IQALUIT, Aug. 15, 2019 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut (GN) and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) have taken an important step on the road to devolution in Nunavut today with the signing of an Agreement-in-Principle (AIP).
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Joe Savikataaq, Premier of Nunavut, and Aluki Kotierk, President of NTI, came together in Iqaluit today to sign the Nunavut Devolution AIP.
The AIP is a significant milestone in placing decision-making power over land and resources into the hands of Nunavut residents, while ensuring that economic and other benefits of resource development in the region are shared with the people of Nunavut. The next step is a Final Devolution Agreement which is expected within five years.
"The Devolution of responsibilities for managing land and water resources in the North to the people of the North has been a priority of the Government of Canada for some time. With today's signing of the Agreement-in-Principle, the people of Nunavut are one step closer to taking greater control of their lands and resources, and reaping the benefits of responsible, sustainable resource development."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
"Today, we acknowledge the efforts and dedication of those who have worked tirelessly to bring decision-making power to Nunavut. This has been the hope since the creation of our territory, and we are excited to move toward a finalized devolution agreement; one where Nunavummiut control what happens on our lands and waters, and where we benefit directly from those activities. Today's signing of the Agreement-in-Principle is a milestone on this journey of self-reliance and Inuit empowerment."
The Honourable Joe Savikataaq
Premier of Nunavut
"This paves the way for decisions to be made in Nunavut about development on crown land and for Nunavut Inuit to be trained to work in the fields of land and resource management. NTI worked diligently for the Human Resources Development Strategies. This will see funding early next year for the Government of Nunavut to train Inuit for employment at all levels and ensure Nunavut has the capacity to manage the new responsibilities."
President, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
- The signing of the AIP is one of the formal steps in the process towards devolution for Nunavut. The AIP sets the stage for negotiations of a Final Devolution Agreement.
- The AIP contains 14 chapters covering issues such as ownership, management and associated responsibilities of lands, natural resources and assets; educational and employment opportunities for Nunavummiut; and resource royalties for minerals in Nunavut. Processes for transitioning responsibility for resource management are also set out in the AIP.
- The AIP is the result of many years of negotiations and discussion involving representatives from the Government of Canada, the GN and NTI.
- The Lands and Resources Devolution Negotiation Protocol (Protocol) was signed in 2008, laying out the jointly agreed upon broad principles for Nunavut devolution. The Protocol was the first formal step in the process towards devolution in Nunavut.
- Nunavut Devolution – Agreement-in-Principle
- Nunavut Devolution (CIRNAC)
- Nunavut Devolution - Backgrounder
- Government of Nunavut
- Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
- Nunavut Devolution - Lands and Resources Devolution Negotiation Protocol
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August 15, 2019
Northern governance and the transferring or devolving of responsibilities/powers to the territories is a long-standing policy objective of the Government of Canada. Devolution in Nunavut is an essential step in the political and economic development of the territory.
Since the 1960s, the federal government has gradually transferred responsibility for health, education, social services, housing, airports and other matters to territorial governments. Discussions to transfer or devolve responsibilities/powers for land and resource management to the Government of Nunavut (GN) have taken place at various times since the creation of the territory.
These responsibilities are currently held within Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. By devolving these responsibilities to the territory, the parties aim to give Nunavummiut greater control for decisions on their lands and resources, thereby strengthening regional governance and accountability while opening the door to new revenue streams and economic development opportunities.
Signing of the Nunavut Devolution Agreement-in-Principle
The Parties to the Nunavut devolution process are the Government of Canada, the GN, and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) which is the legal representative of the Inuit of Nunavut for the purposes of native treaty rights and treaty negotiation.
On August 15, 2019 the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Premier Joe Savikataaq (GN), and President Aluki Kotierk (NTI), signed the Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) which will now serve as a guide for the negotiation of a Final Devolution Agreement in Nunavut.
The Lands and Resource Devolution Negotiation Protocol, which was signed in 2008 by the Government of Canada, GN and NTI, was the first major step towards Nunavut devolution. The Protocol has served as a framework to guide the Parties during devolution negotiations toward an AIP. AIP negotiations formally began in October 2014.
Chief Negotiators for the Government of Canada, GN, and NTI initialled a draft AIP in May 2019 and recommended it to their principals for signature. Section 35 Crown consultations with Indigenous groups holding asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights in Nunavut began shortly after the AIP was initialled.
What's next for the AIP?
The AIP is a non-binding agreement amongst the Parties on the main issues under negotiation and is a significant milestone indicating that the Parties have come to agreement on a broad range of subject matters. While not legally enforceable, the AIP contains the major elements of the Final Devolution Agreement.
Nunavut's AIP specifically pertains to the official transfer of responsibilities for Nunavut's public (crown) land, water and resources from the Government of Canada to the GN. It is necessary to ensure that the time is undertaken for each necessary step between now and the final transfer date. A timeline of approximately five years is anticipated from the signing of the AIP to when all responsibilities are formally transferred to the GN.
This timeframe allows for negotiation of a Final Devolution Agreement, Inuit and Nunavummiut training for positions within the GN, negotiation of an implementation schedule, and the drafting of legislation that will create the legal framework required for the GN to take over these responsibilities.
SOURCE Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)
For further information: media may contact: Matthew Dillon-Leitch, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-934-2302, [email protected]; Government of Nunavut, Catriona Macleod, Press Secretary to Premier Savikataaq, 867-975-5059, [email protected]; Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Malaya Mikijuk, Assistant Director, Communications, 867-975-4900, [email protected]