Archived - Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement - Annual Report of the Implementation Committee April 1, 2003 - March 31, 2004

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Catalogue: R231-9/2004
ISBN: 0-662-69042-7

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The Implementation Committee is pleased to provide its 11th annual report on the implementation of the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement. This report covers the fiscal year extending from April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004.

The Implementation Committee consists of a senior official from each of the parties: the Gwich'in Tribal Council, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada. The Committee functions by consensus and serves as a forum where parties can raise issues and voice their concerns.

The role of the Implementation Committee is to oversee, monitor and provide direction on the implementation of the Agreement. This annual report describes achievements and developments during the year. Information is contributed by various federal and territorial departments, the Gwich'in Tribal Council and other bodies established pursuant to the Agreement.

Progress by the Implementation Committee is being achieved within a relationship defined by mutual respect and a commitment to fulfilling the obligations set out in the Agreement.

Original signed by

Fred Carmichael
Gwich'in Tribal Council

Original signed by

Mark Warren
Government of the Northwest Territories

Original signed by

Mavis Dellert
Government of Canada

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Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations

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1. Features of the Agreement

On April 22, 1992, the Gwich'in Tribal Council (GTC) and the governments of the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Canada signed the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and the accompanying Implementation Plan. The Agreement took effect on December 22, 1992.

Major provisions of the Agreement include:

The Agreement also provides for the negotiation of agreements on self-government, which will be brought into effect through federal or territorial legislation or both.

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2. Highlights

Significant highlights of this report include the following.

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3. Specific Issues

3.1 Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program

The CIMPWG conducted six meetings, in person and via teleconference, to further the design of the program. By September 2003, the CIMPWG had developed a revised five-year draft strategic plan and work program which incorporated input from community consultations.

The CIMPWG also worked extensively to develop the terms of reference for the NWT-wide environmental audit, which are required by the Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho land claim agreements and by Part 6 of the MVRMA. The CIMPWG reached consensus on the terms of reference in December 2003. Despite delays in the completion of the audit (one year behind schedule), key Aboriginal partners, including the Gwich'in, formally endorsed the terms of reference. Since January 2004, the audit process has been guided by the Audit Sub-Committee, a nine member sub-committee of the CIMPWG. This committee will select the auditor and provide assistance during the audit.

In February 2003, community consultations were conducted in the GSA and were well received. The consultations were intended to provide communities with general information and to receive feedback from the communities on monitoring needs and the audit process.

As a key communications tool, the Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (CIMP) web site was launched in early November 2003 and contains all key public documents on the program. For more information, refer to the CIMP web site.

Other key deliverables of the CIMPWG for 2003-2004 included:

The Cumulative Effects Assessment and Management Steering Committee continued its strong support for the timely implementation of the CIMP and audit. In October 2003, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development publicly committed to making best efforts to implement the Blueprint for Implementing the Cumulative Effects Assessment and Management Strategy and Framework in the NWT and Its Regions, and work to do so is underway.

3.2 Economic Measures

Chapter 10 of the Agreement requires the governments of Canada and the NWT to meet with the GTC at least once every three years to review the effectiveness of programs that relate to Gwich'in economic self-sufficiency, and strengthen and maintain the traditional Gwich'in economy.

On November 21-23, 2001, an economic measures meeting was held in Inuvik, with representatives of the Gwich'in, Sahtu, and the governments of the NWT and Canada. It was evident that there was no means of measuring the effectiveness of government economic development programs within the GSA and SSA.

A follow-up workshop of the Gwich'in and Sahtu Implementation Committee (IC) members was held in January 2002 in Yellowknife to discuss the need to develop measurements and performance indicators of program success. As a result of this meeting, a contractor was hired to develop a framework and template that could be used by the federal and territorial departments to help measure the effectiveness of economic development programs within the settlement areas.

Subsequently, a working group was established and met on April 3, 2003 to define the terms in the economic measures chapters of the Gwich'in and Sahtu agreements. Not all the definitions were completed at the April 2003 meeting, and a subsequent conference call was convened on September 11, 2003 to finalize the definitions. The contractor provided the parties with Phase I of the contract, which included the definitions, a review of relevant documents related to economic measures and the results of interviews conducted with individuals responsible for economic measures, in December 2003.

In March 2004, Phase II of the contract, encompassing the actual development of the framework and template, was completed. The template will be used by the federal and territorial departments to monitor the effectiveness of their respective economic development programs. It is anticipated that this template will be presented to the Gwich'in and Sahtu IC meetings in April 2004. It will also form the basis for a presentation to the Gwich'in and Sahtu ICs at the next economic measures review meeting, scheduled for November 2004.

3.3 Northern Gas Pipeline Project

A consortium of four gas producers (Imperial, Conoco, ExxonMobil and Shell) with gas holdings in the Mackenzie Delta, in partnership with the Aboriginal Pipeline Group (APG), proposed the construction of a stand-alone 1,300 kilometre natural gas pipeline. This line, estimated at a cost of $4 billion to $5 billion, would have an initial capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (BCF/day) with the potential to increase capacity to 1.9 BCF/day.

Cooperation Plan

The Cooperation Plan for the Environmental Impact Assessment and Regulatory Review of a Northern Gas Pipeline Project through the Northwest Territories represents the agreement by governments and IPGs on potential methods of co-operation in assessing a northern gas pipeline project. The purpose of the Plan is to define clearly regulatory roles and responsibilities for applications relating to a northern gas pipeline project and to avoid duplication where possible. The Plan in no way pre-judges or pre-approves any potential project that may be proposed, nor does the approach pre-judge the decisions to be made by any authority or bind any authority to a certain course of action.


Three agreements will give effect to the Plan. Together, they add specific details for the review of the MGP to harmonize environmental assessment processes and avoid duplication.

Current Status

The Mackenzie Gas Producers and APG issued the Preliminary Information Package for the Mackenzie Gas Project to regulatory agencies in June 2003 indicating the basic components of the project. It outlines plans for all aspects of the Project, including communication and consultation with communities. It also includes information about how a pipeline might affect the environment and lifestyles of the North.

In the Mackenzie Valley, in accordance with the elements of the Cooperation Plan, the Mackenzie Gas Producers also submitted "trigger" applications for land and water use authorizations to the MVLWB, which referred the project for further assessment to the MVEIRB. The MVEIRB conducted public hearings as part of its environmental assessment. Public hearings began in March 2004 and will continue into April 2004. The project is expected to then be referred to a joint review panel which will consist of representatives from the Inuvialuit, MVEIRB (as representing the regions of the Mackenzie Valley) and the Government of Canada. The panel will begin its assessment process following the filing of the environmental impact statement expected from the Mackenzie Gas Producers in the late summer of 2004.

In the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), the Preliminary Information Package for the Mackenzie Gas Project was referred in January 2004 to the Environmental Impact Screening Committee (EISC) for public review as described in the Cooperation Plan. The EISC decided the development could have a significant negative environmental impact on wildlife or Inuvialuit harvesting. The Minister of Environment Canada accepted the EISC recommendation that the project undergo further assessment through an environmental review panel.

The chairs of the environmental and regulatory boards established the Northern Gas Project Secretariat with offices in Yellowknife and Inuvik to provide communications and logistical support to the agencies and boards involved in a joint review panel assessment and regulatory process. The Secretariat is jointly funded through INAC and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada worked with other federal and territorial government departments and the project proponents to enhance opportunities for increasing the level of community preparedness for the project. It funded Aboriginal groups in four regions (ISR, SSA, GSA and Deh Cho) to undertake essential work with the communities in this regard.

As part of its involvement in the Federal Project Coordination Secretariat, INAC, along with other federal government departments, attended several workshops and community meetings held by the project proponents to identify community and environmental issues associated with the project. Other issues, both directly related to the Cooperation Plan and independent of the Plan, include the concerns of the Deh Cho First Nations with the Cooperation Plan and the pipeline in general, and expectations of the four NWT regions with respect to land access agreements and benefit plans.

3.4 Land Use Planning

The Agreement requires that a land use plan be developed to promote conservation and sustainable development in the GSA. The Gwich'in Land Use Plan: Nành' Geenjit Gwitr'it T'igwaa'in, Working for the Land, was completed in 1999. On August 7, 2003, Minister Nault signed off on the final approval of the Gwich'in Land Use Plan. This approval was an historic occasion since it is the first regional land use plan approved under the MVRMA. The official Gwich'in celebration will be held in Fort McPherson on April 16, 2004.

Several integrated working-level meetings were held with representatives from INAC, the Government of the NWT and Gwich'in Land Use Planning Board (GLUPB) regarding the Gwich'in Land Use Plan Implementation Strategy, resulting in a February 12, 2004 draft version being circulated and commented on by all parties to the Agreement.

As part of the multi-year non-renewable resource assessment work being done by the C.S. Lord Northern Geoscience Centre on the Gwich'in conservation zones, about three weeks were spent in July 2003, based out of Fort McPherson, carrying out a helicopter-supported geochemical survey over the conservation zones in the Richardson Mountains area of the GSA.

3.5 Renewal of the Gwich'in Implementation Plan

In 2002-2003, the negotiators from the GTC and governments of Canada and the NWT tasked with the renewal of the Gwich'in Implementation Plan for the next 10 year period developed and signed a joint report to the IC. This report outlined the changes to the renewed Plan and recommended actions the parties could take to resolve outstanding interpretive issues.

At the April 2, 2003 meeting of the Gwich'in IC, negotiators from the governments of Canada and the NWT presented the report and a renewed Implementation Plan to the members. The IC discussed the report and recommended several changes to the renewed Plan. The section which presented options for resolving six outstanding interpretive issues was also discussed. The negotiators indicated that agreement could not be reached on the following outstanding implementation issues: the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA), the Yukon Devolution Transfer Agreement, dispute resolution provisions in the Agreement, economic measures, the Wildlife Studies Fund and the nature of the Government of Canada's funding obligation to the GTC under the Agreement. The options presented by the negotiators ranged from the need to continue discussions and the resolution of several issues through existing initiatives, to the recommendation of arbitration on those matters where agreement could not be reached through further discussion.

Subject to the changes requested by the IC, the members accepted and agreed to recommend the signing of the renewed Implementation Plan to their respective parties. The GTC's acceptance of the renewed Plan was subject to the understanding that its signing of the document did not compromise the assertion that its renewed funding level was inadequate.

