Implementing the Devolution Agreement

Proposed Land and Natural Resource Legislation

Land and Natural Resources Legislation under review

The 18th Legislative Assembly’ Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment (SCEDE) has launched its review of these seven Bills related to management of land and resources in the Northwest Territories. The Committee will travel to communities throughout the territory in April, May, and June of 2019 to host public hearings and hear residents’ voices on the proposed legislation.

The seven Bills under review are:

Bill 34: Mineral Resources Act

Bill 36: An Act to Amend the Petroleum Resources Act

Bill 37: An Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Operations Act

Bill 38: Protected Areas Act

Bill 39: Environmental Rights Act

Bill 44: Forest Act

Bill 46: Public Land Act

The bills, or proposed legislation, were introduced in the Spring of 2019 by the Departments of Industry, Tourism and Investment; Lands; and Environment and Natural Resources, to address different aspects of the overall approach to land and resources management.

You can review the schedule for SCEDE Public Consultation tour on the proposed legislation here.

How was the Proposed Legislation built?

The proposed land and resource legislation is based on input from stakeholders and the people of the Northwest Territories, extensive policy and legislative research and current best practices. The legislation is based on decades of experience in managing lands and resources that is grounded in settled claims and has been designed to ensure that partnerships with Indigenous governments inform our decisions on behalf of all residents of the NWT.

Why should we care about Land and Resources Responsibilities?

Devolution is about putting NWT residents in charge of the decisions that affect them and their future.

Responsible management of NWT land, resources and the environment is critical to the strength of the territorial economy and the sustainability of our communities and regions.

Responsibility over land and resources provides Northern governments with the legal authorities and tools to manage the environment and the territorial economy according to the priorities and wishes of NWT residents and to be accountable to residents for those decisions.

Made-in-the-NWT land and resources legislation meets a number of important goals, including:

  • ensuring Northerners are the ones making decisions about NWT lands and resources,
  • reducing delays in regulatory decision making by improving and clarifying decision making processes, and
  • respecting settled claims by strengthening relationships with Indigenous governments and land owners.

What is Devolution?

The term ‘devolution’ refers to a transfer of responsibility from the federal government to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). The devolution of federal responsibilities has happened many times between Canada and the Northwest Territories (NWT) since 1969, when the responsibility of Education devolved from Canada to the GNWT.

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 Canada to the GNWT on April 1, 2014.

The transfer of Lands and Resources responsibilities from Canada to the GNWT allowed for “made-in-the-NWT” legislation which helps to ensure NWT residents are making their own decisions about how land and resources are developed and used on behalf of current residents and future generations.

To learn more about Devolution click here.

How do I Participate?

Visit for:

  • Plan language summaries for each proposed legislation
  • “What we Heard” reports, or previous engagement summaries related to lands and resource management
  • The Standing Committee schedule for Spring public consultation tour
  • Written submissions are also encouraged.