The Government of Canada says it has taken 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.
The statement comes after the passage into law of Bill C-88, An Act to Amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.
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 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.
The government says the 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.