The renewed Implementation Plan was signed on October 22, 2003 by the GTC, on October 30, 2003 by the Government of the NWT, and on November 14, 2003 by the Government of Canada.

3.6 Auditor General's Report

On February 10, 2004, the Report of the Auditor General of Canada was tabled in the House of Commons. Chapter 8 of the Report focussed on the transfer of federal responsibilities to the North, including an examination of the implementation of two land claim agreements: Nunavut and the Gwich'in.

In her report, the Auditor General noted that "land claim agreements clarify the rights of Aboriginal groups to lands and resources in a way that contributes to their economic growth and self-sufficiency." Economic self-sufficiency is one of the explicit objectives set out in the Agreement. The Auditor General stated that to manage the Agreement well requires achieving measurable results against the objectives. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, she observed, had "not worked to support the full intent of the land claim agreements" and "clearly needs to have a strategic focus for the objectives and obligations as set out in the agreements." She believed that INAC should take a leadership role to develop a work plan that moves toward meeting the land claim objectives. The department disagreed with the Auditor General and responded that while it does not dispute the importance of meeting the objectives of the agreements, it defines success as "fulfilling the specific obligations set out in the agreements and implementation plans."

The Auditor General also observed that implementation committees and other mechanisms are not effective in resolving disputes. In the case of the Gwich'in, she used, as examples, two areas of disagreement between the Government of Canada and the GTC: economic measures and funding for the GTC. In terms of economic measures, the Auditor General noted that the issue in dispute is how this chapter of the Agreement, and in particular, the obligation to review the effectiveness of economic measures, is being implemented. With respect to GTC funding, the Auditor General noted that the issue is over the existence and extent of federal financial support for the GTC under the Agreement. She observed that while the GTC believes the spirit and intent of the Agreement entitles it to receive core funding as the governing body for the land claim, the federal government's position is that it has no obligation under the Agreement to fund the GTC.

Despite these areas of disagreement, the Auditor General indicated that INAC generally meets its obligations under settled land claim agreements. Recommendations were made for improving the implementation of agreements, particularly with respect to managing for, and focussing on, results. The Auditor General's recommendations were in the areas of strengthening annual reports and INAC's land claim obligation monitoring system (LCOS) database, and improved reporting on financial information and co-ordination within the federal government. The Auditor General also emphasized the need for INAC to go beyond implementing obligations to implementing the objectives of land claim agreements.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agreed with the recommendations of the Auditor General regarding the need to strengthen and improve reporting through the annual reports for each land claim agreement, the need to improve LCOS and the importance of federal co-ordination for the implementation of land claim agreements. The department will be working with officials from the Office of the Auditor General and with the parties to the agreement on ways to improve its reporting of progress and results to Parliament and the public.

Regarding the issue of implementing objectives versus obligations, as indicated above, INAC disagreed with the Office of the Auditor General and indicated that the parties have determined that the best way to meet the objectives of land claim agreements is to fulfill the obligations as set out in the agreements and the activities as detailed in the implementation plans.

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4. Implementation Committee

The IC consists of senior officials representing each of the parties. Committee members are Fred Carmichael, President, GTC, who was represented by Deb Bisson, Director of Lands, Resources and Implementation; Mark Warren, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, NWT, who was represented by Scott Alexander, Director of Implementation, at the April and September 2003 meetings; and Aideen Nabigon, Director of Implementation Management Directorate, INAC, who was represented by Pierre Laporte, Acting Director, Implementation Management Directorate, at the December 2003 meeting.

Pursuant to section 28.2 of the Agreement, the Committee is responsible for:

During the year, the Committee met three times: in Yellowknife on April 28, 2003, Inuvik on September 9 and 10, 2003, and via conference call on December 2, 2003.

4.1 Communications Package

The Committee continued to edit and revise the Communications Package, an educational tool to assist Gwich'in students in understanding the Agreement, and which will include a CD-ROM component. The CD-ROM is expected to be completed in 2004-2005.

4.2 Outstanding Implementation Issues

The Gwich'in IC identified the following six outstanding implementation issues resulting from the renewal of the Gwich'in Implementation Plan:

The IC signed a record of decision on January 8, 2003, recommending to the parties that the six outstanding issues listed above be referred to arbitration under Chapter 6 of the Agreement.

The GTC and Government of the NWT responded to this recommendation on April 6, 2003 and September 19, 2003, respectively, and recommended that two of the six outstanding issues, namely, dispute resolution and the Wildlife Studies Fund, be referred for arbitration. The GTC indicated that it would deal with the issues of the YESAA and the Yukon Development Assessment Process (YDAP) through continued discussions with the Yukon government. With respect to economic measures, the GTC indicated that it was willing to continue with existing initiatives to resolve this issue. On the remaining outstanding issue of the nature of the Government of Canada's obligation to fund the GTC under the Agreement, the GTC indicated that it was still seeking legal advice. The Government of the NWT indicated that since the issues of YESAA, YDAP and the nature of the Government of Canada's obligation to fund the GTC under the Agreement are bilateral issues between the Government of Canada and the GTC, it would not be recommending these issues to arbitration. The Government of the NWT supported and echoed the GTC's position with regard to economic measures.

The Government of Canada's response to the recommendations of the IC is pending.

4.3 Other Activities

The Committee was active in other areas, including:

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5. Implementing Bodies

The Agreement provides for the establishment of implementing bodies that are responsible for managing wildlife resources, conducting environmental impact assessments and reviews of development proposals, planning and regulating land and water use, resolving issues relating to surface entry and compensation, settling disputes related to the interpretation of the Agreement and determining eligibility for participation as beneficiaries of the Agreement. The Implementation Plan sets out the membership, functions and time frames for the establishment of each implementing body.

The Gwich'in Arbitration Panel, Gwich'in Land and Water Board (GLWB), GLUPB, GRRB, Renewable Resources Councils (RRCs) and MVEIRB are operational. Current membership on these implementing bodies, excluding the RRCs, is listed in Appendix 1.

Chapter 26 of the Agreement requires that a surface rights board be established through separate legislation. This quasi-judicial body will have the jurisdiction to resolve disputes between landowners and holders of surface or subsurface commercial interests over entry to the lands and compensation for their use. The board will consist of members residing in the NWT, and when dealing with Gwich'in lands shall act through a panel of its members at least one of whom shall be a resident of the GSA. Since the surface rights board has yet to be created by legislation, relevant surface rights disputes in the GSA may be referred to the Gwich'in Arbitration Panel.

5.1 Gwich'in Arbitration Panel

Chapter 6 of the Agreement provides for the establishment of the Gwich'in Arbitration Panel to resolve disputes that arise during the implementation of the Agreement.

The Arbitration Panel has not been called upon to arbitrate any disputes since its inception. Panel members did not meet in 2003-2004.

5.2 Gwich'in Land Use Planning Board

The GLUPB is responsible for developing and implementing a land use plan for the GSA. The Gwich'in Land Use Plan will provide for the conservation, development and utilization of land, resources and waters for the benefit of all Canadians, with special attention devoted to the needs of the Gwich'in. The Board will ensure that the Plan is adapted to address the social and environmental changes over time, by facilitating a comprehensive review once every five years now that the Plan is approved. Between the reviews, the Board may chose to make exceptions or amendments to the Plan.

Approval of the Gwich'in Land Use Plan, Nành' Geenjit Gwitr'it T'igwaa'in (Working for the Land)

Nành' Geenjit Gwitr'it T'igwaa'in, (Working for the Land), the Gwich'in Land Use Plan, received final approval on August 7, 2003. After four years of working to find solutions to the issues preventing approval of the Plan at the federal level, success was celebrated.

Any changes that were made to the Plan during the federal review process (note: the GTC and the Government of the NWT first approved the Plan in 1999) were taken to the communities, the GTC and the Government of the NWT for approval. Once agreement was reached on the revisions and the interim land withdrawal was in place, the Plan proceeded to final approval. The time line of approval by the signatories was:

As of August 7, 2003, the Plan was considered to be in effect. Any amendments to the Plan will require approval of the three signatories.

The following three issues are relevant as they address the federal concerns that held up the approval of the Plan.

Implementation of the Gwich'in Land Use Plan

The Board began work on a strategy document that will provide more detail regarding the implementation issues identified in Chapter 7 of the Plan, and will be essentially a five-year work plan. It will be revised and updated as needed. Progress on the work plan, which includes the implementation of the Land Use Plan and preparations for its five-year review, will be reported in detail in the GLUPB annual report.

The Board conducted conformance checks/exception of applications made to regulatory agencies.

The GLUPB web site was updated with a new look and additional information related to implementation of the approved plan.

Implementation Plan of the Land Claim Agreement

In the past, the Board often had to request additional funding from the IC to complete the basic level of activity required to achieve its mandate. The allocation under the new 10-year Implementation Plan for the Agreement is expected to meet the Board's funding requirements. However, large-scale projects, such as the MGP, could place significant demand on the Board's resources and require additional funding.

Gwich'in Geographic Information System project

As a partner in the Gwich'in Integrated Geographic Information System Project, the GLUPB contributed money and resources to support the project in co-operation with the GRRB, GLWB and the GTC. This project provides the partners with a common database of geographic information and shared technical staff.

Communication with Other Boards

Staff of the GLUPB met with Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute (GSCI) staff regarding the Peel River National Historic Site initiative. Discussion focussed on how the Plan relates to a national historic site (NHS) and what information the Board might have on the area to support the NHS designation.

Yukon Planning

The Board continued to work with the GTC and Yukon Land Use Planning Commission to refine the general terms of reference for the Peel River Planning Commission.

5.3 Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board

The GRRB, created pursuant to section 12.8 of the Agreement, has a mandate to ensure that wildlife, fish and forests are used in a sustainable manner so they are available today and for future generations.

Board Operations

As a regional public board responsible for renewable resource management in the GSA, the Board has worked in partnership and has developed good working relationships with other IPGs, Gwich'in communities, and government agencies and departments. It completed its 10th year of operation in 2003-2004. A 10-year report covering the period 1993 to 2003 is in the draft stage, and will be released in the near future.

