‘Devolution’ It’s a word that most people living outside the North rarely use and probably don’t really understand. But for those of us who have spent any time in NWT, we know that devolution – the transfer of authority for the management of land and resources from Canada to the GNWT – is a long-held objective of northerners.
This is especially true for employees of the GNWT and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Some of you have been involved in previous devolutions – for example, education, health care, highways, forestry, and airports. Others have been involved in the ten years of negotiations leading up to the signing of the Devolution Final Agreement on June 25, 2013. Many more of you are fully engaged in the exciting work of planning for implementation on April 1, 2014.
This devolution will be a major and historic milestone in the political and economic development of the Northwest Territories, and it also creates the conditions for further evolution.
Northerners care deeply about this land and share an interest in responsible stewardship of all of our resources. We are especially proud that this devolution has been achieved in full partnership with five Aboriginal governments, who are also land-owners in their own right – the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, the NWT Metis Nation and the Tli Cho Government. These Aboriginal governments were not only full parties to devolution negotiations, they will also have a continuing partnership role through the Intergovernmental Council established by the Devolution Final Agreement, ensuring that northern lands are well-managed.
Both GNWT and AANDC employees have long shared a commitment to serve the people of the North. Today, more than ever, we’re united in that goal. Whether you are a current or future employee, it’s an excellent time to be working for the GNWT. We have a great organization – we are one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and a Top Diversity Employer. Devolution offers new opportunities for interesting work that matters. We welcome the experience, commitment and expertise that our AANDC colleagues will bring to the GNWT, and look forward to all that we will achieve together.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas and questions in the coming weeks and hope to be a ‘guest blogger’ again.
Secretary to Cabinet