Caucasian NWT residents who have cabins on leased crown lands, how much will the cost of rent go up and is there a chance of those people losing their leased land or cabin?

Q11. I think Devolution is in favor of Aboriginals of the NWT not the white man residents. Am I wrong?

Q12: Will the National Energy Board (NEB) continue to be the regulator for oil and gas activities in the NWT?

Q13. Will the name of the Northwest Territories change after devolution?

Q14. I am wondering when both the Government of the Northwest Territories and specifically the federal government will hold constitutional talks in relation to the devolution agreement? If memory serves governing responsibility of the NWT was written into the constitution act 1869 as being a federal government responsibility. And if they are wanting to devolve their interests to the Government of the NWT then that means constitutional debates need to be held to amend the constitution act in which 7 provinces and 50% of the population have to agree to this amendment? When will this important legal step take place?

Q15. Clause 22.2.2 of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement provides that “The obligations in 22.2.1 shall remain in effect until the Government of the Northwest Territories enacts legislation with respect to benefits from oil and gas activities on…Sahtu lands…”. Is the is “legislation” included in the bills that are to be introduced this month? If so, can I have a copy of the “legislation”.

Q16. When devolution is completed in April and the governing of lands and resources is worked out as far as a mandate and process, will MACA as with other local governments in many other areas of Canada open lands to be titled like cottage country (unorganized townships or villages) (especially on the Ingraham Trail) so there is not this unknown issue between being a recreational lot and residential, designate a regional board to over see building etc. Many people just simple can not afford or do not wish to live in town and should have the right to live outside of town as many people do and have been for many year?

Q17. I lived in the NWT since 1987, and the government has never ever lived within their mean, and spent over budget for years.
Now, with Devo in the works, and diamond mines revenue dwindling down over the next 10 years, how do you plan to live within the revenue you generate, and how do you propose to make MVLWB more streamlined and responsible to help increase revenue to the GNWT?

Q18. What decisions under the MVRMA will become GNWT responsibilities, despite the Act remaining under Federal Jurisdiction?

Q19. What role does/will the AER [Alberta Energy Regulator] have in regulation?

Q20. Does the GNWT have plans to ‘tweak’ some of the on-ground regulation of the “Superboard” since it has been legislated to replace the regional land and water boards? What is the on-ground sentiment of the SuperBoard currently in the Territory?

Q21. Will there be public meetings for residents of the Ingraham Trail?

Q22. What happens to the lands position in Deline under MACA?

Q23. What do you mean when you say the Regional Offices will inspect and enforce Land Use Permits?

Q24. Will the Department of Lands issue water licenses and land-use plans on lands that are transferred?

Q25. Why are there no requirements for public reporting of meetings, decisions or anything from the Intergovernmental Council on Land and Resource Management even though public funds will be used to support it? Will there be any public information on what happens at the Council?

 

Q1. After devolution, will there be any distinction between Public Lands and Commissioner’s Lands (as defined in Chapter 1 of the agreement), or will both be referred to as either Commissioner’s Lands or Public Lands?

A1. For the purposes of the devolution agreement, the term ‘public lands’ describes the land to be transferred, and ‘Commissioner’s lands’ refers to land already under the administration and control of the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), which is primarily land in and around communities.

Both terms refer to lands that will be under the administration and control of the GNWT after devolution and, in that sense, effectively describe the same thing. The distinction  will be the territorial legislation that applies to these lands. The Commissioner’s Lands Act (NWT) will continue to govern Commissioner’s lands, while the GNWT will mirror the Territorial Lands Act (Canada) to govern public lands transferred as a result of devolution.

How ‘Commissioner’s lands’ and ‘public lands’ will be referred to after devolution is still under consideration. The most appropriate description for ‘public lands’ in the territorial legislation to replace the Territorial Lands Act will be determined as part of the legislative drafting process. Other options to describe the public lands in legislation might include ‘Crown lands’ or ‘Northwest Territories lands’

 

Q2. Will the GNWT assume the duty to consult (where the rights of aboriginal people may be affected) for areas where responsibilities are devolved from the federal to the territorial government, or will the duty to consult remain with the federal government?

A2. The Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) have the same duty to consult Aboriginal peoples when considering actions that might adversely affect established or asserted Aboriginal or treaty rights.

This duty will continue to apply for both governments after devolution where they have responsibility. This means that in matters of land and resource administration where the GNWT is responsible after devolution, the duty to consult and where appropriate accommodate Aboriginal peoples will be filled by the GNWT.