The Board meets two times per year in a Gwich'in community. In 2003-2004, the meetings were held in Fort McPherson (September 30-October 1, 2003) and Inuvik (February 17-18, 2004). During these meetings, the Board met with the RRCs to discuss local renewable resource management concerns and issues. The RRCs were established in each community to promote local involvement in conservation, harvesting studies, research and management.

Research, Management and Education Projects

Providing financial and in-kind support for various research and management studies continues to be one of the GRRB's main functions. To gather current information on renewable resources in the GSA from which to make informed management decisions, the Board allocated $258,500 to fund 23 research and management projects, including nine wildlife ($134,000), four fisheries ($66,500), two forestry ($30,000) and eight culture/education projects ($28,000). Substantial in-kind support was also provided for these projects.

The GRRB received additional outside funding and assistance totalling over $300,000 from various organizations to conduct research and management projects in the GSA.

Renewable Resource Management

As the GRRB was established as the main instrument for wildlife and forestry management in the GSA, its mandate is to ensure that wildlife, fish and the forests are used in a sustainable manner. Since it is the Board's view that sustainable resources management is best achieved through voluntary actions, it continued to work on various management plans for the GSA. These include:

Settlement Area Harvest Study

The Settlement Area Harvest Study (SAHS) protects Gwich'in hunting, fishing and trapping by setting the Gwich'in Minimum Needs Level, and provides information for renewable resource management. The 2003-2004 period represented the ninth year of collecting harvest data from voluntary participants living in all four Gwich'in communities. New data were collected, and a process of backchecking the last three years of data for accuracy was started. Workshops were arranged in communities to gather harvesters' feelings about the Study.

The Board changed the Study from a monthly to a quarterly interview schedule. Calendars and notebooks were distributed to help harvesters keep track of their harvest between interviews.

A revitalization of the SAHS Working Group and a thorough review of the Study is planned. It is felt the SAHS has been a good community monitoring program and will provide valuable information during the current period of oil and gas exploration.

Gwich'in Traditional/Local Knowledge

Incorporation of traditional/local knowledge into renewable resources management is a cornerstone of the GRRB's operations. Community knowledge continued to be collected by the GRRB through the SANS and as a part of other research. A traditional knowledge component of the Travaillant Lake Fish Movement Study was completed in 2003-2004.

A northern traditional knowledge discussion group was established to provide a forum for co-ordinators/researchers to share common concerns, as well as successes and best practices in the field of traditional knowledge management and research.

Education and Training

Education and training of Gwich'in beneficiaries in renewable resource research and management is an important part of the GRRB's operations. The Board continued to offer several programs including:

The Board also continued to offer training to address professional enhancement of staff. Staff from the GRRB participated in community career days, nature days, and science camps and fairs to encourage youth to pursue careers in renewable resource management. Support was provided to the Three Rivers project on the Peel River where Elders and youth participated.

Staff continued to maintain and update the organization's web site to enhance communication about the Board's activities and programs to the public.


Implementing community-based resource management poses challenges to all participants-communities, government departments and land claim organizations. During the year, the GRRB worked to ensure that all the partners involved in renewable resources management work together toward long-term sustainable resource conservation and active community participation.

5.4 Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board

The MVEIRB is mandated by the Gwich'in and Sahtu agreements and the MVRMA to conduct environmental assessments and reviews of development projects in the Mackenzie Valley. The Board's jurisdiction applies to all lands in the NWT, excluding the ISR and Wood Buffalo National Park. The MVRMA replaces the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in the Mackenzie Valley except under specific circumstances.


As of March 31, 2004, the Board had a full complement of nine members which incorporated additions as a result of the Deh Cho First Nations Interim Measures Agreement.

Staffing and Location

The Board's office in Yellowknife houses a staff of 10, including an executive director, three environmental assessment officers and one trainee, a finance and administrative officer, an assistant administrative officer, a traditional knowledge co-ordinator, a communications officer and a secretary.

Preliminary Screenings

In 2003-2004, the Board received 162 notifications of preliminary screenings, an increase of seven percent (151 screenings) from 2002-2003. However, this figure is 26 percent lower than 2001-2002, when 220 screenings were received.

Environmental Assessments

This year has been particularly busy for the Board. It worked on 11 environmental assessments and completed seven; a 12th assessment was discontinued for lack of response on the part of the company and another referral to environmental assessment was taken to judicial review after the Board refused to accept it. The following four environmental assessments are in progress and scheduled for completion in 2004-2005.

EA03-009: Imperial Oil Ventures Ltd. Deh Cho Geotechnical Program

The Board called up the Imperial Oil Ventures Ltd. Deh Cho Geotechnical survey on February 26, 2004 by its own motion. The Board made the decision on the basis of public concern in response to letters received from several Deh Cho communities. This environmental assessment will consider the impacts from activities proposed by Imperial to investigate subsurface conditions in the Deh Cho region in preparation for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. The proposed geotechnical work will include the use of heavy equipment and drills, new access routes and the construction of two portable 65-person camps.

Related issues include the potential effects on boreal caribou, social impacts on communities near temporary camps, impacts on heritage and archaeological sites, and on proposed protected areas and places of concern to communities. This environmental assessment will be completed in the fall of 2004.

EA03-008: Deh Cho Bridge Corporation - Mackenzie River Bridge Project

The Deh Cho Bridge Corporation has proposed to build a bridge over the Mackenzie River near Fort Providence. This steel and concrete bridge would be the largest bridge in northern Canada, at 1,045 metres long and supported by eight piers in the Mackenzie River. Department of Fisheries and Oceans referred this project for environmental assessment in January 2004.

The environmental assessment, which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2004, is considering issues including possible accidents and malfunctions, effects on ice movements during river break-up, effects on river users, economic impacts on Fort Providence and other communities, socio-cultural impacts of all-weather access across the Mackenzie, and impacts on fish and wildlife.

EA03-007: Mackenzie Gas Project, Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline

The Mackenzie Gas Producers, consisting of Imperial Oil, APG, Conoco Phillips, Shell Canada and ExxonMobil, filed a land use permit and water licence application with the MVLWB for a barge landing and staging site at Camsell Bend in July 2003. This application was the trigger to initiate the environmental assessment of the MGP. The MVLWB referred the development to the MVEIRB for environmental assessment in December 2003.

The Board scheduled scoping sessions for Norman Wells, Inuvik and Fort Simpson during March and April 2004. At fiscal year end, the Fort Simpson public session remained to be completed.

EA03-005: Paramount Resources, Cameron Hills Extension

Paramount Resources operates an oil and gas gathering system in the Cameron Hills area south of Hay River. In April 2003, Paramount applied to the MVLWB to amend existing land use permits and water licences to allow drilling of an additional five wells. The MVLWB concluded that the development required an environmental assessment to address the cumulative effects of adding these and possibly other wells at a later date.

The MVEIRB initiated this assessment in June 2003. Paramount Resources submitted a development description that included developing up to 48 additional wells and associated flow lines. At Board hearings in Kakisa and Hay River in February 2004, concerns about air quality, caribou, cumulative effects and economic benefits were raised. At the end of the reporting period, the public record was closed and the Board entered into its deliberations before developing its environmental assessment report.

Completed Environmental Assessments

The Board completed seven environmental assessments during the year. Of these, three reports of environmental assessment and reasons for decision submitted to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development have been approved.

Four other completed environmental assessments awaited ministerial decision at the end of the reporting period. The three approved environmental assessments are as follows.

EA01-004: DeBeers Canada Mining Ltd. Snap Lake Diamond Mine

In May 2001, De Beers Canada Mining Inc. applied for a land use permit to construct a 3,000 tonne/day diamond mine, with an operating life of 22 years, to be located on the tundra 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. This project involves a camp for 350 people, an airstrip, permanent and winter roads, mine related buildings including a process plant, a water treatment plant, and a waste disposal system. A large waste rock pile and settling ponds will also be included.

The Board's assessment looked at impacts on water and aquatic life, wildlife (including carnivores and the Bathurst caribou herd), the economic impacts on the NWT and communities, social impacts on communities, cumulative effects and other issues.

A week of hearings was held in April 2003 with Aboriginal groups, the developer, and government and non-governmental organizations. In July 2003, the Board produced a report of environmental assessment, which suggested that the development be approved only with a range of recommended mitigation measures. These reasons focussed on water quality, wildlife, completion of a socio-economic agreement, and regional cumulative effects monitoring. The Minister accepted the Board's report on October 10, 2003.

EA03-001: Northrock Resources, Summit Creek Exploratory Well

In September 2002, Northrock Resources Ltd. applied to the Sahtu Land and Water Board (SLWB) for a land use permit and a water licence to construct approximately 75 kilometres of temporary winter access road and to drill a 3,000 metre deep exploratory oil or gas well. The SLWB's preliminary screening report concluded that there might be significant public concern in the nearby community of Tulita and the development should be subjected to an environmental assessment. The Northrock Resources Summit Creek exploratory oil and gas well was initially referred on March 21, 2003 to the MVEIRB; it was the first to be referred out of the SSA by the SLWB. A public hearing was held in Norman Wells in October 2003.

The MVEIRB initiated an environmental assessment in March 21, 2003 focussing on three issues that were raised by Tulita. These issues were that part of the proposed access route was different from what had been used in previous years; there would be impacts on traditional land use, particularly on harvesting of wildlife; and there would be impacts on culturally important areas.

The MVEIRB recommended in its report that the development be approved provided that the developer use the shorter access route and have it and the well site surveyed by a qualified archeologist prior to any work, and that the developer identify and pay compensation to those people who traditionally hunted in the area in accordance with the Agreement. The environmental assessment report was issued in August 8, 2003 and accepted on September 5, 2003.

EA03-002: Consolidated Goldwin Ventures Ltd. Drybones Bay Exploratory Drilling Program

Consolidated Goldwin Ventures Ltd. Drybones Bay exploratory drilling program was initially referred on June 30, 2003. The Board held a joint public hearing in December 2003 where the New Shoshoni Ventures and North American General Resources projects were also reviewed. As part of this joint assessment, a cumulative effects study of the Drybones and Wool Bay areas was contracted to bring information before the Board. The environmental assessment report was submitted on February 11, 2004 and accepted on March 26, 2004.

