OTTAWA, March 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada today welcomed the granting of Royal Assent of Northwest Territories Devolution Act (Bill C-15) - the final step in the legislative process that will allow the implementation of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act and the devolution of province-like powers to the Government of the Northwest Territories, effective April 1, 2014.
Devolution has been a long-term priority for the people of the Northwest Territories and for the Government of Canada. Advancing Bill C-15 into law supports the Government of Canada's commitment, as set out in Canada's Northern Strategy, to recognize the Northwest Territories' political evolution and give Northerners the tools and political freedom to build a strong and prosperous North and a strong and prosperous Canada.
Bill C-15 places more control over land and resources in the hands of Northerners, and will help ensure Northwest Territories residents benefit from the responsible development of the regions great resource potential. Devolution, along with a modernized regulatory regime, will pave the way for a bright future for the Northwest Territories, where Northerners make decisions about resource development in the territory, and governments are able to ensure that development is appropriate, sustainable, and aligned with the territories own priorities and values.
This landmark occasion comes as a result of the cooperation between the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, Aboriginal governments and groups, industry, stakeholders and northern citizens, who believe in the potential for devolution to help transform the Northwest Territories' economy and create jobs and opportunities.
• Royal Assent of Northwest Territories Devolution Act represents the final step in the legislative process for the devolving of province-like powers to the Northwest Territories which began in 1967 when the seat of government moved from Ottawa to Yellowknife.
• Today's announcement is the result of years of extensive consultations and work which were conducted with Aboriginal groups, regulatory boards and interested stakeholders in the Northwest Territories. Input received during these consultations helped to shape the legislative elements of Bill C-15.
• The Northwest Territories Devolution Act responds to calls from territorial governments, Aboriginal groups and industry to place decision-making in the hands of Northerners.
• Devolution is expected to increase prosperity and economic growth. Since Yukon devolved in 2003, the territory has had 10 straight years of positive GDP growth and has exceeded Canada's rate of national annual growth eight times out of the past 10 years. The Northwest Territories stands to benefit from devolution in the same manner as its neighbor to the west.
• The Northwest Territories Devolution Act will replace the current Northwest Territories Act, and implement certain provisions of the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement. Elements of the Act will amend the Territorial Lands Act and the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and will amend and repeal the Northwest Territories Waters Act.
"Our Government recognizes that Northerners are best placed to make important decisions on how to best maximize their lands and resources and on how to unlock the economic potential of their territory. I am pleased that the Northwest Territories Devolution Act has been granted Royal Assent, giving the Northerners province-like powers to make these decisions."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"Devolution has been a longstanding dream for the people of the Northwest Territories for many years and I would like to thank the Government of Canada and our Aboriginal government partners who have worked with us to make this day a reality. The passage of Bill C-15 into law today virtually completes the work necessary to give Northerners a substantial voice in the decisions that affect them. The Government and people of the Northwest Territories look forward to a prosperous future in which we create jobs and economic opportunities for ourselves and Canada through the responsible development of our resource wealth, consistent with Northern priorities and the special relationship with the land that we enjoy."
Premier of Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories Devolution Act (Bill C-15)
Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement
Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement-In-Principle
Backgrounder: Northwest Territories Devolution
Northwest Territories Devolution
SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada