Archived - Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement - 2003-2004 Annual Report of the Implementation Committee - April 1, 2003 - March 31, 2004

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Catalogue: R231-10/2004
ISBN: 0-662-69043-5

Table of Contents


The Implementation Committee is pleased to provide its 10th annual report on the implementation of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement. The report covers the fiscal year from April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004.

The Implementation Committee consists of a senior official from each of the parties: the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated (SSI), the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Government of Canada. It 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, direct and monitor implementation of the Agreement. This annual report describes achievements and developments during the year. Information is contributed by various federal and territorial departments, the SSI and other bodies established under the Agreement.

We are committed to strengthening the partnerships that are key to the successful implementation of the Agreement. Our achievements to date are the product of partners working together to recognize Aboriginal rights in an atmosphere of mutual respect, and the commitment of the parties to fulfil obligations pursuant to this Agreement.

Original signed by

John Tutcho
Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated

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

In July 1993, the Sahtu Dene and Metis voted to approve the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (the Agreement). After being approved by the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories, the Agreement was signed on September 6, 1993, in Tulita (formerly Fort Norman). The Sahtu Dene and Metis Land Claim Settlement Act came into effect on June 23, 1994.

Under the Agreement, the Sahtu Dene and Metis:

The Agreement also provides for the negotiation of self-government agreements that will be brought into effect through federal and territorial legislation.

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2. Highlights

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3. Specific Issues

3.1 Economic Measures

Chapter 12 of the Agreement requires the governments of Canada and the NWT to meet with the SSI at least once every three years to review the effectiveness of programs relating to Sahtu economic self-sufficiency, and strengthening and maintaining the traditional Sahtu economy.

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

At a follow-up workshop of the Sahtu and Gwich'in Implementation Committee in January 2002 in Yellowknife, members discussed 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 Sahtu and Gwich'in 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 SSI was not able to participate in this conference call. 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 Sahtu and Gwich'in Implementation Committee meetings in April 2004. It will also form the basis for a presentation to the Gwich'in and Sahtu Implementation Committee at the next economic measures review meeting, scheduled for November 2004.

3.2 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 kilometer natural gas pipeline. This line, estimated at a cost of $4 billion to $7 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 government and IPGs on potential methods of cooperation 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 Cooperation Plan in no way prejudges or preapproves any potential project that may be proposed, nor does the approach pre-udge 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 Cooperation 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 the APG issued the Preliminary Information Package for the Mackenzie Gas Project to regulatory agencies in June 2003, indicating the basic components of their project. This document 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 in the Mackenzie Valley 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. The hearings began in March 2004 and will continue into April 2004. The project is expected to then be referred to a joint review panel consisting of representatives from the Inuvialuit, MVEIRB (as representing the regions of the Mackenzie Valley) and Government of Canada. The panel will begin its assessment process following the filing of the EIS expected from the Mackenzie Gas Producers in late summer 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 the 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 Coordination and Consultation Unit, 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.

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4. Implementation Committee

The Implementation Committee consists of three senior officials representing each of the parties involved in the Agreement. In 2003-2004, John Tutcho represented the SSI, Mark Warren, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs represented the GNWT, and Aideen Nabigon, Director, Implementation Management Directorate, INAC represented the Government of Canada.

As provided for in section 29.2 of the Agreement, the responsibilities of the Implementation Committee are to:

The Committee met once during 2003-2004, in January in Edmonton. Its activities included:

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5. Implementing Bodies

The Agreement includes provisions to establish implementing bodies responsible for determining eligibility for enrolment as a beneficiary of the Agreement, managing wildlife resources, planning and regulating land and water use, settling disputes related to the interpretation of the Agreement, and conducting environmental impact assessments and reviews of development proposals. The membership, functions, time frame and method for the establishment of each body are specified in the Agreement and Implementation Plan.

Progress in establishing implementing bodies is outlined below.

5.1 Enrolment

The SSI took over the responsibility of the Agreement's enrolment function on June 18, 1999. The SSI completed the Ancestral Project in December 2003 and now has an extensive geneology database to assist in determining eligibility for enrolment. The Board of Directors appointed seven community representatives to meet twice annually to review and evaluate the eligibility of individuals applying for enrolment as per Chapter 4 of the Agreement.

5.2 Arbitration Panel

In 2003-2004, the Arbitration Panel was not called upon to convene an arbitration proceeding.

It is the intent of the Panel to meet every second year in the SSA. The Panel was not scheduled to travel to the SSA in 2003-2004. To date, the Panel has visited Norman Wells, Deline, Fort Good Hope and Tulita. These meetings provide an opportunity for panel members to familiarize themselves with the land, its people and current issues, so they are better prepared if an arbitration is required.

The Panel has had a vacant position for over three years, pending an announcement of the appointment of an eighth member. The governments of Canada and the NWT await the SSI's approval of the eighth member.

5.3 Sahtu Renewable Resources Board

The SRRB was established as the main instrument of wildlife management in the SSA. The SRRB, and all other affected parties, protect, conserve and manage, in a cooperative spirit, all renewable resources within the SSA in a sustainable manner to meet the needs of the public today and in the future. The SRRB is an IPG, thereby representing beneficiary as well as non-beneficiary and non-Aboriginal populations of the SSA.

The seven-member Board consists of three members and three alternate members nominated by the SSI, three members and three alternate members nominated by the federal and territorial governments, and a chairperson nominated by the members. All appointments are made jointly by Governor in Council and GNWT Executive Council. In June 2003, the SRRB-nominated chair was appointed for a five-year term. As of March 31, 2004, two member positions and four alternate member positions were vacant.

The SRRB continued to implement its objectives and goals as laid out in 1995. The Board and staff continued to develop and expand their close cooperative working relationship with the RRCs, other IPGs, government and private agencies. Throughout the year, SRRB staff met with the RRCs to discuss community research concerns. To raise community awareness of the roles and responsibilities of the SRRB and RRCs, the Board produced a plain-language presentation on resource management in the SSA. The SRRB and representatives of the NWT Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development (RWED) travelled throughout the SSA in March 2004 to present current conservation education and wildlife management, research and monitoring projects in the SSA. The summer student program, initiated by the SRRB and RWED continued to provide an opportunity for a Sahtu beneficiary to participate in wildlife biology research projects. The student helped with many projects including Dall's sheep surveys in the Mackenzie Mountains, small mammal surveys in and around Norman Wells, interpretive work in Tuktut Nogait National Park and necropsies in the Sahtu regional laboratory.

