The term ‘devolution’ refers to a transfer of responsibility from the federal government to a provincial or territorial government. The devolution of federal responsibilities has happened many times in Canada since the late 1800s as our country has grown.
A devolution initiative may transfer public programs and budgets only, or may include the right to make related legislation. The transfer of these responsibilities is designed to increase the self-sufficiency and accountability of Canada’s regions, strengthening the country.
Since 1967, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has received responsibility for education, health care, social services, highways, forestry management and airport administration in a number of separate devolutions.
The Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement was signed on June 25, 2013. This agreement transferred responsibility for public land, water and resource management in the Northwest Territories from the federal department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to the GNWT on April 1, 2014.