Completed Environmental Assessments Awaiting Ministerial Approval

Four reports of environmental assessment were waiting for the approval of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development as of March 31, 2004. Some have gone to a "consult-to-modify" process where INAC has sought clarification from the Board on its recommendations.

EA02-002: WesternGeco Ltd. River Seismic Survey x

WesternGeco Ltd., proposed to conduct a river seismic survey 1,500 kilometres down the Mackenzie and Liard rivers. The company would use air cannons firing into the water and floating microphones to pick up the vibrations from below the river bottom. The NEB and DFO referred the development to the Board on June 26, 2002 as information gaps about the impacts of air guns led them to conclude that the project might cause significant adverse environmental impacts. The environmental assessment was put on hold at the request of the company to complete a test program and was reinstated in December 2002.

WesternGeco conducted research on the effects of noise on the river, and the physical effects of air guns on fish, fish movements and wildlife. The company's acoustic studies have helped to clarify how sound from the air guns will behave in the river, but were insufficient to determine whether the air guns will harm fish.

This environmental assessment also dealt with compensation for damaged fishing equipment or reduced fishing catches, impacts to the spiritual well-being of the Dene and Metis people of the Deh Cho region, and impacts on wildlife in the river.

The Board proposed certain measures to reduce impacts. These measures included a program for monitoring, evaluation and management, designed co-operatively with, and supervised by, DFO. The environmental assessment report was submitted on June 30, 2003 and discussions concluded with the NEB as to how the parties will proceed on the consultation of this report before it is accepted by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Diamond Exploration in the Drybones and Wool Bay areas by:
EA03-003: North American General Resources Corporation
EA03-004: New Shoshoni Ventures Ltd.
EA03-006: Snowfield Development Corporation

Public concern about development in Drybones Bay and Wool Bay, areas of cultural, spiritual and environmental importance, lead to a series of referrals between April and June 2003. The four proposed diamond exploration projects were:

Consolidated GoldWin Ventures Ltd. and North American General Resources Corporation proposed a three to five hole program, mainly on ice, over one to two years during the winter. New Shoshoni Ventures Ltd. proposed to drill up to 10 exploratory holes, mainly on ice, with potential line cutting to prepare for future work, supported by an eight-person camp over a period of five years. Snowfield Development Corporation proposed a five-year program that included drilling 98 holes, bulk sampling, road construction and a semi-permanent camp with sumps and a storage area.

Aboriginal parties were concerned about the potential for cumulative impacts from increasing mineral exploration and other land use in the vicinity of Yellowknife. Unresolved land ownership and the absence of a land use plan elevated the public concern. These concerns along with the closeness of the proposed projects prompted the Board to contract a cumulative effects study of the Drybones and Wool Bay areas to gain a regional perspective.

The Board held a joint public hearing in November 2003 where Consolidated GoldWin Ventures Ltd., North American General Resources Corporation and New Shoshoni Ventures Ltd. projects were reviewed. The public hearing for the Snowfield Development Corporation's project followed in Yellowknife on January 13, 2004.

The evidence presented showed a level of concern disproportionate to the size and physical impacts of the proposed exploration projects, and could be attributable to the importance of Drybones Bay and Wool Bay to the culture of the Akaitcho and Mens peoples near Yellowknife. Much of the evidence was targeted to one issue: the vulnerability of largely undocumented archaeological, burial and cultural resources in an important traditional use area.

In response, the Board found that the Consolidated GoldWin Ventures Ltd., North American General Resources Corporation and Snowfield Development Corporation projects would or could result in significant negative impacts to archaeological or burial sites. Recommendations were made to provide additional protection for heritage resources. The New Shoshoni Ventures Ltd. exploration project was found to be in an area so culturally sensitive and the adverse effects of the project so substantial that the project was not warranted. The New Shoshoni Ventures project is the first the Board proposed to reject.

The reports for Consolidated GoldWin Ventures Ltd., North American General Resources Corporation, and New Shoshoni Ventures Ltd. were submitted on February 11, 2004. The report for Snowfield Development Corporation followed on February 26, 2004. The Report on Environmental Assessment for the Consolidated Goldwin Ventures Ltd. was accepted on March 26, 2004. The Minister's response to the remaining reports is expected in 2004-2005.

Other Developments

EA02-001: Northern Rivers Survey Ltd. Seismic Survey

The Northern Rivers Survey Ltd. seismic survey of the Liard and South Nahanni rivers was initially referred to the Board on April 8, 2002. The environmental assessment was put on hold at the company's request on November 4, 2002 and finally terminated by the Board on January 5, 2004 due to non-responses from the company for renewing the assessment.

BD03-002: Con Miramar Abandonment and Restoration Plan

The Con Miramar Abandonment and Restoration Plan was referred to environmental assessment by the City of Yellowknife. The Board held a paper hearing to determine whether it could accept the referral. In a written decision, it decided against acceptance because of several legal issues. The City of Yellowknife subsequently appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of the NWT. A court date was set for April 21, 2004 to hear the issues surrounding this referral but it was deferred to June 2004.

Site Visits

Two members of the Board visited a TransCanada Pipelines development outside of Calgary in April 2003. Members visited the Drybones and Wool Bay areas for the environmental assessments of four projects in September 2004. Members did an overflight of the Paramount Resources Ltd. Cameron Hills expansion program in October 2004.

Board Activities

Board members participated in 18 board meetings and 15 teleconferences during the year. Several of the Board meetings were held in conjunction with MVEIRB public hearings. The March Board meeting was held in Deline and a community open house was hosted in conjunction with this meeting.

Strategic Planning

The Board prepares a business plan each year which outlines expenditure and policy priorities for the next three years. In it, five broad categories of initiatives are identified to meet the Board's goals: provide leadership in environmental management, develop and implement effective environmental impact assessment processes and procedures; enhance Board communications, enhance effective working relationships and partnerships and secure resources and develop capacity.

Review Board Budget

The business plan is submitted to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development each year, along with an expenditure plan and budget. The budget for fiscal year 2003-2004 was $2,495,031. This amount was supplemented by an additional $700,000 from INAC's NWT Regional Office to address capacity issues in preparation for the anticipated assessment of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

Governance Committee

A governance committee was established with the mandate of developing the appropriate accountability mechanisms for members' responsibility. The committee will develop job descriptions for the chair, vice-chair, committee chairs, executive director and members, and the appropriate Board policies and guidelines.

Lessons Learned

A lessons-learned workshop on the Snap Lake environmental assessment was conducted during the Deline board meeting. The results of this workshop will provide feedback and guidance for future environmental assessments.

Tlicho Land Claim

As a result of the Tlicho land claim and self-government agreement signed in August 2003, the MVRMA will be amended. These consequential amendments will incorporate the unique self-government structures created under the Tlicho claim to interact with the MVRMA. The Board reviewed and commented on the proposed amendments to the MVRMA.

Environmental Assessment Guidelines

The Board worked on two documents in 2003-2004.

These documents are available on the MVEIRB's web site.

Traditional Knowledge

The Board organized a second translators workshop in November to develop terms and phrases in the Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal languages for words frequently used in environmental impact assessment. This initiative will be continued in the coming fiscal years.

Draft guidelines on incorporating traditional knowledge in the environmental impact assessment process were finalized and will be put out for public comment in 2004-2005.

Public Information

Members and staff attended or made presentations at 17 workshops, committees, symposiums, government meetings and conferences during the year. As well, information visits were made to the Deh Cho communities of Fort Simpson, Nahanni Butte, Fort Liard and Trout Lake, and an open house was held in Define.

5.5 Gwich'in Land and Water Board

The GLWB is the regulatory authority identified under the Agreement and given effect by the MVRMA to regulate land and water use throughout the GSA.

The mandate of the Board is to provide for conservation, development and utilization of land and water resources in the GSA in a manner that will provide the optimum benefit for present and future residents of the GSA and Mackenzie Valley, and for all Canadians. The MVRMA authorizes the Board to regulate the use of land and water by issuing, amending, renewing and suspending land use permits and water licences throughout the GSA, including all Crown, Gwich'in and other private lands.

The Board consists of five members. The GTC nominates two members, and two members are nominated by the governments of the NWT and Canada respectively. The four members then nominate a chair. All members are appointed by the Government of Canada for a three-year term.

Staff of the GLWB include an executive director, geographic information system (GIS) specialist, GIS technician, land and water technician and office manager. The position of integrated resource manager was vacant in 2003-2004.

In fiscal year 2003-2004, 13 land use permits and two water licence applications were received and approved by the Board. In anticipation of land use and water use applications from the Mackenzie Gas Producers, the GLWB will hire two or three more personnel in the coming year.

Board objectives for 2004-2005 include the following.

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6. Gwich'in Tribal Council

The GTC is the organization mandated by the Agreement to represent Gwich'in beneficiaries on the IC and to ensure the protection of Gwich'in rights and interests as outlined in the Agreement. Since its incorporation in 1992, the GTC has made steady progress in establishing an integrated resource management framework in the Mackenzie Valley as required by the Agreement. Some key implementation activities undertaken by the GTC are described below.

6.1 Enrolment Board

The Enrolment Board began operations in March 1993. The GTC became responsible for the Board on December 22, 1997. The Board is responsible for enrolling eligible persons of Gwich'in ancestry as per Chapter 4 of the Agreement. Only those enrolled in the Agreement are entitled to run for office, vote and participate in the activities of the GTC, receive money in future payouts, and enjoy the rights granted to beneficiaries under the Agreement.

The Enrolment Co-ordinator distributes and receives applications for enrolment and presents them to the Board, which meets three times a year. Applications of beneficiaries who qualify are accepted by the Board. New beneficiaries receive a certificate of enrolment and a Gwich'in enrolment card. These documents include a picture identification and the individual's registered enrolment number. Because of the picture identification, the cards provide a collateral benefit to beneficiaries without a driver's licence, as they can be used as photo identification for airline travel and other purposes.

The first Enrolment Registry, published in April 1994, listed 1,245 beneficiaries. This number was 2,872 as of March 31, 2004. Keeping the registry up to date will remain a major part of the Enrolment Board's work, as beneficiaries move, marry, have children and die.