 

Q3. Where is the communication plan for consultations [public engagement]?

A3. Community engagement planning has been developed wherever possible with our partner governments, and the GNWT has done its best to ensure that dates, times and locations serve communities, Aboriginal governments, and our elected representatives well.

Scheduling meetings for 33 communities, many with multiple meetings, with varied participants has required careful planning. Please check our website as the schedule develops and the GNWT will try to provide as much notice as possible.

We encourage all interested residents to review the material available on our website if they wish to prepare in advance, but we hope that the information sessions will be productive and informative for all those who attend, including residents who may not have the time to prepare in advance.

Q4. The definition of ‘Resource Revenues’ (Chapter 1) refers, amongst others, to Water Revenues: ‘Resource Revenues’ means the sum of Mineral Revenues, Oil and Gas Revenues, and Water Revenues due to and received by the GNWT through this Agreement”.  What does ‘Water Revenues’ refer to? Could you please explain what this includes currently, and what it may potentially include in the future. 

A4. Currently “water revenues” include fees for water licence applications, and other fees as set out in NWT Water Regulations for water usage.  Water usage fees are based on the volume of water used for various types of undertakings including hydoelectric power generation. The same sources of water revenues as exist now under federal legislation are expected in the future.

 

Q5. Where is the actual detailed breakdown of the transfer of resources and persons from the Federal Departments to the GNWT? How can questions related to costs be addressed when this ‘detailed’ information (wages, benefits, pensions etc.) has not been provided? 

The number and location of positions will be available when the GNWT has completed its detailed organization design.  This work requires further study of the existing business processes, and additional information related to existing federal positions expected to be impacted.  This detailed organizational design work is expected to be complete in summer of 2013.

Once the Organizational Design is approved, the GNWT will be able to prepare job descriptions and evaluate these positions to determine specific cost factors related to salary, benefits and pension.  This work will be completed during the summer of 2013 so that the GNWT will be able to meet its commitment to provide offers of employment to impacted federal employees as defined under the Consensus Final Agreement.

While the exact figures and costs cannot yet be known, the GNWT did invest considerable time and effort looking at both the staff and program funding requirements necessary to ensure an effective and efficient delivery of programs and services related to land and resource management.  This work not only included looking at what Canada currently invests in land and resource management, but also looking at the practices of other jurisdictions.  The GNWT is confident that $67.3M dollars to be provided annually, and indexed for inflation, will allow for additional investment in land and resource management after devolution.

 

Q6. When the job offers are given [to federal staff], are our only options to accept or decline, or is there room for negotiations?

There may be room for negotiations regarding salary if the Reasonable Job Offer is not at the maximum step of the GNWT Pay Scale for the position, in accordance with the GNWT terms and conditions of employment.  Please see Section 115 of the GNWT Human Resources Manual for further information.

 

Q7. There has been a lot of speculation about the Taiga Laboratory building…that GNWT wants it, but it might not fit all of their requirements.  If the lab employees get job offers, but the building isn’t suitable, what happens to the employees?

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), are currently working out the legal elements of asset transfers, including the Taiga Lab. Please note that the Government of Canada is responsible for identifying which assets, including buildings, will be transferred to the GNWT to support the delivery of devolving programs and services.

Q8. If devolution goes ahead will all harvesting/hunting rights of the Caucasian NWT resident be taken away? 

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is a public government that represents the interests of all residents of the territory, including Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. The 17th Legislative Assembly has no plans to limit the ability of any resident of the territory to apply for and be granted a harvesting or hunting licence after devolution.

 

Q9. Will a Caucasian NWT resident hunter be forced to try and navigate through thousands and thousands of kms of aboriginal land just to hunt a small fragment of huntable land left for a white man? 

The settlement of remaining land claims in the NWT is being negotiated by Aboriginal governments with the Government of Canada, along with the GNWT, as part of a separate process.  The settlement of land claims is not related to or affected by the transfer of responsibility for public lands from Canada to the GNWT.

 

Q10. For Caucasian NWT residents who have cabins on leased crown lands, how much will the cost of rent go up and is there a chance of those people losing their leased land or cabin? 

Cabin leases issued by the federal government before devolution will be continued after devolution.  The rates for such leases are subject to change upon renewal, regardless of the government issuing the lease.  After devolution, it will be up to the GNWT to determine cabin lease rates.

 

Q11. I think Devolution is in favor of Aboriginals of the NWT not the white man residents.  Am I wrong?

