Tories introduce bill on land claim based northern regulatory systems
Proposed new Nunavut planning and assessment law would required four amendments to land claims agreement
John Duncan, federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, introduced bill C-47, dubbed the Northern Jobs and Growth Act, on Nov. 6, aimed at meeting longstanding federal land claims agreement obligations across the territories.
“This act fulfills obligations flowing from land claims, and proposes mechanisms to improve regulatory processes, encourage investment, and allow resources to be developed in a sustainable manner. This will lead to jobs and benefits for future generations of Canadians,” Duncan said.
The Northern Jobs and Growth Act includes the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act, along with amendments related to the Yukon Surface Rights Board Act.
The news release says the bill meets outstanding legislative obligations under the Nunavut land claims agreement as well as the Gwich’in and Sahtu land claim agreements, and responds to calls for measures to streamline and improve regulatory processes in the North.
The proposed Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, or NUPPAA, may boost resource development in Nunavut.
NUPPAA, would require four amendments to the Nunavut land claims agreement, clarify the roles of the Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut Planning Commission and it establishes timelines for the review of projects, creates social and environmental monitoring plans, and sets up new enforcement rules.
After many years of delay, the Nunavut Planning Commission, created in 1992, just before completion of the Nunavut land claims agreement, is now at the start of a Nunavut-wide consultation tour for a draft land use plan.
“These changes will help create a more stable investment climate in the North by increasing the predictability and efficiency of the review process for major northern projects,” said Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, also the federal minister of Health, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and the Arctic Council.
“CanNor’s Northern Projects Management Office will support these changes to the regulatory process by continuing to work with industry partners, Aboriginal communities, and territorial partners to foster economic development across the three territories,” Aglukkaq said.
The news release says the federal government will continue to consult with territorial governments “on further improvements to the regulatory regimes in the North that will encourage investment while ensuring resources are developed sustainably so that Northerners can achieve the prosperity they seek.”