6.2 Mackenzie Gas Project

The GTC participated with communities in numerous consultation meetings regarding the proposed natural gas and natural gas liquids pipeline from the Mackenzie Delta south to the Alberta border. The proponents were granted access to Gwich'in land to conduct geotechnical and biological studies needed to finalize their decision to submit the applications for the commencement of the project assessment and approval process. The access granted was subject to a benefits agreement that ensured contracting and employment opportunities in relation to the research work.

Meanwhile, the GTC struck a team of community leaders to begin negotiations with the project proponents for a comprehensive benefits agreement that would apply during the construction, operations and decommissioning phases of the project should it be approved by the regulatory bodies. At its first meeting the team agreed on the following guiding principles.

By the close of the fiscal year, the team had met five times as a caucus and with Imperial. Preliminary lists of terms had been prepared, and the GTC had requested the information it needed from the proponents to participate in the negotiations. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the proponents worked on a joint fund to provide financial resources to the GTC and other land claim groups to participate with experts and legal counsel in the benefits and access negotiations.

6.3 Land Claim Agreement Coalition

Following a land claims implementation conference, November 11-14, 2003, a number of land claims groups formed the Land Claim Agreement Coalition. This conference occurred almost simultaneously with the release of the Auditor General's critical review of INAC's performance in implementing land claim agreements.

The objective of the Coalition is to pursue with the federal government ways to improve its approach to the implementation of land claims. Coalition participants are:

The Coalition agreed on the following priorities.

Over the upcoming reporting period, the Coalition will be working with the federal government to address these priorities and objectives.

6.4 Amendments to the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement

The GTC asked for an amendment to Chapter 11, Schedule 1, item 11 to change the 15-year time period appearing in the first line to 25 years. The reason for the request is that the GTC will not be able to make full use of the provision allowing it to distribute up to $3,541 per participant in 1991 dollars by the time the 15-year period expires. This request has yet to be addressed by INAC.

6.5 Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act

The GTC continued to be an active participant in the implementation of the YESAA. The GTC successfully advocated that all its Yukon land will be administered under one, and not two designated offices as originally planned.

The YESAA provides for First Nations nominees to the board by the CYFN. Prior to making its nominations, the CYFN is required to consult with the GTC. However, for the first slate of board nominees it inadvertently neglected to do so. Although the GTC brought this to the attention of INAC, nothing was done. It appears that the CYFN nominations will be accepted and the board nominees appointed over the GTC's objections. If so, the GTC will maintain its position that the board has not been validly constituted and any decisions could therefore be challenged in administrative law.

6.6 Communications CD-ROM

The Implementation Plan sets out a communication strategy to provide information to, and educate, Gwich'in beneficiaries, the general public and government officials about the Agreement. Further to this strategy, the IC agreed to develop a CD-ROM that will be distributed to schools in the GSA as an educational tool, providing an overview of the Agreement. In 2003-2004 at the IC's request, the GTC made extensive revisions to the text. At year end, INAC had not completed its review of these changes.

6.7 Beaufort-Delta Self-government Negotiations

The Gwich'in and Inuvialuit are negotiating a joint self-government agreement with Canada and the NWT. The Gwich'in and Inuvialuit Self-Government Agreement-in-Principle for the Beaufort-Delta Region (AIP-BD) was signed on April 16, 2003.

Main Table Negotiations

Since signing the AIP-BD, the parties have looked at the subject matters and issues related to the Final Agreement. The negotiators addressed and nearly completed a variety of Final Agreement subject matters, such as:

The following subject matters were only discussed with options being explored and further work assigned.

Working Groups

The chief negotiators directed working groups, which focussed on the following areas.

Beaufort-Delta Self-Government Final Report (2003-2004) - Gathering Strength

Several initiatives started in the past year have advanced the development of a capacity building and training plan and are described in the final report Gathering Strength. These include:

Regional Self-Government Training Committee

The Regional Self-Government Training Committee was formed by various government and Aboriginal stakeholders. The Committee met several times to complete a draft capacity building and training plan that has three major initiatives.


Three governance assessments were carried out during the year. These assessments are designed to evaluate the current governance, management and administration/financial systems to determine what communities may need, now or in the future, to improve their systems of governance.

Planning and Priorities Workshops

Part of the format of planning and priorities workshops will be the introduction of a more phased approach to the implementation of a self-government agreement. For example, under a phased approach, laws would not be passed for a specific period of time; rather, the administration system under territorial or federal legislation would be taken over for this period.

Standard Regional and Community Model

A standard regional and community model was completed and introduced at the March 2004 leadership meeting.

6.8 Resource Management

Chapters 12 and 13 of the Agreement address wildlife harvesting and forestry respectively. The implementation of these chapters falls within the resource management function of the GTC. The following are some of the resource management issues addressed by the GTC.

Northwest Territories Wildlife Act and Species at Risk Act Consultations

The Government of the NWT is revising its Wildlife Act, and drafting the Species at Risk Act in conformance with the federal Species at Risk Act and regulatory regime. Land claims groups in the NWT attended integration meetings led by the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development (RWED) to ensure that applicable land claim provisions are adequately incorporated into the new legislation. The main concern of the land claims groups is to ensure the effective integration of the land claim agreements. Adequate integration of the land claim provisions in this legislation is an obligation. To this end, the groups asked that before going to full public consultation, the Government of the NWT consult first with Aboriginal groups to accomplish integration of the land claims. The groups also asked the territorial government to use a contract drafter who will be present at all Aboriginal groups' consultations to facilitate the drafting process. Finally, the Aboriginal groups wish to identify and incorporate important principles and objectives of the land claims provisions on wildlife management and on the paramountcy of land claims generally. They also want to ensure the roles of the land claim boards and RRCs are explicitly incorporated.

By the end of the fiscal year, the NWT had put the drafting on hold pending other government and political priorities.

Peel River Watershed Planning

Land use planning in the Yukon occurs under the authority of the Umbrella Final Agreement, to which non-Yukon First Nations are not a party. The Umbrella Final Agreement establishes the Land Use Planning Council that guides the initiation of regional land use planning initiatives and their respective land use planning commissions. One regional initiative under consideration is the Peel River Watershed Land Use Plan, which would cover territory in the Gwich'in Primary Use Area and lands owned by the Gwich'in. This proposed planning initiative was announced early in 2002, and later that year the GTC attended an initial meeting in Whitehorse.

The GTC participated in the implementation of the Peel River Watershed Planning Commission and provided input into its general terms of reference, which should be finalized in the coming year.

Eventually, the GTC will participate in the preparation of the Peel River Watershed Land Use Plan. Whether it will be allowed to participate in the final approval of the Plan, as is the case with Yukon First Nations, remains an outstanding issue.

Management of the Porcupine Caribou

In 1998, in response to safety and over-harvesting concerns among some First Nations, the Yukon government implemented regulations governing hunting on the Dempster Highway including the following restrictions:

While some believe the restrictions are necessary for safety and to protect the herd, others believe they infringe on their basic land claim harvesting rights. The Porcupine Caribou Summit was held in March 2003. At the Summit, First Nations participants could not come to a consensus on what, if any, restrictions should be in place. The Gwich'in communicated their position to the Porcupine Caribou Management Board in the fall of 2003. The Board has come to a consensus and advised the Yukon government that the regulations should eventually be repealed in favour of an approach based on education.

Overlap Agreements

Land claims extinguish harvesting rights in other settled areas. This situation can be particularly problematic in adjacent land claim areas, where the beneficiaries of both claims traditionally hunted on both sides of the newly created boundary. Claimant groups must enter into overlap or sharing agreements to re-establish mutual harvesting privileges contractually. In 2003-2004, the GTC worked to establish agreements with the Sahtu, Inuvialuit, Dogrib and Nacho Nyak Dun. Finding historic maps and documenting historic harvesting use led to delays in the completion of these agreements.

Forest Management

Chapter 13 of the Agreement establishes the framework for forest use and management in the GSA. Since 1995, the GTC has worked with the GRRB and the NWT government on the development of a forest management plan. This plan has been consistently stalled due to differences in opinion regarding jurisdiction over the management of forests on private lands. The GTC and NWT plan to visit the communities for consultation on the final draft.

6.9 Gwich'in Land Administration

The administration, management and control of Gwich'in lands is the responsibility of the GTC in accordance with section 18.1.6 of the Agreement. Typical activities on Gwich'in lands involve gravel pits, rock quarries, oil and gas exploration, pipeline development, scientific research, recreational access, military uses, government road construction and maintenance, helicopter landing pads, communications sites, municipal water sources and timber harvesting. To help manage a significant increase in these land access activities, the GTC undertook the following activities during the reporting period.

Land Management and Control Rules

The GTC frequently updates its Land Management and Control Rules, which describe the administration of the rights of access to private lands. The guidelines were updated in 2003-2004 to reflect improvements to land administration procedures and to make them applicable to Gwich'in-owned lands in Yukon.

Pit Management Plans

The GTC worked with various gravel pit users on Gwich'in lands to implement or update pit management plans. It is planning to finalize a pit management plan for the Frog Creek Quarry.

Camp Database

In October 2002, the GTC began an update of its cabin/camp database. Maps were created showing the locations of all cabins/camps in the GSA, whether on Crown or private land. The GTC is working with non-beneficiary cabin owners to obtain residential leases.

Cataloguing of Maps

All maps were catalogued in a database filing system.

6.10 Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute

The GSCI is the language and cultural arm of the GTC. The Institute is responsible for implementing the GTC's obligations under the heritage resources chapters of the Agreement and the Yukon Transboundary Agreement. In addition, it comments on any potential cultural impacts of applications to access Gwich'in land. The following are some of the specific projects and activities in which the GSCI was engaged during 2003-2004.

Traditional Knowledge Policy

The GSCI finalized the Gwich'in Traditional Knowledge Policy for the GTC. It is expected that this policy will be approved by the GTC board in 2004-2005. Once finalized, the policy will apply to all traditional knowledge work conducted in the GSA.

Digitizing Audio Tapes

This was the first year of a multi-year project to digitize audio tapes. At least 120 tapes were converted to CDs, and a database was created to catalogue the material.

Blackstone Uplands (Tombstone) Oral History Project

In July, the GSCI worked in partnership with the Teet_'it Gwich'in, Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation and Yukon Heritage Branch to document graves, traditionally used sites and archeological sites in the Upper Blackstone River area. This project was a continuation of research conducted in 1999 and 2002.