This devolution is about transferring the responsibility for managing public lands from Canada to the GNWT.  It is not about Aboriginal rights or governance and is not intended to favour to any particular group of people in the territory.  The transfer of these responsibilities will bring decision-making about how public land is used closer to home and provide new resource revenues that will benefit all people of the NWT.

All residents of the NWT have equality rights under the Constitution that are, and must continue to be, respected by the GNWT.  It is only in limited circumstances, such as where required by Aboriginal or treaty rights, that the GNWT may treat Aboriginal residents differently.

 

Q12: Will the National Energy Board (NEB) continue to be the regulator for oil and gas activities in the NWT?

A: The NEB will remain the regulator for oil and gas activities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), under GNWT legislation and regulations, and in the offshore and excluded sites (e.g. Norman Wells Proven Area Agreement) under AANDC jurisdiction. The NEB will continue to be the regulator for the entire ISR for a minimum of 20 years post-Devolution. They will also continue to regulate trans-boundary pipelines (e.g. Enbridge Line).

The Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment will become the Regulator of oil and gas activities for onshore areas and be guided in this role by an integrated resource management approach. When necessary, responsibility for decision making will be delegated to independent, expert staff in the Department of ITI. This is consistent with the conventions supporting Ministerial governance applicable in the Northwest Territories and in Canada generally.

 

Q13. Will the name of the Northwest Territories change after devolution?

The NWT will still be a territory after devolution. Provinces and territories have different responsibilities under the Canadian Constitution: some of them are described on the Privy Council Office’s website. At this time, there are no plans for the NWT to become a province. Devolution will transfer some “province-like” responsibilities to the territorial government, but does not create a province.

The name “Northwest Territories” has a long history, which is summarized on the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre’s website, and originally included the current NWT, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Nunavut, Manitoba, and parts of Ontario and Quebec.

There have been three recent public campaigns to rename the Northwest Territories. In 1996, a campaign to find a new name was defeated as 6,111 out of 6,734 respondents voted to keep the name Northwest Territories. In 2002, then-Premier Stephen Kakfwi appointed two members to make recommendations to the Assembly on a name change. In 2004, Senator Nick Sibbeston began a campaign to rename the Northwest Territories. His office sent brochures to every household in the Northwest Territories, and he travelled to meet with people in the communities for their input.

These initiatives received little public support, and the name “Northwest Territories” will continue to be used until residents are asked to vote on a new constitution or the Assembly decides to hold a vote on the name.

 

Q14. I am wondering when both the Government of the Northwest Territories and specifically the federal government will hold constitutional talks in relation to the devolution agreement? If memory serves governing responsibility of the NWT was written into the constitution act 1869 as being a federal government responsibility. And if they are wanting to devolve their interests to the Government of the NWT then that means constitutional debates need to be held to amend the constitution act in which 7 provinces and 50% of the population have to agree to this amendment? When will this important legal step take place?

The Constitution Act does not need to be amended for the federal government to devolve certain authorities to the GNWT. Over the years, there have been a number of devolutions: education, airports, forestry, and now land management. The NWT Act is of particular importance for setting out the GNWT’s legal framework, and federal Bill C-15 makes amendments to this Act to transfer the responsibilities for land and resource management. It does not change the Constitution or any agreements that are protected by the Constitution, like land claims.

 

Q15. Clause 22.2.2 of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement provides that “The obligations in 22.2.1 shall remain in effect until the Government of the Northwest Territories enacts legislation with respect to benefits from oil and gas activities on…Sahtu lands…”. Is the is “legislation” included in the bills that are to be introduced this month? If so, can I have a copy of the “legislation”.

Some of the devolution-related legislation has already been introduced and the remaining legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks. Each GNWT bill is a mirror of existing federal legislation.  Upon introduction, all bills before the Legislative Assembly are posted online.

 

Q16. When devolution is completed in April and the governing of lands and resources is worked out as far as a mandate and process, will MACA as with other local governments in many other areas of Canada open lands to be titled like cottage country (unorganized townships or villages) (especially on the Ingraham Trail) so there is not this unknown issue between being a recreational lot and residential, designate a regional board to over see building etc. Many people just simple can not afford or do not wish to live in town and should have the right to live outside of town as many people do and have been for many year?