The Regional Renewable Resources Committee (RRRC), composed of representatives of the five community-based RRCs, continued to assist with wildlife management issues common to the five communities. The RRRC met in September 2003 to address concerns with traps, education and training, research allocations and the SAHS. In addition, the RRCs were involved with research projects, managed by the SRRB and outside agencies, in their own communities.

The Great Bear Lake Working Group, formed to establish a special management regime for the lake and its watershed, continued to work on designing a draft management plan. The Working Group convened in Deline during January 2004 to discuss two important sections of the draft management plan: the Cultural and Ecological Research and Monitoring Plan, and policies and prohibitions. In March, the SRRB commissioned the preparation of the report, Great Bear Lake: State of Knowledge of the Terrestrial Environment. The Working Group will continue to discuss additional items for the draft management plan, such as conservation zones, waste site clean-up, information and mapping.

Consultation work continued between the SRRB and government agencies on matters dealing with the implementation of the next 10 years of the Agreement, developing of a new NWT Wildlife Act, federal and territorial species at risk legislation and the NWT Biodiversity Action Plan. As well, wildlife co-management boards across the North were invited to develop a consultation policy with the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The SRRB supported the community of Tulita's initiative to begin the PAS process for the Drum Lake, Raven's Throat and Redstone Rivers, Keele River and headwaters, and Nahanni headwaters areas. The SRRB was involved with the Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for species at risk. As of December 2003, this Program's Northern Working Group had distributed nearly $300,000 to projects implementing stewardship actions.

With increased exploration and development of hydrocarbons in the SSA, including the proposed pipeline route through the Mackenzie Valley, consultations with oil and gas groups and environmental consultants continued throughout the year. Increased research activities are closely reviewed by the Board to prevent duplication of past research and to ensure local resources are used and any information gathered is returned to the communities. The Board is a member of the Mackenzie Valley Biophysical Information and Research Gaps Study Advisory Team that finalized an action plan in December 2003 prioritizing identified gaps related to the preparation, regulation and management of increased hydrocarbon exploration in the Mackenzie Valley. During May 2003, the SRRB was asked to provide harvest information to the MVEIRB for its environmental assessment of Northrock's Summit Creek Program. In March 2004, the MVEIRB requested that the SRRB provide information at its public hearing for the MGP.

Renewable resource research continues to be the main activity of the SRRB. Major areas of involvement are as follows.

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.

Research Projects

Nine research projects, totalling over $200,000 in funding, were carried out in 2003-2004. The majority of projects for which funds were provided involved outside agencies (RWED, DFO and Ducks Unlimited). Studies included research on Woodland and Barren-Ground Caribou, fish and waterfowl. These studies focussed on population size, distribution and migration patterns, reproduction and survival rates, wildlife health, land cover inventories and water chemistry. Research studies for the Mackenzie Mountain Woodland Caribou project, initiated by the SRRB with outside human resources, continued under the supervision of the RWED-Sahtu regional office. Throughout the year, the Board used the satellite information received to produce maps showing caribou movements, which are posted monthly on the SRRB Web site.

Conservation Education

In September 2003, a renewable resource communications officer was hired to provide communications support and assistance between the community RRCs and the SRRB. The officer focussed on the importance of conservation education in community schools and organizations. In addition to the March 2004 community tour with RWED, the officer visited schools throughout the SSA to promote Project WILD, a program based on the premise that young Canadians have a vital interest in learning about their natural world, how their actions affect the sustainability of life and how they can be responsible inhabitants of the Earth.

Future plans include the development of small-scale community-based monitoring projects, the presentation of plain language resource management material and the production of a quarterly newsletter.

Sahtu Settlement Area Harvest Study

This five-year study, designed to record all wildlife harvesting activity by Sahtu beneficiaries and to protect Sahtu Dene and Metis harvesting traditions, also provides background data to help establish a minimum needs level for each species. The study focussed on community-based interviewing and compiling harvesters' data from April 1998 onward into a database. Database software designed to capture non-confidential information from the harvester interviews assists in the financial analysis of data. As of December 31, 2003, the five-year data collection was completed in all communities. In July 2003, the 2000 and 2001 data report was completed and distributed.

The SRRB believes it is essential that data collection continue during pipeline construction and hydrocarbon development to capture information about subsistence harvesting. The information will be a powerful tool for communities and the SRRB, as well as other IPGs, government agencies and industry, for assessment, mitigation and monitoring purposes through all hydrocarbon and pipeline stages. Therefore, as of January 2004, the study will continue for an additional two years in all Sahtu communities.

Geographic Information System

The Sahtu geographic information system (GIS) project, which the SRRB co-funds, was widely used by the SRRB, other IPGs, and public and private agencies, such as oil and gas companies. It has proven to be good investment, particularly as a tool to educate beneficiaries and the public.Work continued on the Sahtu Atlas Project, which will be a hard-covered book displaying information collected and maps produced by the GIS technician.

Wildlife Studies Fund

Interest accrued from the Wildlife Studies Fund was invested with the intent of supporting further wildlife studies within the SSA. The Fund was valued at about $3.19 million at year end. The Fund has grown at a slower rate than hoped and therefore, the Board plans a slightly more aggressive investment approach. The Board continued to withdraw funds to finance its research activities.


The SRRB continued to address its stated goals and objectives as per its implementation plan during 2003-2004. The Board strived to increase communications with and to use resources from the RRCs, IPGs and government agencies. It continued to increase its visibility throughout the SSA by holding public board meetings, involving community members with conservation education and research projects, and using community resources. A focus on conservation education and renewable resource research and management issues will continue to be the main objective of the SRRB.

5.4 Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board

The MVEIRB is mandated by the Sahtu and Gwich'in 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 coordinator, 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 level of activity 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 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 current 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. (Imperial) 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, creation of 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 proposes 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, supported by eight piers in the Mackenzie River. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans referred this project for environmental assessment in January 2004.