Fort McPherson National Historic Site Project

With the community of Fort McPherson and Parks Canada, the GSCI began work to address the community's request to rewrite the text for the Fort McPherson National Historic Site plaque, so it acknowledges the Tetlit Gwich'in and their contribution to the fur trade. This site was designated a National Historic Site in 1969.

Fort McPherson Ethno-Archaeology Booklet

The GSCI has drafted a small booklet based on surveys, excavations and oral history work carried out in 1999, 2000 and 2002 at the Hudson's Bay Company site in Fort McPherson. The text and photos for the booklet will be finalized in 2004-2005.

Gwich'in Clothing Project

The GSCI prepared exhibits of the replicated 19th century Gwich'in caribou skin outfits for each of the four Gwich'in communities. In March 2004, the GSCI began work with the Canadian Museum of Civilization to develop exhibits about the clothing replication project for the First People's Hall at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife and in the four Gwich'in communities. A publication related to the project will be written for this exhibit. This work will take place over the next one to two years.

Gwich'in Heritage Policy and Management Plan

An anthropology student from the University of Alberta is writing her doctoral thesis on the Gwich'in definition of heritage and Gwich'in ways to preserve and promote an appreciation of their heritage that reflect Gwich'in values and world view. This thesis, which will help guide the GSCI's future work, is based on research the student carried out in Fort McPherson with the assistance of the GSCI translator in 2002-2003.

Gwichya Gwich'in Place Names Project

The 1992 and 1993 Gwichya Gwich'in place names and oral history information stored in reports and transcripts were entered into the GSCI's database in January 2004. This body of work will be part of the data used in the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Traditional Knowledge Project.

Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Traditional Knowledge Project

In November 2003, the GSCI completed negotiations with Imperial to carry out a two-phase project that will use Gwich'in traditional knowledge to develop a Gwich'in knowledge base for planning, assessment of impacts and development of environmental protection plans related to the Mackenzie gas project.

Mackenzie Valley - Canadian Heritage River Nomination

The GSCI assisted Aboriginal groups with the nomination of the Mackenzie River as a Canadian heritage river. This work will be ongoing over the next several years.

Nagwichoonjik National Historic Site Project

On July 11, 2003, the Nagwichoonjik National Historic Site plaque was officially unveiled. A commemorative integrity statement will be developed that sets the foundation for developing a management plan with all parties that have an interest in the site.

Tetlit Gwich'in National Historic Site Project

The GSCI has been working with the community of Fort McPherson, the Tetlit Gwich'in National Historic Site Steering Committee and Parks Canada to nominate two stretches of the Peel River as a site of national historic significance. A submission report has been drafted and letters of support are being sought from all landowners.

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7. Government of the Northwest Territories

The Government of the NWT performed various implementation activities pursuant to the Agreement, the Gwich'in Implementation Plan and related funding agreements.

7.1 Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs

Throughout 2003-2004, the Ministry worked closely with the GTC, federal government and NWT officials, and the various implementing bodies established pursuant to the Agreement. The Ministry co-ordinated the implementation activities of all NWT departments, prepared regular status reports for the IC and prepared the Government of the NWT component of this annual report.

A Ministry official actively participated as the NWT representative on the IC dealing with such issues as:

The Ministry participated with representatives from INAC, the Gwich'in and Sahtu on an economic measures project (see Specific Issues, section 3.2).

In accordance with Chapter 5 and Appendix B of the Agreement, the Ministry participated in the Beaufort-Delta self-government negotiations process.

7.2 Department of Municipal and Community Affairs

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and the GTC concluded the terms and conditions for a lease agreement for ongoing access to the Deep Water Lake freshwater intake facility.

In view of the small dollar amount of resource royalties payable to the GTC from its share of sand and gravel sales by the Government of the NWT, this payment is now being made annually.

7.3 Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development

The Department continued to meet its obligations through ongoing consultation with the GTC, designated Gwich'in organizations and RRCs. The Department worked closely with the GRRB, GLUPB, GLWB, GSCI and Gwich'in Development Corporation (GDC), and promoted, assisted and advised these bodies on wildlife and forest management, resource development and economic development issues.

Education, Training and Career Development

Education, training and career development continued to be departmental priorities. In support of these priorities, the Department provided assistance to various Gwich'in organizations for numerous initiatives, including youth land-based conservation programs and attendance at various business development and oil and gas workshops, conferences and symposiums. The Department provided $20,000 to the GTC to facilitate a negotiation skills workshop in Inuvik, covered the costs of sending a GTC employee to the negotiation skills seminar at the Banff Centre of Management and provided $90,000 toward capacity building in the GTC with respect to increased resource development activity in the region. The Department also supported the internship of a Gwich'in beneficiary in the Inuvik region's forest management division.

Economic Development

The Department continued to work in close co-operation and consultation with the GTC and Gwich'in communities to support and encourage beneficiary involvement in business development and employment opportunities leading to economic self-sufficiency. The Department provided business advice, counselling and support, and assisted Gwich'in businesses and individuals to gain access to financial support from various sources.

The Department acted as the lead for the NWT on the development and implementation of a memorandum of understanding on government contracting within the GSA to support Gwich'in businesses.

Northwest Territories Wildlife Act

The Department continued to work closely with the appropriate Gwich'in organizations on drafting the new Northwest Territories Wildlife Act and species at risk legislation that are consistent with the Agreement.

Park Master Plan

The Gwich'in Territorial Park Master Plan continued to be implemented. The GDC was awarded contracts valued at $221,063 to develop park infrastructure. A $33,299 general maintenance contract was sole sourced to Chii Construction Ltd.

Bluenose Caribou

The eighth year of the caribou satellite tracking program was completed. Maps showing the location and movement of the satellite-collared caribou were provided to the 12 user communities and wildlife IPGs. Movements of the Cape Bathurst and Bluenose-West caribou herds in relation to the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline were documented. Work began on the summarization of distribution and habitat information to assess potential impacts of development activity on barren-ground caribou.

Working co-operatively with Parks Canada Agency, a productivity survey was ongoing during the year to estimate the number of cows on the Cape Bathurst and Bluenose-West calving grounds and to determine the number of calves produced by these herds.

Wildlife Studies

The Department worked co-operatively with the GRRB on the following wildlife studies.

Woodland Caribou

The GRRB and RWED continued a study to obtain baseline information on the distribution and numbers of boreal woodland caribou in the GSA. This project was co-funded by the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Fund, RWED Species at Risk Fund, GRRB, Western Biophysical Study, and RWED, Inuvik Region. Three adult female caribou were equipped with global positioning system satellite collars and four with Argos satellite collars. Approximately 4,500 locations were obtained to assess seasonal patterns of habitat use. These data were used in combination with the satellite image-based vegetation maps produced by Ducks Unlimited Canada to prepare a boreal woodland caribou habitat map. Surveys were also done to document calving rates and survivorship. The vegetation at 125 known use sites was described. Tissue samples were collected from captured and harvested animals to determine genetic relationships with other woodland and barren-ground caribou herds in the NWT and Yukon. A report summarizing the results obtained from this project's second year was prepared and distributed.

Dall's Sheep

Biologists from RWED and the GRRB continued their work to assess the prevalence of parasites in Dall's sheep in the Richardson Mountains. This work was done in co-operation with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. A survey was conducted in late August 2002 to determine the number of sheep and lamb/nursery sheep ratios in the population. Fecal samples were collected to determine the prevalence and intensity of lungworm infections. These results suggest that the number of sheep have continued to decline in some areas of the Richardson Mountains.

Grizzly Bear Harvest

The Department maintained the grizzly bear harvest and problem bear occurrence/kill database for the Inuvik region. It also reviewed the quotas and harvest information for each community hunting area and presented the results in the annual Summary of Harvest Data for Species Under Quota in the Gwich'in Settlement Area report prepared for the GRRB.

7.4 Department of Education, Culture and Employment

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment was responsible for the planning, delivery and management of a broad range of employment, social, educational and cultural programs and services in the GSA.

The Culture, Heritage and Languages Division continued to provide funding and professional support to the GSCI for repatriation projects. Reproductions of garments made by Gwich'in seamstresses with reclaimed traditional knowledge were prepared for display in Gwich'in communities. Technical assistance was provided to the GSCI to reformat, and make accessible, sound recordings in the NWT archives.

The Division also reviewed applications for land use permits and environmental impact assessments to identify possible threats to heritage resources, provided advice on the preservation of heritage resources to a variety of agencies, and maintained and provided access to a database of traditional Aboriginal place names in the GSA.

7.5 Department of Justice

Certificates of title have been issued for all the specific sites and all but one of the municipal lands parcels. With respect to hinterland parcels, Natural Resources Canada has indicated that 26 of 54 surface and/or subsurface parcels have not been surveyed. The Land Titles office may have to register surveys for some or all of these parcels in the future. Fifty-three survey plans have been registered for portions of the boundaries of settlement land parcels and certificates of title have been issued for 53 of the 54 parcels. Title has not been issued for the last parcel due to a boundary overlap with lands owned by the Inuvialuit under the IFA. However, the most recent plan of survey that was registered resolves the boundary overlap issue, and a notice to issue title can now be submitted for the last parcel.

The Legal Division continued to support the implementation of the Agreement by providing legal advice on several issues including access to Gwich'in lands, contracting in the GSA, resource royalty provisions in the Agreement and consistency of the new NWT Wildlife Act with the Agreement. In addition, Legal Division considered amendments to the Agreement related to the implementation of the Tlicho Agreement.

7.6 Department of Public Works and Services

In support of the economic measures provisions in Chapter 10 of the Agreement, and consistent with the NWT government preferential contracting policies and procedures intended to maximize local, regional and northern employment and business opportunities, the following sole source contracts were awarded:

Public Works and Services continued to maintain the following leases:

In the GSA, the Department maintained seven leases with a total value of $655,050 per annum with businesses owned by Gwich'in beneficiaries.

7.7 Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation began the review of a GTC preliminary draft development and reclamation plan for the Frog Creek gravel pit. A response is planned by the summer of 2004.