The new Department of Lands will be responsible for managing these lands after April 1. A high priority of the new department will be to develop and implement a consistent policy for residential leasing, recreational leasing, and land sales throughout the NWT. This policy will be based on the Land Use Sustainability Framework, which was developed after consultation with Aboriginal governments and the public. The GNWT is one partner in an integrated land management system, and will continue to work closely with Aboriginal governments and other partners to make responsible decisions that allow for sustainable land use. For now, information about the Recreational Leasing Policy Framework, Residential Leasing, and staff contacts for land administration are available on MACA’s website.

 

Q17. I lived in the NWT since 1987, and the government has never ever lived within their mean, and spent over budget for years.
Now, with Devo in the works, and diamond mines revenue dwindling down over the next 10 years, how do you plan to live within the revenue you generate, and how do you propose to make MVLWB more streamlined and responsible to help increase revenue to the GNWT?

The resource revenues the GNWT can keep each year are in addition to federal transfer funds and taxes, and will increase revenues by up to 5%. The 17th Legislative Assembly has committed to use these revenues to pay down the government’s debt and invest in economy-building infrastructure. The GNWT’s federal transfer funds will increase by $67.3 million to cover the cost of delivering transferring programs and related responsibilities. The GNWT’s new organizational design for these programs and services fits within this budget, and includes a responsible contingency for any unexpected expenses.

The GNWT will attract new investment by promoting our rich natural resource heritage around the world and by supporting exploration.  We will continue to invest in geoscience research and analysis, which is critical for discovering and advancing new projects, and work with industry and other stakeholders to ensure resource development policies in the NWT are practical, effective and workable.

Resource development is the foundation of the NWT economy, providing important job and business opportunities throughout the territory. The GNWT supports the goal of an efficient and effective regulatory system in the NWT that protects the environment and supports renewed investment. The GNWT is committed to supporting the efficiency of the boards by providing them with timely and accurate information in its role as public land manager.

For information about board processes, priorities and decision-making, please contact the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, which is an independent federal agency.

 

Q18. What decisions under the MVRMA will become GNWT responsibilities, despite the Act remaining under Federal Jurisdiction?

The MVRMA provides for integrated resource management in the Mackenzie Valley and a role for all levels of government.  Prior to devolution, the GNWT was already a Responsible Minister under the MVRMA.  Although the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) remains federal legislation, Devolution will provide the GNWT with significantly expanded “Responsible Minister” roles as well as new delegated authorities under the Act – authorities previously exercised by a federal Minister.

Pursuant to the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement, the Government of Canada has delegated to a territorial Minister the following functions of the federal Minister under the MVRMA:

  • Approval of Type A water licences
  • Approval of securities posted for land use permits
  • Designation of inspectors
  • Monitoring of cumulative impacts
  • Environmental audits
  • Certain functions relating to environmental assessment processes including:
    a. Receipt and distribution of reports from the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB)
    b. Participation in and distribution of decisions in consideration of those reports.

The Devolution Agreement states that in five years (2019) the Parties will review the provisions of the Devolution Agreement related to the MVRMA. More information about authorities devolving to the GNWT is available in the NWT Lands and Resource Devolution Agreement under Chapter 3: Transfer of Responsibilities.

 

Q19. What role does/will the AER [Alberta Energy Regulator] have in regulation?

The AER will not have a role in regulation of oil and gas activities in the NWT. A Member of GNWT’s Executive Council – The Minister of ITI – has been appointed Regulator pursuant to the Oil and Gas Operations Act. The AER will be providing advice to the Regulator on matters such as inspections of operations, responding to incidents and review of applications. They will make a recommendation on these matters and the Regulator will then review and make a decision.

 

Q20. Does the GNWT have plans to ‘tweak’ some of the on-ground regulation of the “Superboard” since it has been legislated to replace the regional land and water boards? What is the on-ground sentiment of the SuperBoard currently in the Territory?

The federal government remains responsible for managing and providing policy direction to the land and water boards in the Mackenzie Valley, pursuant to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

Q21. In the coming months when the land division of the GNWT (MACA) begins a process of defining its role to govern all lands in the NWT, two questions come to mind. Akaitcho (Deninu Kue, Lutsel K’e, Dettah, and Ndilo) has defined an area along the Ingraham trail to be a part of the negotiations which might or does include lots where people lease and own on a few lakes.
a) Will the GNWT (MACA) hold public meetings for this community of people to have their input in the negotiations of the lands so MACA has a platform from which to use when representing these tax payers who live in this area?