The environmental assessment, expected to be completed in the fall of 2004, is considering 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. Hearings in Kakisa and Hay River in February 2004 revealed concerns about air quality, caribou, cumulative effects and economic benefits. 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 km northeast of Yellowknife. This project involves a camp for 350 people, an airstrip, permanent and winter roads, mine-related buildings including a processing 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, and on wildlife, including carnivores and the Bathurst caribou herd, economic impacts on the NWT and communities, social impacts on communities, cumulative effects and other issues.

A week of hearings took place in April 2003 with Aboriginal groups, the developer, and government and non-governmental organizations. In July 2003, the Board produced its report of environmental assessment, which suggested the development be approved, but only with recommended mitigation measures. These measures focussed on water quality, wildlife, completion of a socio-economic agreement and regional cumulative effects monitoring. The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development 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 SLWB for a land use permit and a water licence to construct about 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. This environmental assessment 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 on March 21, 2003 focussing on three issues raised at Tulita. 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 approval of the development provided 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 would identify and pay compensation to those people who traditionally hunted in the area in accordance with the Agreement. The Board's 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

The 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 Wool and Drybones Bay areas was contracted to bring information before the Board. The report on environmental assessment 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

WesternGeco Ltd. proposed to conduct a river seismic survey 1,500 kilometres down the Mackenzie and Liard rivers. The company would use air cannons fired 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 or not 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 cooperatively with, and supervised by, DFO. A report of environmental assessment was submitted on June 30, 2003 and discussions concluded with the NEB on how the parties will proceed with consultations before the Report is accepted by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Diamond Exploration in the Wool and Drybones 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 Wool and Drybones Bay, an area of cultural, spiritual and environmental importance, led 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 near Yellowknife. Unresolved land ownership and the absence of a land use plan increased public concern. These concerns along with the closeness of the proposed projects prompted the Board to contract a cumulative effects study of the Wool and Drybones 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 the Wool Drybones and Bay area to the culture of the Akaitcho and Metis 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 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 pipeline installation development outside Calgary in April 2003. Members visited the Wool and Drybones 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 board meetings were held in conjunction with MVEIRB public hearings. The March board meeting in Deline included a community open house.

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 environment 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 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 to develop the appropriate accountability mechanisms. The Committee will develop job descriptions for the chair, vice-chair, committee chairs, executive director and members. It will also develop 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 workshop provided 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 to incorporate the unique self-government structures created under the Tlicho claim. 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 continue in coming fiscal years.

Draft guidelines on incorporating traditional knowledge in the environmental impact assessment process were finalized and will be released 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 Deline.

5.5 Sahtu Land and Water Board

The SLWB regulates land and water use throughout the SSA. In its fifth year of operation, the SLWB received and processed 10 Type A land use permit applications, one application for a Type A water licence and 21 applications for Type B water licences. There were seven applications where permits were not required, and nine applications for small fuel caches. One final plan was received concerning land use permits and 11 letters of clearance were issued by the Board.

The Board has eight staff positions: executive director, office administrator, financial controller, land/resource geographer, hydrologist, permit/licence clerk, land technician and water technician.

The Board held 11 meetings during 2003-2004, seven by teleconference and the remaining in Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope and Tulita.

The Board participated in the annual career fair for the past two years in Fort Good Hope. This year was the first regional career fair, which gave the Board the opportunity to provide information about the SLWB to four other communities in the Sahtu.

The summer was busy with seven applications for mineral exploration that were determined not to require permits. In the following months, the Board then processed many applications for oil and gas drilling, and geotechnical work that was preparatory for a northern gas pipeline project.

The Board has participated in the work of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Working Group since November 2000 and assisted in the preparation of the Cooperation Plan for the Environmental Impact Assessment and Regulatory Review of a Northern Gas Pipeline Project through the Northwest Territories, the draft Agreement for the Coordination of the Regulatory Review of the Mackenzie Gas Project (draft Regulators Agreement) and in meetings with the Northern Gas Project Secretariat to assist with pipeline preparation and other issues that may affect the SSA.

5.6 Sahtu Land Use Planning Board

Under the MVRMA and the Agreement, the SLUPB is tasked with developing and implementing a land use plan for all lands outside of municipal boundaries in the SSA.

The SLUPB has been:

Sahtu Land Use Plan

The SLUPB received many comprehensive review reports from a variety of agencies on the preliminary draft plan. Comments covered all aspects from general formatting, to legal jurisdiction issues, to some very specific technical recommendations. Sahtu residents provided input when the Board held community and regional review meetings in Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Tulita and Deline. In general, input was very constructive and will assist the Board in completing its first full draft Sahtu land use plan.

On-Site Operational Review

The Board hired an adviser to assist in conducting an operational review of the Board's land use planning process. The review resulted in a detailed project management strategy outlining steps to achieve an approved land use plan.

Capacity Building

The organization again operated with a reduced number of board members during the year. The Board and staff attended a various of conferences, workshops and community presentations on issues related to land use planning including cumulative environmental effects, traditional knowledge, mining, and oil, gas and pipeline development.

Strengthening Partnerships

In response to the Board's priority of working closely with other boards and agencies, the SLUPB participated in the Sahtu GIS project along with the SRRB and RWED.

The SLUPB also reviewed a number of land use permit and water licence applications referred by the SLWB.

Government partners continue to be updated on an ongoing basis. The Board completed the numerous reports required of a public agency, such as budgets, work plans, annual and interim reports, financial audits and employment reports.

Pipeline Preparedness

The Board continued to consult with representatives of oil and gas companies and pipeline groups, listening to their concerns and issues as well as providing information through public forums and small group discussions.

Cumulative Effects Assessment and Management Strategy and Framework

Board representatives participated in the first Cumulative Effects Assessment and Management (CRAM) Strategy and Framework gathering, held in Yellowknife in May 2003, where progress on the implementation of the Blueprint for Implementing the Cumulative Effects Assessment and Management Strategy and Framework in the NWT and Its Regions was discussed.

Next Steps

The SLUPB will continue toward the goal of conserving, using and developing Sahtu lands in a way that protects and promotes the present and future well-being of Sahtu beneficiaries, local residents and all Canadians. Over the next year, it will follow the project management strategy outlined in the operational review to achieve an approved land use plan. Emphasis will be on incorporating the detailed submissions and comments received on the preliminary draft Sahtu land use plan to produce a first draft. The Board will also continue to work closely with the Great Bear Lake Working Group, PAS, and Elder committees in its work to develop an approved land use plan for the SSA.

