Harper Government Introduces Legislation to Complete the Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes in Yukon and Nunavut

Proposed legislation will promote economic development in the North and support environmental stewardship

OTTAWA, June 3, 2014 /CNW/ - As part of its comprehensive plan to spur economic development in Canada's North, the Government of Canada today introduced Bill S-6, Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act, in the Senate. This proposed legislation, which includes amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, will enhance, improve, and modernize Northern regulatory regimes and ensure consistency with other regulatory regimes across the North and in the rest of Canada.

Today's introduction of Bill S-6 will complement Bill C-47, an Act to enact the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act, and Bill C-15 which introduced the Northwest Territories Devolution Act and changes to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. This will complete the legislative portion of the Government of Canada's Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes. A key part of the Action Plan is to promote jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Bill S-6 will help to further unlock the economic potential of the North while ensuring sound environmental stewardship and help the territories remain an attractive place in which to live, work and invest.

The proposed amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act would contribute to the efficient and predictable environmental assessment process in Yukon through the introduction of legislated time limits and clarity around project assessments. This will promote investor confidence and foster economic opportunities and growth while promoting sound environmental stewardship.

The proposed amendments to the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act would streamline water licensing processes and ensure timely and predictable water licence reviews. In addition, tools for enforcement of the Act would be expanded, enhancing environmental stewardship. Finally, the amendments would require the Nunavut Water Board to consider security agreements between the Government of Canada, the Inuit and proponents, thereby promoting investor confidence.

In the Northwest Territories, the legislative portion of the Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes was completed on April 1, 2014, when the Northwest Territories Devolution Act came into force. The Act, which will place more decision making power in the hands of Northerners, included amendments to three existing pieces of legislation: Territorial Lands Act, Northwest Territories Waters Act and Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

The Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes is part of the Northern Strategy. The Strategy aims to strengthen Canada's sovereignty, protect its environmental heritage, promote economic and social development, and improve and devolve governance.

Quick Facts

Quotes

"The North is rich in resources - minerals, oil and gas - that have sustained Aboriginal inhabitants and other Northerners for countless generations. These resources also contribute to Canada's wealth, contribute to the prosperity of Canada's northern communities, and are an important part of Canada's national identity. Protecting, managing and developing these resources requires strong regulatory regimes in order to support sustainable economic development while protecting the environment."

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

"Unlocking the economic potential of the North requires a modern regulatory regime. This proposed legislation will ensure that regulatory regimes are in place that reflect the needs of the North and will ensure long-term, sustainable development for generations to come." The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

"I am proud to support our Government's effort through this legislation to seek continued opportunities for our Northern residents while ensuring sound environmental stewardship and further solidifying our commitment to responsible resource development."

Ryan Leef, Member of Parliament (Yukon

"The Government of Nunavut is supportive of amendments to the legislation, which is part of a larger effort towards regulatory reform in Nunavut. The amendments provide greater transparency and allow for project proponents to have a better sense of the timeline for regulatory approvals."

The Honourable Peter Taptuna, Premier of Nunavut

"These amendments will ensure Yukon's regulatory regime remains consistent and competitive with other Canadian jurisdictions. Protecting the environment and allowing for the assessment of the socio-economic impacts of responsible development is a priority for the Yukon government."

The Honourable Darrell Pasloski, Premier of Yukon

Related Products

Backgrounder - Bill S-6, Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act: Proposed Amendments to the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act

Backgrounder - Bill S-6, Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act: Proposed Amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act (YESAA) Five-year Review Terms of Reference

Northwest Territories Regulatory Regime

Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes

News Release - Government of Canada Launches an Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes

SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

For further information:

Erica Meekes
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
819-997-0002

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
819-953-1160

Elaine Schiman
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
Government of Yukon
867-633-7961
elaine.schiman@gov.yk.ca

Yasmina Pepa
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
Government of Nunavut
867-975-5059
ypepa@gov.nu.ca

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