On November 28, 2014 the new Northwest Territories
Wildlife Acti will be called into force. The new Act sets out a
comprehensive framework for the management of wildlife in the
Northwest Territories and will affect all harvesters, including
Aboriginal people, residents and non-residents using the services
of Outfitting businesses. In addition, the statute's framework
for wildlife and habitat management includes new provisions which
will be of interest to resource developers operating or planning
projects in the NWT. The result is a new statute and regulations
which have been unanimously endorsed by all participants in the
legislative development process. Most importantly, the legal
framework resulting from this effort is consistent with Aboriginal
rights, including land claims, and promises to accommodate the
rights and interests of Aboriginal people in the future management
of Northwest Territories wildlife.
This legislative event, years in the making, is the culmination
of collaboration between the Government of the Northwest
Territories, Aboriginal organizations including those with settled
land claims, Métis and First Nations which are still in the
negotiation process, and wildlife co-management tribunals which
play a central role in wildlife management in the NWT. Work on the
details of the regulations is ongoing, but the Act and most
regulations will be in effect on November 28, 2014. This
legislative effort also enacted the Northwest Territories
Species at Risk Act,ii in 2009.
Key Aims and Effects of the Act
The new Act sets out a comprehensive modern framework for the
management of wildlife in the Northwest Territories. It ensures
that wildlife management will integrate Aboriginal rights and
interests while contributing to the sustainability of northern
wildlife. It will:
integrate and ensure recognition and respect for Aboriginal
rights in the wildlife management process
encourage conservation and stewardship or wildlife and
enhance local control in the management of wildlife
promote harvester training to improve safety and wildlife
permit better management of conservation areas
establish a framework for wildlife and habitat management
planning and monitoring in concert with resource development,
modernize enforcement provisions and increase penalties for
Integration of NWT Land Claims and Collaborative Development
This new legislation is unique. It fully integrates the four
existing land claims in force in the NWTiii and accommodates the
Aboriginal rights and interests of Métis and First Nations
which are still in the negotiating process. The Act was drafted
through an open and inclusive process which involved direct
collaboration between government officials, Aboriginal leaders,
co-management tribunals and their counsel. The Government of the
Northwest Territories underwrote extensive consultation with
Aboriginal rights holders and the public throughout the
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