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6. The Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated

The SSI was formed by the seven Sahtu land corporations (four Dene land corporations and three Metis land corporations) on June 23, 1994, with the enactment of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Land Claims Settlement Act.

The SSI is mandated to:

The SSI also participates in the implementation of the Agreement through the nomination of board members to the implementing bodies and management of the capital payment through the Sahtu Trust. The SSI has a coordinating role in activities involving other designated Sahtu organizations as per Chapter 7 of the Agreement, and ensures that the government, industry and public are aware of the functions of the various implementing bodies, such as land access.

The SSI is the only Sahtu joint Dene and Metis regional Aboriginal organization. It is the point of contact for government agencies and departments on issues including education, health, environment, highways, wildlife, political development, economic development and implementation of the Agreement.

6.1 Board of Directors

The following individuals sit on the SSI Board of Directors:

Edwin Erutse, Chair
Raymond Taniton, Vice-Chair
Anthony Grandjambe
Joseph Kochon
Tony Grandjambe
Winston McNeely
Eddy McPherson, Jr.
Gordon Yakeleya

6.2 Head Office, Staff and General Operations

The SSI's head office is located in the Chief George Kodikin building in the community of Deline. The building also houses the Sahtu Dene Council. The SSI and Sahtu Dene Council staff include:

Larry Hutchison, Executive Director
Brian Davidson, Chief Financial Officer
Danny Yakeleya, Implementation Coordinator
Tracey Orbell, Education and Training Coordinator

Board Activities

The Board held one meeting during the year, in addition to three executive committee meetings. The SSI annual general meeting was held in Norman Wells in November 2003.

The following is a brief list of some of the activities and processes the SSI participated in:

6.3 Sahtu Trust

The Sahtu Trust was created by the seven financial corporations eligible for settlement moneys and royalties under the terms of the Agreement. On September 6 of each year, the federal government makes a payment as per Chapter 8 of the Agreement to the SSI, which is deposited into the Sahtu Trust. Under the direction of the SSI, the trust is evenly managed by two fund managers. Twice each year, the income and interest earned by the trust is paid, less fees, on a per capita basis to the seven financial corporations. As of December 31, 2003, the capital balance in the trust was $85 million, and the net income generated by the trust for the year was $3,559,692.

6.4 Community Renewable Resources Councils

Pursuant to Section 13.9 of the Agreement, five RRCs were created to advise the SRRB and to encourage and promote local community involvement in conservation, research and wildlife management, and harvesting studies.

Under the Agreement, designated community organizations (land corporations) appoint RRCs for each community. Renewal Resources Councils were active in Colville Lake, Deline, Fort Good Hope, Tulita and Norman Wells.

6.5 Land Ownership

The SSI does not own land. Title to all settlement lands outside municipalities is vested to the district land corporations in the three districts of Deline, Tulita and K'ashsho Got'ine, as defined in Chapter 19 of the Agreement. As such, the responsibility for the ownership and management of these lands rests with the three district land corporations on behalf of the land claim participants.

6.6 Special Harvesting Areas

Under Chapter 13 and Volume II of the Agreement, special harvesting areas exist for fish, moose and game birds (ducks and geese). The Department of Fisheries and Oceans maintains that the 28 special harvesting areas for fish are open to all persons with a fishing licence. The SSI disagrees. Based on a decision by the Board of Directors, the SSI will seek arbitration to clarify the interpretation of this significant decision. The SSI also disagrees with RWED's interpretation of the Chapter that the special harvesting areas for moose are open to all hunters with a general hunting licence.

6.7 Amendment to the NWT Wildlife Act Regulations

During the year, the SSI participated in a legal and technical review of the proposed changes to NWT Wildlife Act regulations and the proposed species at risk legislation. Input was obtained from the RRCs and communities, and consolidated by RWED into a territorial report, which was then submitted to the Minister of RWED. The process is ongoing and draft legislation is expected by early 2005.

6.8 Aboriginal Summit

In the mid-1990s, the Aboriginal Summit organized to be involved in constitutional discussions and economic development issues. Later, the Summit became part of the Western Coalition, bringing an Aboriginal perspective to the division of the NWT.

When the IGF was created in 2001, the Aboriginal Summit became the vehicle for Aboriginal participation in devolution and other IGF initiatives, on a government-to-government-to-government basis with the NWT and Canada.

The Aboriginal Summit represents the coming together of the majority of regional Aboriginal government leaders across the NWT to work collaboratively on devolution negotiations and other common territory-wide issues where expressing members' views and solutions with one voice is important.

It is not a political body; rather, it is a forum for discussion on topics that affect all Aboriginal governments, and an instrument to make collective gains at the devolution table to benefit individual Aboriginal governments across the territory.

The Aboriginal Summit consists of:

The Deh Cho First Nations and the Dene Nation also participate as observers and are kept informed of activities.

Devolution Update

In January 2004, the Aboriginal governments and GNWT signed a road map for future negotiations, the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Framework Agreement. The Summit, with the GNWT, also signed a memorandum of intent (MOI) on financing Aboriginal governments and forwarded it to the Government of Canada. The Summit then asked for a pause to recruit a chief negotiator and develop a new mandate. It is anticipated that negotiations toward an agreement-in-principle (AIP) will begin again in May 2004 and will be ongoing.

6.9 Deline Self Government Negotiations

The Agreement provides for the negotiation of self-government agreements to be effected through federal and GNWT legislation. Provisions relevant to self-government are contained in Chapter 5 and Appendix B of the Agreement. The Deline Land Corporation is negotiating a self-government agreement pursuant to Appendix B of the Agreement and the federal government's inherent right policy. Deline completed and initialled an AIP on June 16, 2003 and will continue to work on ratification of a final agreement.

At the end of 2003-2004, the Deline First Nation Self-Government AIP included the following completed sections:

The social envelope and health issues, as well as minor reviews of completed subject areas, will be negotiated between April and June 2004.

To assist with preparations for the completion of the AIP and the eventual final self-government agreement, a joint financial implementation working group was created to develop the implementation plan, transitional plan and financial principles.

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7. Government of the Northwest Territories

The GNWT agreed to perform various implementation activities pursuant to the Implementation Plan and related funding agreements as described below.

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.

