Meeting the GNWT's legal duty to consult with Aboriginal Governments

The Aboriginal Consultation and Aboriginal Relations Division’s role is to ensure appropriate tools, resources, support and leadership is available to all departments in order to fulfill the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Aboriginal consultation obligations through:

  • Ensuring departments are aware of and implement the GNWT’s approach/guidelines
  • Providing  advice and guidance on consultation activities
  • Developing and maintaining resources, current with the evolving case law
  • Providing training

 The GNWT has a legal duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal governments and organizations whenever it considers carrying out a government action that has the potential to adversely affect asserted or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights.  This duty to consult is a constitutional obligation that is rooted in Section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982

To demonstrate the GNWT’s commitment to meaningful Aboriginal consultation, in August 2007, “The Government of the Northwest Territories’ Approach to consultation with Aboriginal Governments and Organizations” was tabled in the Legislative Assembly.  This government-wide approach outlines the key principles that guide the GNWT’s approach to consultation and set out a four-stage process that the GNWT will follow in carrying out its Aboriginal consultation in a sound and consistent manner.

All GNWT departments share the collective responsibility for the pro-active, coordinated and consistent implementation of the GNWT’s approach to consultations. The overall goal is to continue to facilitate mutually respectful government-to-government relationships and promote reconciliation.