The new Department of Lands will manage, administer and plan for the sustainable use of public land in the Northwest Territories in a manner that reflects the interests of the people of the Northwest Territories. The Department strongly believes that land management and administration is a core public good and critical asset that needs to be effectively and efficiently managed.

The Department of Lands is reviewing existing policies to ensure the interests of Aboriginal governments, the general public and industry are considered.  Any new policies developed over the long term by the Department of Lands will be based on principles of sustainable and balanced uses of land.

The Department of Lands is committed to continuous policy evaluation, and intends to make decisions in a transparent and open manner through consultation with the public and our Aboriginal partners.

Negotiations with the Akaitcho Dene First Nation are on-going and not at the stage where land selection has begun yet.  Land selection negotiations generally occur closer to the completion of an agreement.

b) Is there not another group along the Ingraham trail in which the Government is in negotiations with currently to grant land ownership and this could in fact be used as a template to do a similar process in the future for rural areas such as the Ingraham Trail area where many people live full time.

The Department of Lands is reviewing existing policies to ensure the interests of Aboriginal governments, the general public and industry are considered.  Any new policies developed over the long term by the Department of Lands will be based on principles of sustainable and balanced uses of land.

Q22. What happens to the lands position in Deline under MACA?

The Charter Community of Deline has historically employed a Lands Officer.  This position works for the community government on land issues.  This position is distinct from the two positions  (Senior Lands Officer and Lands Officer) that formerly worked for Municipal and Community Affairs (GNWT).  MACA’s positions were responsible for administration of Commissioner’s Lands in the region.  The Deline Lands Officer may have worked with the MACA positions when it came to issues related to Commissioner’s Lands within the community of Deline..

The two MACA  positions, along with the incumbents, are now employed by the Department of Lands.  The Deline Lands Officer is encouraged to continue the work of land management with the same employees now located in the Department of Lands.

Contact information for Department of Lands employees is contained on the GNWT website.  Community governments are encouraged to contact the regional offices located in Norman Wells.  The Superintendent for the Sahtu Region for the Department of Lands is Stephen Deschene.  The Department of Lands also employees System Navigators which can help clients to understand the new department, and to help solve questions related to land administration.  The System Navigator can be reached at (867) 756-6272, at  lands@gov.nt.ca or toll free at 1-800-NWT-Land (1-800-698-5263).

Q23. On the Devolution issue #3, you mentioned that the Regional Offices will inspect and enforce Land Use Permits? AAND are the enforcement agency for LUP and WL…..is that what you are talking about?

After devolution, the GNWT’s new Department of Lands took over AANDC’s former responsibilities for supporting and enforcing compliance with land use related laws, licenses, leases and permits.

The GNWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) became responsible for supporting and enforcing  compliance of all water related laws and licenses.

Q24. Lands Dept will be issuing WL and LUPs on lands that are transferred?

Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR)

The NWT Water Board (now called the Inuvialuit Water Board) will continue to issue water licenses in the ISR.

Land use permits in the ISR were previously issued by AANDC.   After devolution, land use permits in the ISR are issued by the GNWT’s new Lands Department.

Mackenzie Valley

The  Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board will continue to issue both water licences and land use permits in the Mackenzie Valley.

Type A and B Water Licence approvals

After devolution, the GNWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources has the authority to approve Type A water licences and Type B water licences with hearings,  approvals formerly done by a federal Minister.

Q25. Why are there no requirements for public reporting of meetings, decisions or anything from the Intergovernmental Council on Land and Resource Management even though public funds will be used to support it? Will there be any public information on what happens at the Council?

The Northwest Territories Intergovernmental Agreement on Lands and Resources Management Act (Bill 16) reflects the agreement reached between the GNWT and Aboriginal parties on their post-devolution relationship. Both the agreement and the bill are publically available on the Devolution website.

The Intergovernmental Council held its first meeting in September 2014. At that meeting, the Council decided that the outcomes of the Intergovernmental Council will be made public. Highlights of the first meeting were released through the GNWT website at: http://news.exec.gov.nt.ca/first-intergovernmental-council-meeting-held-in-yellowknife . A website is currently being developed where the outcomes of each meeting will be posted, along with any publications that may be developed. This website will also include information about the Council and its working groups. This is a similar structure to other intergovernmental forums like the Council of the Federation, where the Canadian premiers have a closed meeting to allow for a frank exchange of information and then share the outcomes publically.

The Council makes recommendations to its members. The members will then use their usual decision-making processes to approve and implement any recommendations. This will ensure that the decisions from the Council members, including the use of government funds, are transparent.