Bill C-88 cancels merger of land and water boards in the Northwest Territories, moves towards responsible co-management of Arctic offshore oil and gas resources and certainty for industry.
The Government of Canada is taking action to respect the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples, protect Canada’s rich natural environment, and support a resilient and sustainable Canadian natural resource sector.
Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced the passage into law of Bill C-88, An Act to Amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, on June 21, 2019.
Bill C-88 amends two main pieces of legislation: the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. The amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act address concerns raised by Indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories over the land and water board amalgamation provisions of the 2014 Northwest Territories Devolution Act and the related injunction from the the Northwest Territories Supreme Court in March 2015. The bill confirms the continuation of the Sahtu, Gwich’in and Wek’èezhìi boards with the jurisdiction to regulate the use of land and water and deposit of waste in their regions.
Bill C-88 also amends the Canada Petroleum Resources Act to allow the Governor in Council to prohibit oil and gas activities, when in the national interest, and to freeze the terms of existing licenses to prevent them from expiring while the moratorium on the issuance of new Arctic offshore oil and gas licences is in place. These changes are necessary to allow the Government to establish a path forward for the strategic management of Arctic offshore oil and gas resources in collaboration with partners.
“Our consultations with territorial and Indigenous governments, as well as with oil and gas industry, have helped guide our path forward. Bill C-88 acknowledges the rights of Indigenous peoples while increasing certainty to industry. It will foster a more efficient and predictable management system of natural resources, strengthened by the meaningful participation of Indigenous people, while paving the way for economic prosperity and a healthier environment in the North for generations to come.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Bill C-88 came into force on June 21, 2019.
The land and water board amalgamation provisions of the 2014 Northwest Territories Devolution Act had been suspended by an injunction of the Northwest Territories Supreme Court in March 2015, at the request of Northwest Territories Indigenous governments.