7.8 Northwest Territories Housing Corporation

In support of the economic measures provisions of Chapter 10 of the Agreement, the following contracts were awarded to Gwich'in businesses:

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8. Government of Canada

8.1 Economic Activity and Employment

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Government economic activities in the GSA are structured to ensure that the traditional economy is maintained and strengthened, and to work toward the economic self-sufficiency of the Gwich'in. The GTC is a signatory to the Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreement (AHRDA). This five-year contribution agreement, signed in April 1999 and extending to 2005, provides funding for labour market training for Aboriginal residents in the GSA. The Agreement also provides funding for child-care initiatives to increase the supply of quality child-care services for children with working or training parents who reside in the GSA.

The AHRDA enables the Gwich'in to design and deliver a full service menu of options by integrating several Aboriginal programs including labour market programming and services, capacity building, an urban Aboriginal component, youth programming, child-care programs and programs for persons with disabilities. Funding in 2003-2004 was $889,647.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has an obligation to support the Gwich'in Agreement and Gwich'in self-government aspirations through its existing programs and the AHRDA, and to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the Gwich'in with respect to their operations or activities under the AHRDA. Officials from HRSDC in the NWT communicate with Gwich'in AHRDA officials frequently to discuss operational issues, clarify and define various clauses of the AHRDA and provide advice on implementing aspects of the funding agreement. A Human Resources Centre of Canada is located in Inuvik, which provides employers and job seekers with information on available programs and services provided by HRSDC and the Human Resources Centre.

Industry Canada

Industry Canada continued to deliver its Aboriginal Business Development Program from Yellowknife, NWT. Aboriginal Business Canada serves the area with a full-time development officer who visits the GSA on a regular basis. The Program, which is available to all Aboriginal individuals and business organizations, has the following strategic priorities: youth entrepreneurship, tourism, innovation, and trade and market expansion. Further information can be obtained from the development officer or from Aboriginal Business Canada's web site.

Public Works and Government Services Canada

The Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) continued to provide opportunities for claimant groups to bid on government contracts by advertising procurement opportunities on the government electronic tendering system and by notifying all claimant groups of the procurement of goods, services and construction destined for the GSA. Whenever PWGSC has a procurement opportunity that impacts one or more of the comprehensive land claim agreements, notification is forwarded to the claimant groups.

Assistance and information on the procurement process was provided as requested during the year, as was information on contracts. Whenever it was practical and consistent with sound procurement principles, PWGSC recommended that bid evaluation criteria be included in solicitations to maximize socio-economic benefits to the claimant groups.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

The following resources were provided to Gwich'in bands and organizations in 2003-2004 to support the traditional economy and encourage employment.

Tetlit Gwich'in Band
Gwichya Gwich'in Band
Aklavik Band
Inuvik Native Band
Gwich'in Development Corporation
Rat River Development Corporation

The GTC received $630,681 in tribal council funding for band governance, financial management and economic development.

8.2 Environmental Assessment and Wildlife Management

Environment Canada

A range of wildlife, fisheries and forestry research and monitoring projects were completed, and progress and final reports were prepared. Gwich'in beneficiaries continued to be an integral element of GRRB operations with several training positions being funded throughout the year. The GRRB participated in a number of departmental workshops and conferences, including two sponsored by Environment Canada. Two years of funding for the SAHS were obtained through the renewal of the Implementation Plan for the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 fiscal years.

The Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) was involved in a number of activities related to the management of wildlife, including representation on the SAHS Working Group. The GRRB is now entering the final reporting stage of the SAHS and CWS has, and will be, providing advice through the Working Group.

The CWS, through its seat on the GRRB, has provided the following services.

Harvest of Migratory Game Birds

The GRRB is aware that migratory birds are managed according to a well defined set of regulations, and is advised by the CWS of any changes that may affect the Gwich'in. The Gwich'in have been regularly consulted over changes to the regulations.

Annual migratory bird harvest statistics are compiled by the CWS and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The setting of a total allowable harvest for migratory birds has not been discussed by the GRRB. However, it is expected that the SANS will provide information from which the GRRB could determine a total allowable harvest.

Management of Migratory Wildlife Species

The CWS communicates with the GRRB on relevant issues discussed by the Arctic Goose Working Group of the Arctic Goose Joint Venture (AGJV). The AGJV is a co-operative Canada-United States body that co-ordinates goose management and research in both countries. The Group deals with the overpopulation of snow geese in the Arctic, especially in the Central Arctic. The Gwich'in harvest snow geese from the Western Arctic population where the problem does not appear to be as severe.

The CWS, through its seats on the various flyway committees, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and other international initiatives, is involved closely in the management of migratory bird species that cross international boundaries. The GRRB was routinely apprised of issues arising from these international initiatives that may affect the Gwich'in.

Through its seat on the GRRB, the CWS participated in the preparation of management plans for the Bluenose caribou herd and the barren-ground grizzly bears, both of which move in and out of the GSA. The CWS is also represented on the Porcupine Caribou Management Board whose activities are directed to the Porcupine caribou, which move between Canada and the United States and are harvested by both NWT and Yukon Gwich'in.

Wildlife Research

The CWS assisted in the GRRB research project to examine the reproductive ecology of lesser scaup and scoter species, and assisted the research student during thesis preparation. The CWS also advised on the final writing of the research by a graduate student on the impacts of hydrocarbon exploration and development on tundra swans. Some of this work was conducted in the GSA.

Species at Risk Legislation

As a signatory to the International Biodiversity Convention and other international conservation initiatives, the Government of Canada is obliged to take steps that ensure the continued viability of all wildlife species within its borders. Consequently, the Government of Canada, through the CWS, developed species at risk legislation which died on the parliamentary order table with the dissolution of Parliament. Environment Canada developed new species at risk legislation which received royal assent in October 2002 and was enacted in June 2003. The GRRB was consulted on the role of IPGs in the implementation of the Species at Risk Act by means of Environment Canada-sponsored workshops in Yellowknife and Whitehorse.

In the last three years, the CWS funded Woodland caribou research in the GSA at approximately $100,000 annually through its Habitat Stewardship Program. Woodland caribou are considered a threatened species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans provided input on fisheries management issues through attendance at GRRB meetings and consultation on legislation and policies. It contributed funding for a GRRB fisheries technician, a SAHS conservation/education calendar and the printing of the GRRB SANS report.

The Department continued to issue commercial fisheries licences. However, a new commercial fishing licensing regime is being considered for the GSA. The RRCs were consulted and involved in fisheries research projects required by the Agreement. Four community workers were hired and four meetings were attended by DFO. The Department funded two RRC members to monitor the fall fishery on the Arctic Red River, in response to DFO and regional RRC concerns with enforcement and wastage/unattended nets.

From a fisheries perspective, the highlight of the fiscal year was the co-operative nature in which DFO and the GRRB worked together on Rat River charr monitoring and assessment, and completion of the Rat River Charr Management Plan.

The Canadian Coast Guard provided the marine communications and traffic services on the Great Slave Lake, Mackenzie River and the Western Arctic waters in the GSA from May to October 2003. Services promote the safety of life at sea, the protection of the environment, and the safe and expeditious movement of marine transportation, by providing a maritime mobile safety radio communications service that covers Canada's Arctic waters and the Mackenzie-Athabasca Waterway system.

With respect to land administration activities of the Coast Guard, a number of sites have been reserved for more than 10 years. Applications to renew these reserves (land sites) in the GSA were pending at year end.

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

The Agency worked with other government departments, First Nations and Inuvialuit to develop frameworks for environmental assessment and regulatory processes for potential project developments in the NWT. In particular, the Agency continued to finalize and implement agreements to harmonize the federal, MVEIRB and Inuvialuit environmental assessment processes for the MGP review (see Specific Issues, section 3.3). Also, the Agency was a signatory to a memorandum of agreement that established the Northern Gas Project Secretariat.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

The NWT Regional Office continued to co-ordinate INAC's technical input to environmental assessments undertaken by the MVEIRB. The department also co-ordinated, on an ongoing basis, the input of applicable federal departments in responding to the MVEIRB determinations on environmental assessments.

National Energy Board

The Board has a specific responsibility under Chapter 23 of the Agreement for the expropriation of settlement lands required for pipeline facilities and electrical transmission rights-of-way that are judged to be in the public convenience and of necessity. The Board has not been required to deal with any activities under this chapter to date.

In 2003, the boards and agencies, including the NEB, with regulatory and environmental assessment responsibilities in the Mackenzie Valley began the implementation of the Cooperation Plan (see Specific Issues, section 3.3).

The NEB also participated in the multi-stakeholder development of the MVEIRB's draft Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment in the Mackenzie Valley. This document was released for discussion and comment in December 2003.

8.3 Heritage Sites and Resources

Parks Canada Agency

The Agreement provides for the active involvement of the Gwich'in in the conservation and management of Gwich'in heritage resources, as traditional culture and history are priorities to the Gwich'in.

The GSCI and Parks Canada worked toward completing the commemorative integrity statement for the Nagwichoonjik National Historic Site during the year. As part of this work, the boundary of the NHS was identified and agreed to by all parties and approved by the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (NHSMBC). A plaque unveiling ceremony for the NHS was held at Tsiigehtchic in July 2003. The ceremony was attended by members of the NHSMBC and by various Gwich'in and government representatives.

A community consultation meeting was held in November 2002 to begin discussion on the proposed Teet_'it Gwich'in National Historic Site. A follow-up meeting was held in February 2003 to discuss the specifics of the proposed site and to gather sufficient information for application and submission reports to the NHSMBC. During 2003-2004, the Tetlit Gwich'in National Historic Site application was completed by the GSCI. Its submission report was close to completion, and still requires the approval from landowners. The preparation of this report was funded through Parks Canada's New Sites Initiative Fund.

Parks Canada Agency worked with the GTC, local bands and the GSCI on heritage projects, including consultation on policy and legislation that would affect Gwich'in interests.

Parks Canada Agency funding for Gwich'in goods and services was $21,848 in 2003-2004, allocated as $7,983 for goods and $13,865 for services.

8.4 Land and Water Management

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Sand and Gravel Resources

The NWT Regional Office provided quarterly reports on the quarry royalties collected in the Mackenzie Valley, which totalled $132,388.

Land and Water Use Process

The North Mackenzie District Office continued to work with the GLWB in recommending terms and conditions on applications for land use permits and water licences, and provided, on an ongoing basis, inspection services to the GLWB to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions attached to these authorities.