The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs worked closely with the SSI, federal and other GNWT officials, and the various IPGs established by the Agreement. It coordinated GNWT implementation activities, including liaising with the SSI and IPGs, and federal and other GNWT officials, preparing status reports for the Implementation Committee, and preparing the GNWT component of this annual report. A ministry official actively participated as the GNWT representative on the Implementation Committee dealing with issues such as:

The Ministry participated in the renewal process of the Sahtu Implementation Plan. Meetings with SSI and INAC representatives were held to discuss planning assumptions and financial issues related to the plan. The target date for the completion of a renewed plan remained June 2004.

The Ministry participated with INAC, Gwichin and Sahtu representatives on an economic measures project (see Specific Issues, section 3.1).

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

7.2 Municipal and Community Affairs

In view of the small dollar amount of resource royalties payable to the SSI from their share of sand and gravel sales by the GNWT, this payment is now made annually.

7.3 Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development

The Department continued to meet its obligations through ongoing consultation with the Sahtu-designated organizations. It works closely with these organizations along with the SRRB, SLUPB, and SLWB. Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development promotes, assists and advises these bodies on wildlife management, forest management, resource development and economic development issues.

Economic Development

The Department worked in close cooperation and consultation with Sahtu organizations to support and encourage involvement in business development, training and employment opportunities leading to economic self-sufficiency. It provided business advice, counselling and support. Assistance was provided to Sahtu businesses and individuals to access financial support from various sources.

Territorial Park

The lands for Canol Historic Park have been reserved by INAC. The Park Committee, with members from the Tulita Land Corporation, Fort Norman Metis Land Corporation and Ernie McDonald Land Corporation, have completed the draft park plan. Consultations on the draft plan were conducted in all Sahtu communities. The Park Committee submitted the draft plan to the Minister of RWED in 2003 for his consideration. If approved, consultations in the SSA will occur.

Forest Management

The economic viability of sustainable resources within the SSA was supported by RWED during the year. It continued its work in the areas of forest fire prevention, detection, monitoring and fire suppression action through various training opportunities. All forest fire crews were contacted through community organizations.

NWT Wildlife Act

Consultations continued with various Sahtu organizations on changing the NWT Wildlife Act and developing species at risk legislation, with a focus on the integration of provisions from the Agreement.

Research and Management Projects

The Department continued to work closely with the SRRB and SLUPB on several joint research and management projects, including the ongoing Sahtu Atlas Project and the GIS mapping project.

7.4 Education, Culture and Employment

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is responsible for planning, delivering, and managing a broad range of employment, social, educational, and cultural programs and services in the SSA.

The Culture, Heritage and Languages Division continued a multi-year project to preserve and provide public access to the Bern Will Brown photo and film collection, which documents the historical development of the Sahtu. Digitization and cataloguing of the still images in the collection were completed. A travelling exhibit featuring some of the photographs was prepared for circulation to Sahtu communities, and a larger virtual exhibit was prepared for the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre's Web site.

The Culture, Heritage and Languages 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 SSA.

7.5 Justice

Survey plans have been registered for all municipal parcels, and certificates of title have been issued for 123 of the 128 municipal parcels. Thirty-seven survey plans have been registered for specific sites and, pursuant to requests, 37 certificates of tide have been issued (all specific sites). One hundred and twenty-seven survey plans have been registered for portions of the boundaries of the settlement land parcels and, pursuant to requests, 91 certificates of tide have been issued for settlement land parcels out of a total of 221 parcels.

The Legal Division continued to support the implementation of the Agreement by providing legal advice as required by the departments. Advice was rendered on general implementation issues as well as more specific matters affecting Sahtu-owned lands such as access, the removal of specified substances, and the construction, operation and maintenance of winter roads. The proposed resource royalty amendment was reviewed and advice was given on the 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 Transportation

As provided under section 19.1.5 of the Agreement, a land exchange was concluded with the Tulita District Land Corporation to construct the bridge at Canyon Creek. To clarify both the exchange process and status of exchanged lands, it was agreed that an amendment to the Agreement would be developed. The GNWT will continue to pursue a clarifying amendment to the Agreement. As land exchanges provide the most certainty for land management and are provided for under the Agreement, the Department of Transportation will continue to exchange lands for future bridge construction.

7.7 Public Works and Services

In support of the economic measures provisions in Chapter 12 of the Agreement, and consistent with the GNWT preferential contracting policies and procedures intended to maximize local, regional and northern employment and business opportunities, Public Works and Services awarded $163,854 to the Fort Good Hope Cooperative Limited for the sale, dispensing and delivery of fuel supplies.

Public Works and Services continued to maintain the following leases in the SSA with businesses owned by Sahtu Dene and Metis beneficiaries:

7.8 Northwest Territories Housing Corporation

In accordance with Chapter 12 of the Agreement and the GNWT's preferential contracting policies and procedures, the following contracts were awarded through the tendering process to Sahtu companies:

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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 SSA are structured to ensure that the traditional economy is maintained and strengthened, and to work toward the economic self-sufficiency of the Sahtu. Pursuant to Chapter 12 of the Agreement, specifically 12.1.2 (c) and (d) dealing with training and employment opportunities for beneficiaries, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has an obligation to support the Agreement and Sahtu self-government aspirations. The Department fulfils this obligation through its existing programs and the Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreement (AHRDA), and maintains an ongoing dialogue with the Sahtu with respect to their operations or activities under the AHRDA. Departmental officials in the NWT communicate with Sahtu AHRDA officials frequently to discuss operational issues, clarify and define various clauses of the AHRDA and provide advice on implementing aspects of this agreement. A Human Resources Centre of Canada in Inuvik provides employers and job seekers with information on available programs and services provided by HRSDC and the Human Resources Centre.

The SSI is a signatory to the AHRDA. This five-year contribution agreement, signed in April 1999 and extending to 2005, provides funding for labour market training for Aboriginal residents of the SSA. 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 SSA.

The AHRDA enables the Sahtu to design and deliver numerous services 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 for the AHRDA in 2003-2004 was $852,407.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

The Department provides resources to Sahtu bands and the SSI to support the traditional economy and encourage employment. In 2003-2004, the following allocations were issued.

