Glossary of Terms

Aboriginal Summit – A caucus comprised of NWT Aboriginal governments, with the exception of the Dehcho First Nations, to represent them in NWT Lands and Resources Devolution negotiations. The Summit was formed in 2001 and disbanded in 2005, after which Aboriginal governments participated independently in the negotiations.

Crown Land/Public Land – In Canada, the terms ‘Crown land’ or ‘public land’ refer to land that is owned and/or managed by a federal, provincial or territorial government. This land is managed (protected, developed and administered) for public benefit. Yukon and the provinces are responsible for the majority of the public land in their respective regions. In contrast, the vast majority of public land in the NWT is owned and controlled by the federal government. Profits from natural resources developed on public land provide the federal government, provinces and Yukon with revenues which may constitute a major income stream, such as in Alberta. Some public land may also be leased by governments to individuals wishing to build homes or cabins, generating additional revenues. The vast majority of the NWT is public land currently under the control of the federal government.

Devolution – The transfer of powers from one public government to another, usually from a national level of government to a sub-national one such as a province or territory. Devolutions may transfer program responsibilities and budgets only or may include the right to create related legislation.

Devolution Agreement-in-Principle (PDF 1.2Mb) – A document outlining financial and other issues the signatories have agreed upon so far in NWT devolution negotiations. The AiP guides the negotiation of a final agreement. It is not a legally binding document but indicates the honourable intention of the signatories to include these terms in a final agreement. The NWT Lands and Resources Devolution AiP was signed in 2011 by the Government of Canada, Government of the Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and NWT Métis Nation, and in 2012 by the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated and Gwich’in Tribal Council. In 2013 the Gwich’in Tribal Council and T??ch? Government also signed on.

Federal Equalization – An annual transfer of funds from the Government of Canada that enables all provincial governments to provide comparable levels of public services.

Framework Agreement (PDF 748kb) – An agreement signed in 2004 by the Government of Canada, GNWT and Aboriginal Summit establishing the scope of the devolution negotiations.

Gross Expenditure Base (GEB) – A portion of the Territorial Formula Financing (TFF) federal transfer payment to the territories. The GEB represents the estimated annual expenditure requirements of a territory, and takes into account the higher cost to deliver public programs and services in the North.

Memorandum of Intent (PDF 243kb)- A document ratified by the Government of Canada, GNWT and Aboriginal Summit in 2001 that established their intent to negotiate the devolution of land and resources from the federal government to the GNWT.

Net Fiscal Benefit (NFB) – The amount of resource revenues that the GNWT will have the right to keep each year after devolution, without affecting the territory’s federal transfer payment. The GNWT’s Net Fiscal Benefit will be 50% of the resource revenues collected on public land in the NWT, up to a maximum of 5% of the NWT’s Gross Expenditure Base.  Any revenues collected over and above this amount will be deducted from the NWT’s federal transfer payment. In 2014-2015 – the first year after devolution takes place – the actual NFB is expected to be about $60 million.

(Final) NWT Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement – A legally binding agreement that sets out detailed conditions, financial arrangements and dates related to the transfer of responsibility for managing public land, resources and rights in respect of water in the NWT from the Government of Canada to the GNWT. The Final Agreement signed in Inuvik on June 25, 2013 by Canada, Government of the Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, NWT Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Tlicho Government.

Onshore Resources – Natural resources such as minerals, diamonds, and oil and gas located under land, as opposed to under the seabed. In Canada, all provincial governments have rights to the onshore resources on public land in their respective region. Yukon received the right to manage its onshore resources in 2007. In the NWT and Nunavut, the federal government retains control over public onshore resources and keeps most of the revenues generated by their development.

Offshore Resources – Natural resources such as oil and gas located under the seabed. In Canada, the federal government retains ownership and control of all offshore resources.

Regulatory Regime – Each province and territory in Canada has its own systems to assess the potential for environmental and other impacts from proposed resource development projects, and to regulate the ongoing development of approved projects. In the NWT, environmental assessment and regulatory processes are largely based on conditions set out in Aboriginal land claims.

Regulatory Improvement – The Government of Canada is currently undertaking the restructuring of regulatory systems nation-wide, including the modification of related legislation. In the NWT, the Government of Canada has proposed the creation of a single land and water board in the Mackenzie Valley, which would require modifications to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA).

Resource Revenue Sharing (RRS) – After devolution, the Government of Canada and GNWT will share the resource revenues that come from public land in the NWT. The terms of the Devolution Agreement state that the GNWT will keep 50% of these royalties, up to a maximum.  Canada will deduct its share, the remaining amount, from the GNWT’s federal transfer payments . The GNWT will share up to 25% of its portion of resource revenues with Aboriginal governments that have signed the Devolution Agreement.

Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement-in-Principle (RRS AiP) (PDF 388kb) – An agreement that outlines the GNWT’s intention to share up to 25% of its portion of resource revenues with participating Aboriginal governments after devolution. The final Resource Revenue Sharing Agreement is currently under negotiation by the GNWT, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, NWT Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Gwich’in Tribal Council and T??ch? Government.

Territorial Formula Financing (TFF) – An annual transfer of funds from the Government of Canada that enables the territories to provide a range of public services comparable to those offered by provincial governments. It takes into account the additional cost of delivering programs and services in the north.