Responses to Questions
1) Is there any plans to change legislation to include director liability for mine clean-up (such as is done in Ontario)?
Right now, the Environmental Protection Act gives the GNWT the ability to prosecute directors for infractions relating to the discharge of contaminants, unsightly land, and the protection of the environment. This same Act give powers to an inspector to request records, conduct inspections and seize materials as part of their investigation. Now that devolution has occurred, the Environmental Protection Act applies on territorial lands, including operating mine sites.
Here is the relevant section of the Environmental Protection Act:
s14.1. (1) Where a corporation commits an offence under this Act or the regulations, any officer, director or agent of the corporation who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence is a party to and is guilty of the offence.
(2) An officer, director or agent of a corporation is liable to conviction under this section whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted for or convicted of the offence. R.S.N.W.T. 1988,c.75 (Supp.),s.9.
A Legislative Proposal to amend aspects of the EPA will be developed for the next legislative assembly. Certain aspects of the Act will be reviewed and in that process the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will review these clauses.
2) What is the schedule for when this, and other pieces of legislation, are due for their ‘evolution’ review?
All of the devolution legislation has been assigned to appropriate GNWT departments. Each department will review their new legislation using the normal legislative review processes. These are the steps in that process:
- The policy divisions of each department maintain a list of legislation for review.
- Reviews are initiated by elected leaders, sometimes upon recommendation of their officials.
- Legislative proposals are prepared by departments, are reviewed by the appropriate Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly, and are reviewed and approved by Cabinet
- The legislation is drafted.
- Proposed legislation (a Bill) is introduced in the Legislative Assembly.
- It is referred to appropriate Standing Committee for more detailed study. The Committee may conduct a public review and consultation.
- The Standing Committee will refer the Bill back to the Legislative Assembly, where it will be considered in Committee of the Whole (all of the members of the Legislative Assembly except the Speaker).
- The Bill returns to the Assembly for approval and recommendation to the Commissioner.
The timeline for reviewing and amending legislation varies. For example, minor amendments are typically accomplished more quickly than the creation of a new Act.