Behdzi Adha First Nation
Deline Band
Tulita Deline Band
Tulita District Land Corporation
Tulita Land and Financial Corporation
Fort Good Hope Band
Sahtu Dene Council

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 SSA on a regular basis. The Program available to all Aboriginal individuals and business organizations, promotes youth entrepreneurship, tourism, innovation, and trade and market expansion.

Public Works and Government Services Canada

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) continued to provide opportunities to bid on government contracts by advertising procurement requests on the government electronic tendering system and notifying all claimant groups of the procurement of goods, services and construction destined for the SSA. The Agreement requires that whenever PWGSC has a procurement opportunity that affects 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 well as information on contracts. Whenever it was practical and consistent with sound procurement principles, PWGSC recommended that bid evaluation criteria be included in bid solicitations to maximize socio-economic benefits to the claimant group.

8.2 Environmental and Wildlife Management

Canadian Wildlife Service

In terms of renewable resource management and the operation of the SRRB, 2003-2004 was another successful year for the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). A range of wildlife/fisheries/forestry research and monitoring projects were completed and progress and final reports prepared. Sahtu beneficiaries continued to be an integral element of SRRB operations with several trainee positions funded either through the year or in the summer months. The SRRB participated in a number of workshops and conferences, including two sponsored by Environment Canada dealing with species at risk.

Settlement Area Harvest Study

The CWS has a seat on the Harvest Study Working Group, and has contributed to the design and ongoing implementation of the SAHS.

Harvest of Migratory Game Birds

Through its seat on the SRRB, the CWS advises the Board of all changes to migratory bird regulations that might have an impact on the Sahtu Dene and Metis. Migratory birds are managed according to a well defined set of instructions. The Sahtu have been regularly consulted over changes to the Migratory Bird Regulations, such as the use of non-toxic bird shot and the proposed spring hunting season.

The CWS also provides the SRRB with annual migratory bird harvest statistics as compiled by the CWS and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Setting a total allowable harvest for migratory birds has not been discussed by the SRRB. The SANS will provide information from which the SRRB could determine a total allowable harvest.

Management of Migratory Wildlife Species

The CWS, through its seat on the SRRB, has been involved in the preparation of management plans for the Bluenose caribou herd and Barren-ground grizzly bears, both of which move in and out of the SSA.

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 SRRB is routinely apprised of issues arising from these international initiatives that may affect the Sahtu Dene and Metis.

The CWS sits on the Arctic Goose Working Group of the Arctic Goose Joint Venture (AGJV). This group deals with the overpopulation of snow geese in the Arctic, especially in the Central Arctic. Sahtu Dene and Metis harvest snow geese from the Western Arctic population where the problem does not appear to be as severe. The SRRB was kept informed about this issue. The AGJV is a cooperative Canada-United States body that coordinates goose management and research in both countries.

Wildlife Research

The CWS cooperated with Ducks Unlimited Canada in wetland bird surveys, with an emphasis on shorebirds.

Protected Area Strategy

In late March 2004, Fort Good Hope requested that the CWS be the sponsoring agency to advance Tsodehniline and Tuyat'ah (Ramparts River and Wetlands) as a candidate protected area under the PAS. As a sponsoring agency, CWS will offer its legislation (Canada Wildlife Act and Wildlife Area Regulations) as a means for protecting this area and will work toward that goal, in partnership with the community, through the steps outlined in the PAS.

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 received royal assent in October 2002 and was enacted in June 2003. During the year, the SRRB was consulted on the role of IPGs in the implementation of this legislation by means of Environment Canada-sponsored workshops in Yellowknife and Whitehorse.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Fisheries and Oceans continued to support the work of the SRRB in its mandate of wildlife management in the SSA and its work in implementing the fifth year of the SAHS. The Department sponsored and funded the following projects in the SSA:

The SAHS was completed during the year and will provide the background data necessary to help establish a minimum needs level for each species harvested/utilized. From a fisheries perspective, the highlights for 2003-2004 were the provision of support by the SRRB to the Great Bear Lake fisheries assessment in Deline and the Great Bear Lake Management Plan. Total implementation funding received by DFO in 2003-2004 was $75,800.

The Canadian Coast Guard provided marine communications and traffic services on the Great Slave Lake, Mackenzie River and the Western Arctic waters in the SSA 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 the land administration activities of the Coast Guard, applications for reserves for a number of sites have been submitted to the Sahtu Dene Council and were pending at year end.

National Energy Board

The NEB has a specific responsibility under Chapter 24 of the Agreement for the expropriation of settlement lands required for pipeline facilities and electrical transmission rights-of-way judged to be in the public convenience and necessity. The NEB has not been required to deal with any activities under this chapter to date.

In 2003, the boards and agencies with regulatory and environmental assessment responsibilities in the Mackenzie Valley, including the NEB, began implementation of the Cooperation Plan (see Specific Issues, section 3.2).

The NEB also participated in the multi-stakeholder development of the MVEIRB's Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines. These guidelines were released for discussion and comment in December 2003.

8.3 Heritage

Parks Canada Agency

Chapter 17 of the Agreement specifies the production of public information material with respect to protected areas and heritage resources, facilities and projects that give appropriate recognition to the culture and history of the Sahtu Dene and Metis.

Cultural information was compiled about the Sahyoue/Edacho National Historic Site and presented during a community consultation workshop in 2001-2002. Further research and analysis of cultural information (based on community input) was presented to the community of Deline in February 2003. Oral history tapes recorded in 1996 were transcribed into North Slavey and English. The draft final report on cultural information was completed in 2003-2004.

The place names and archeological sites map from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada agenda paper was updated. This update and the draft final report on cultural information were presented at the community consultation workshop in Deline in March 2004. The cultural information report and results of the ecological and economic evaluations will be distributed in the format of plain language summaries, and will be formally presented to the community in 2004-2005.

A management options paper was developed during the year, which provides recommendations on the protected area designation, establishment and management. This paper will be reviewed and presented to the community in 2004-2005.

In respect of the Agreement's provisions on preferential hiring of Sahtu beneficiaries, research and consultation requirements and opportunities were provided to the Sahtu Dene and Metis during the year. A contribution agreement between the Deline Land Corporation and INAC outlines the role of the community coordinator and consultation requirements of the PAS.

8.4 Land and Water Management

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada


The NWT Regional Office continued to coordinate INAC's technical input to environmental assessments undertaken by the MVEIRB. Indian and Northern Affairs also coordinated, on an ongoing basis, the input of all responsible federal departments in responding to the MVEIRB's determinations on environmental assessments.