Resource Royalty Regime

No changes in the resource royalty regime were considered this year.

Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada completed all surveying activities of municipal parcels as per its obligations under the Agreement. Plans have been recorded in the Canada Land Surveys Records and Land Titles Office where appropriate.

Tetlit Gwich'in

All parcels are fully surveyed, including the boundaries of any exclusions. Eleven rural blocks and 12 site-specific parcels were surveyed and all plans recorded.


All parcels identified as requiring surveys in the Agreement have been surveyed: 24 municipal lands, 31 site-specific parcels and 35 exclusions. Also surveyed are portions of boundaries and intersections of boundaries with water courses. Hinterland parcels in the NWT are mostly unsurveyed.

8.5 Taxation

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency

On December 12, 2003, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency was restructured and the Canada Revenue Agency retained the taxation responsibilities of the former structure. The Canada Revenue Agency's responsibilities under the Agreement include the provision of general information on the taxation implications for the settlement corporations, and the preparation of an information document on this topic. The draft of this information document dealing with settlement corporations and related tax aspects was previously completed and forwarded to the GTC in 2000. As no response was received, it was forwarded to the GTC once again for comment in December 2003.

During the year, the Agency received and responded to some inquiries relating to the Agreement, mainly dealing with the operation of settlement corporations.

8.6 Federal Co-ordination of Implementation Activities

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

The Implementation Branch co-ordinates the fulfilment of federal government responsibilities and obligations pursuant to the Agreement. In 2003-2004, the Branch continued to participate in the IC and to consult with the Government of the NWT and GTC regarding the implementation of the Government of Canada's obligations under the Agreement. The Branch continued to serve as the secretariat to the IC and co-ordinated its three meetings in April, September and December 2003.

The Implementation Branch maintains regular contact with all federal government departments and agencies with respect to their implementation activities, intervening as necessary, and maintaining a comprehensive implementation status report of these activities.

In 2003-2004, the Branch committed a considerable amount of time and effort to the production of a new land claims obligation monitoring system, the Federal Implementation Obligation Monitoring System (FIOMS), to replace the previous Land Claims Obligation System (LCOS). The FIOMS has expanded the scope of reporting that was used in LCOS to provide for more detailed and comprehensive reporting, particularly in the area of financial information.

In addition to consulting the IPGs, the GTC and the Government of the NWT, to assess their funding requirements to year-end, the Branch managed flexible transfer payment funding agreements with these bodies during 2003-2004.

The Implementation Branch also assisted in processing ministerial and order in council appointments of individuals to various IPGs created pursuant to the Agreement. During the fiscal year, appointments were made to the GRRB, GLUPB, MVEIRB and GLWB.

The Branch was involved in the development of a template for the evaluation of government economic development programs as they relate to the economic measures objectives in the Gwich'in and Sahtu agreements (see Specific Issues, section 3.2). The NWT Regional Office hired a contractor to develop the template on the recommendation of an economic measures working group composed of the Gwich'in and Sahtu ICs. The Branch was involved in the review of all reports of the contractor and participated in any meetings regarding the development of the template.

The Branch co-ordinated the preparation of the annual report for 2003-2004.

Implementation Branch also invested considerable effort in responding to, and considering, strategies for implementing the recommendations made in Chapter 8 of the Auditor General's report, tabled in the House of Commons on February 10, 2004, in which the implementation of the Agreement was a focus (see Specific Issues, section 3.6).

8.7 Other Implementation Activities

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Protected Area Strategy

The NWT Protected Area Strategy (PAS) Implementation Advisory Committee met in Fort Providence in April 2003, in Yellowknife in September 2003 and in Fort Smith in February 2004. The Committee consists of representatives from each regional Aboriginal organization, including the GTC, industry, environmental non-government organizations and the federal and territorial governments. The full participation of the GTC in the PAS is supported in the Gwich'in Land Use Plan. A Gwich'in regional workshop was held in Inuvik with representation from the GTC and the RRCs to explore the relationship between the land use plan and the PAS and discuss how areas could be advanced through the PAS. The implementation strategy of the land use plan will outline a process for moving forward with protecting areas under the PAS. The PAS follow-up will complement this work.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada continued to support the PAS Secretariat in partnership with RWED.

Treaty Payments

The NWT Regional Office met with each of the four Gwich'in bands and made the following annual treaty payments: Gwichya Gwich'in Band in Tsiigehtchic on April 15, 2003, Tetlit Gwich'in Band in Fort McPherson on April 15, 2003, Aklavik Band on April 14, 2003 and Inuvik Native Band on April 16, 2003.


Section 5.1.12 of the Agreement requires government to provide the GTC with the opportunity "to participate in any constitutional conference or similar process [emphasis added] for reform of the constitution of the NWT." Devolution of federal land and resource management responsibilities to the NWT will entail an amendment to the NWT Act.

On May 22, 2001, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Premier of the NWT and representatives of the Aboriginal Summit (representing the NWT Aboriginal organizations and including the GTC) endorsed a memorandum of intent in which they agreed to work toward establishing a formal process to negotiate the devolution of federal responsibilities over land and water resources in the NWT. Discussions on a framework agreement began in the fall of 2002 following the announcement of the appointment of chief negotiators for the Aboriginal Summit, and the governments of the NWT and Canada.

The chief negotiators initialled the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Framework Agreement in 2003 and recommended it to their principals. Political leaders for the three parties signed the Framework Agreement on March 18, 2004. The Agreement sets out the scope, subjects and next steps for negotiations. While the Agreement was being considered by the principals, work on various issues toward an agreement in principle continued. Once an agreement is finalized, the parties plan to begin negotiations toward a devolution agreement, which is targeted for completion in 2005 and implementation in 2006.

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Appendix 1

Membership of Implementing Bodies
(as of March 31, 2004)

Arbitration Panel

James Posynick
Karen Snowshoe

Gwich'in Land Use Planning Board

Bob Simpson, Chair
Fanny Greenland
Karen LeGresley Hamre
Ian McLeod
Charlie Snowshoe

Gwichin Land and Water Board

Willard Hagen, Chair
George E. John
Gerald Kisoun
Margaret Nazon
Paul Sullivan

Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board

Robert Charlie, Chair
Elizabeth Hansen


Robert Moshenko

Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board

Todd Burlingame, Chair
Dan Bayha
Percy Hardisty
Gerry Loomis
Gabrielle Mackenzie-Scott
John Ondrack
Bernadette Stewart
Charlie Snowshoe
John Stevenson

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Appendix 2

Map of Gwich'in Settlement Area

Map of Gwich'in Settlement Area Northwest Territories)

Map: Gwich'in Settlement Area (Northwest Territories)

The image illustrates the Gwich'in Settlement Area. More specifically, it portrays the Gwich'in Settlement Region including the Gwich'in Settlement Area, the Primary Use Area, and the Secondary Use Area. It also portrays Gwich'in Lands, including lands with Surface Rights, Subsurface Rights and both Surface and Subsurface Rights. The image also illustrates territorial borders, regional boundaries, the Dempster Highway, water features, community boundaries, special harvest areas and the Gwich'in Territorial Park.

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Appendix 3

Schedule of Capital Transfer Payments 1992-2003

The Government of Canada makes a capital transfer payment to the GTC on each anniversary of the date of the Agreement, in accordance with the schedule of payments set forth in Schedule 1 to Chapter 8. The GTC will receive its final capital transfer payment on the fifteenth anniversary date of the Agreement.

Schedule of Capital Transfer Payments 1992-2003
Date Capital Transfers
($) to the GTC*
April 22,1992 2,000,000
December 23, 1992 7,426,766
April 22, 1993 4,180,680
April 22, 1994 6,271,020
April 22, 1995 7,455,068
April 22, 1996 9,318,835
April 22, 1997 9,318,835
April 22, 1998 9,318,835
April 22, 1999 9,318,835
April 22, 2000 9,318,835
April 21, 2001 9,318,835
April 21, 2002 9,318,835
April 21, 2003 9,318,835
Total 101,884,214

Note:* Net of negotiation loan repayments.

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Appendix 4

Implementation Payments
1992-1993 to 2003-2004

The annual implementation funding amounts provided to the GTC, the Government of the NWT and IPGs created pursuant to the Agreement represent the Government of Canada's total contribution to each body for the purpose of assisting each body to fulfill its obligations pursuant to the Agreement, Implementation Plan and related Act(s) of Parliament. The annual funding levels for the GTC, the Government of the NWT and IPGs are identified in the Implementation Plan.

Implementation Payments 1992-1993 to 2003-2004
Fiscal Year Implementation Payments ($)
1992-1993 559,151
1993-1994 1,070,634
Wildlife Studies Fund 2,030,000
1994-1995 1,833,735
1995-1996 1,886,760
1996-1997 2,987,444
1997-1998 3,174,342
1998-1999 3,197,097
1999-2000 3,310,619
2000-2001 3,501,345
2001-2002 4,050,396
2002-2003 5,119,517
2003-2004 5,241,259
Total 37,962,299
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Appendix 5

Resource Royalties, 1992-2003

Payments with respect to resource royalties received by the Government of Canada are made to the GTC on a quarterly basis, pursuant to Chapter 9 of the Agreement.

Resource Royalties, 1992-2003
Fiscal Year Resource Royalties ($) Paid to GTC
1992 188,060
1993 363,413
1994 197,009
1995 204,345
1996 267,719
1997 244,261
1998 211,264
1999 231,949
2000 343,224
2001 499,505
2002 664,127
2003 1,172,848
Total 4,587,724
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Appendix 6

Gwich'in Property Taxes Reimbursed to the Government of the NWT, 1994-2003

Pursuant to Chapter 22 of the Agreement, the Government of Canada agrees to pay the Government of the NWT any real property taxes levied for 15 years from December 22, 1992 with respect to Gwich'in municipal lands. Specific information on these municipal lands is contained within Chapter 22.

Gwich'in Property Taxes Reimbursed to the Government of the NWT, 1994-2003
Fiscal Year Amount ($)
1994 4,306
1995 4,348
1996 4,571
1997 4,571
1998 4,752
1999 4,734
2000 6,411
2001 6,411
2002 6,334
2003 7,222
Total 53,660
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Appendix 7

Web Site Addresses

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