Cumulative Impact Monitoring

The CIMPWG conducted six meetings, in person and via teleconference, to further design the Program. By September 2003, the CIMPWG developed a revised five-year draft strategic plan and work program which incorporated input from community consultations. Although Sahtu representatives did not participate in any CIMPWG meetings until October 2003, the SSI continued to receive copies of all materials. Following a June 2003 meeting of representatives from the SSI, Sahtu IPGs and RRCs, and territorial and federal agencies, the Sahtu played a more active role in the development of the CIMP and audit. Indian and Northern Affairs provided assistance to the SSI to facilitate this participation.

The CIMPWG also worked extensively to develop the terms of reference for the NWT-wide environmental audit, required by the Sahtu, Gwich'in and Tlicho land claim agreements and Part 6 of the MVRMA. The CIMPWG collectively 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 Sahtu and 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 subcommittee of the CIMPWG. It will select the auditor and provide assistance during the audit.

As a communications tool, the CIMP Web site was launched in early November 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 were:

The CEAM Steering Committee continued its strong support for 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.

Hazardous Wastes

During the year, a significant amount of effort was spent on assessing the impact of Port Radium on people and the environment.

The Canada-Deline Uranium Table received permission from the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to extend work under its action plan's original budget by an additional year. The Deline Dene Band received $1,010,000 to address human health and environmental issues, and fund related projects under the Port Radium Action Plan for 2003-2004. Projects completed during 2003-2004 include land use mapping and oral history analysis; traditional foods sampling for contaminants; community healing activities; dose reconstruction; a fact finding report; and various communications initiatives within the community of Define. The results from all projects carried out under the Action Plan will be rolled into the final report to the principals, which will be completed by March 2005. The Canada-Deline Uranium Table will answer the community of Deline's questions about the human health and environmental impacts of the mine in the final report, and outline recommendations for further action, including a remediation option for the site. Once a remediation option is selected, Port Radium will be cleaned up through INAC's Contaminated Sites Program.

Sand and Gravel Resources

The NWT Regional Office provided quarterly reports on the quarry royalties collected in the Mackenzie Valley for a total of $132,388.

Land Use Planning

The NWT Regional Office, on behalf of INAC, completed a comprehensive inclusion of comments on the preliminary draft Sahtu land use plan for the SLUPB on June 30, 2003. In February and March 2004, a consultant hired by the SLUPB conducted an on-site operational review as part of an all-party strategic effort to bring the development of the land use plan quickly back on track.

The SLUPB approved a plan for continued work by the consultant, and the formation of a technical working group to meet the deadline for the development of the land use plan. This working group will support the consultant's work in generating land use options, ideas and recommendations for future consideration by the Board.

Other activities of the NWT Regional Office included the following:

Land and Water Use

The North Mackenzie District Office continued to work with the SLWB in a number of areas, including the recommendation of terms and conditions on applications for land use permits and water licences, and the provision of inspection services for the Board to ensure compliance with terms and conditions. On an ongoing basis, INAC Land Administration compiled and submitted monthly reports to the SLWB on any activity in the SSA that was recorded in the Land Information Management System.

Natural Resources Canada

Land Surveys

Natural Resources Canada is responsible for surveying the Sahtu lands (as per project 19.5 of the IP) and for the preparation of plans and delivery of such to the Register of Land Titles.

The following surveys were completed between 1994 and March 31, 2004:

Regarding the above surveys, the hinterland parcels have only been surveyed to isolated boundary specifications. Many survey plans were still in progress during the year, and have not been submitted to the Land Titles Office. At year end, one parcel was awaiting acceptance, pending an amendment to the Agreement.

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

The Agency continued to work 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, Inuvialuit and MVEIRB environmental assessment processes for the MGP review (see Specific Issues, section 3.2). Also, the Agency was a signatory to a memorandum of agreement that established the Northern Gas Project Secretariat.

8.5 Taxation

Canada 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 SSI in 2000. Comments have yet to be received.

8.6 Other Implementation Activities

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Protected Area Strategy

The NWT PAS Implementation Advisory Committee met in Fort Providence in April 2003, in Yellowknife in September 2003 and in Fort Smith in February 2004. The SSI has assigned a temporary representative to this Committee.

Deline is advancing the Sahyoue/Edacho area through the PAS. The Sahyoue/Edacho Working Group includes members from the Deline Land Corporation, Deline RRC, Parks Canada, RWED and INAC. Cultural (draft), non-renewable (phase II draft) and ecological resource assessments have been completed for this candidate protected area. Several working group meetings were held throughout the year, and community consultations to review the findings of the assessments took place in March 2004.

The Yamoga Land Corporation, working in partnership with various Fort Good Hope organizations, submitted a proposal to the PAS Secretariat to further advance Tsodehniline and Tuyat'ah (Ramparts River and Wetlands). A community coordinator was hired and a community workshop was held. A resolution was passed at the workshop, which confirmed the need to protect Tsodehniline and Tuyat'ah, delineated interim boundaries and requested that the CWS act as the sponsoring agency.

Tulita is advancing several areas of interest through the PAS. A community coordinator was hired to distribute information, update Tulita organizations and seek regional support for this initiative. Two community workshops were held and two resolutions were passed. The first confirmed the intention to protect the South Nahanni River headwaters and requested that Parks Canada be the sponsoring agency. The second resolution requested that a workshop be held to finalize boundaries for other areas of interest.

Treaty Payments

The NWT Regional Office held annual treaty payment meetings in Fort Good Hope on May 28, 2003, Behdzi Ahda' First Nation and Deline on May 29, 2003, and Tulita on May 30, 2003.


Section 5.1.12 of the Agreement requires government to provide the Sahtu Tribal Council with the opportunity "to participate in any constitutional conference or similar process for reform of the constitution of the NWT." Devolution of 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 leaders of the NWT regional organizations (known collectively as the Aboriginal Summit and including the SSI) endorsed a MOI 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, the GNWT and federal government.

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 early in 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 AIP continued. Once an AIP is finalized, the parties plan to begin negotiations toward a devolution agreement, which is currently targeted for completion in 2005 and for implementation in 2006.

8.7 Federal Coordination of Implementation Activities

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

The Implementation Branch of INAC is responsible for monitoring the fulfilment of federal government obligations contained in the Agreement. The Branch has a representative that sits as the Government of Canada's member on the tripartite Implementation Committee and consults with the SSI and GNWT on issues arising from the implementation of federal responsibilities under the Agreement.

The Implementation Branch is also responsible for providing funding to the SSI, GNWT and various boards created under the Agreement. This responsibility includes the management of seven flexible transfer payment agreements used to flow funds to these bodies. An additional funding request from the SLUPB was received by the Branch and addressed through the Implementation Committee. This review resulted in an increase to the Board's funding level for 2003-2004.

In partnership with the NWT Regional Office, the Branch is responsible for overseeing the ministerial and order-in-council appointments to the boards. During the year, two chair appointments were made, one to each of the SLUPB and SRRB. The Implementation Branch continues to wait for a letter of support from the SSI regarding the appointment of an eighth member to the Sahtu Arbitration Panel.

In collaboration with the NWT Regional Office, GNWT and Gwich'in Tribal Council, the Branch continued its work with the contractor hired to develop a framework and template as it relates to the economic measures chapters in the Sahtu and Gwich'in agreements (see Specific Issues, section 3.1).

The Branch, through the Implementation Committee, was successful in seeking the SSI's participation in the renewal of the Implementation Plan funding levels for the next 10-year period. In February 2004, a federal negotiator was named to begin discussions on the renewal process. The first meeting of the negotiators was held on March 23, 2004 in Yellowknife, to discuss the scope of the exercise, time frames and process. The goal of the negotiators is to ensure that the renewal of the Implementation Plan is completed prior to June 23, 2004, when funding levels for the SSI, GNWT and implementation bodies expire.

In conjunction with the Implementation Branch, the NWT Regional Office continued its work on the proposed amended wording to Chapter 19 of the Agreement to allow for land exchanges between government and the Sahtu.

In 2003-2004, funding was provided to the following implementing bodies:

Funding by organization in 2003-2004
Organization Amount $
Implementation Funding* 244,234
RRCs 205,214
GNWT 288,101
Core Funding 658,502
SAHS 17,755
Arbitration Panel 7,500
SLUPB 359,481
SLWB 873,663
MVEIRB 2,495,031

Note: This includes a contribution from the GNWT to assist the SSI in the renewal process.

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Appendix A1

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

Arbitration Panel

Robert A. Kasting, Chair
Deborah Hanly, Vice-Chair
Nigel Bankes
Larry Chartrand
James H. Davis
Francis Price

Sahtu Renewable Resources Board

Walter Bayha, Chair
Paul Latour
Russell Hall
Leonard Kenny
Ronald Pierrot
Celina Stroeder


Keith Hickling
Norman Simmons
Fred Taptuna

Sahtu Land and Water Board

Larry Wallace, Chair
George Barnaby
Walter Bayha
Violet Doolittle
Todd McCauley

Sahtu Land Use Planning Board

Raymond Taniton, Chair
Clarence Campbell
Edward Reeves

Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board

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

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Appendix A2

Web Site Addresses

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Appendix A3

Map of Sahtu Settlement Area

Map of Sahtu Settlement Area

Map: Sahtu Settlement Area (Northwest Territories)

The image illustrates the Sahtu Settlement Area. More specifically, it portrays the Sahtu Settlement Area including Sahtu Lands. The image also illustrates territorial borders, regional boundaries, the Mackenzie River, Great Bear Lake, water features, and communities.

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Appendix A4

Schedule of Capital Transfer Payments 1994 to 2003

Schedule of Capital Transfer Payments 1994 to 2003
Date Schedule of Payments ($) Loan Repayment ($) Total Paid to the SSI ($)
June 23, 1994 9,000,000 0 9,000,000
September 6, 1994 3,853,940 (533,903) 3,320,037
September 6, 1995 5,780,911 (800,854) 4,980,057
September 6, 1996 7,707,881 (1,067,805) 6,640,076
September 6, 1997 9,634,851 (1,334,757) 8,300,094
September 6, 1998 9,634,851 (1,334,757) 8,300,094
September 6, 1999 9,634,851 (1,334,757) 8,300,094
September 6, 2000 9,634,851 (1,334,757) 8,300,094
September 6, 2001 9,634,851 (1,334,757) 8,300,094
September 6, 2002 9,634,851 (1,334,757) 8,300,094
September 6, 2003 9,634,851 (1,334,757) 8,300,094
Total 93,786,689 (11,745,861) 82,040,828
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Appendix A5

Implementation Payments
1994-1995 to 2003-2004

Implementation Payments, 1994-1995 to 2003-2004
Fiscal Year Implementation Payments ($)
1994-1995 688,458
1995-1996 1,205,791
1996-1997 1,622,443
1997-1998 1,970,533
1998-1999 2,869,978
1999-2000 3,168,335
2000-2001 3,660,641
2001-2002 5,062,399
2002-2003 4,787,102
2003-2004 5,149,481
Total 30,185,161

Note: These amounts include payments to the SSI, GNWT and the implementing bodies, (including MVEIRB beginning in 2001-2002).

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Appendix A6

Payments under Section 10.1 with Respect to Resource Royalties Paid to Government 1993 to 2004

Resource Royalties Paid to Government 1993 to 2004
Fiscal Year Resource Royalties Paid to SSI $
1993-1994 123,697
1994-1995 194,819
1995-1996 204,357
1996-1997 278,782
1997-1998 244,261
1998-1999 211,263
1999-2000 231,949
2000-2001 343,224
2001-2002 499,505
2002-2003* 664,127
2003-2004** 1,175,380
Total 4,171.364

*As a result of an out of court settlement with the SS1 on May 17, 2002, an additional $8,738,354 was paid to the SSI.
** This amount includes adjustments made during the year.

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Appendix A7

Property Taxes Reimbursed to GNWT 1994 to 2004

Property Taxes Reimbursed to GNWT 1994 to 2004
Fiscal Year Property Taxes Reimbursed to GNWT $
1994-1995 and 1995-1996 (two years paid in one) 8,666
1996-1997 9,739
1997-1998 9,544
1998-1999 9,562
1999-2000 9,623
2000-2001 18,945
2001-2002 16,509
2002-2003 16,362
2003-2004 15,414
Total 114,364
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