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The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) currently makes decisions on behalf of its residents similar to a provincial government, with the exception of the administration and management of public lands, water resources, and mineral resources and on-shore oil and gas management. These decisions currently rest with the federal government.

On December 3, 2013, the federal government tabled Bill C-15, “The Northwest Territories Devolution Act”, which seeks to devolve the responsibilities outlined above from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories by the targeted effective date of April 1, 2014.

Understanding Devolution is important for Edmonton businesses because of the high potential  for growth in the NWT economy, in which our city plays a vital role. New business opportunities will come out of this process, and if we strengthen our partnerships with the businesses, communities and people of the territory now, we will be well placed to continue to grow with them in the future.

We are expecting to see growth in the oil & gas rich Sahtu region, new mines coming online throughout the territory, and a significant increase in the number of government construction RFPs, to name a few. Decisions made by our friends and partners in Yellowknife will be faster, and arguably more effective, than those made over 3000 kilometers away in the nation’s capital.

These predictions are based on past experience.

On April 1, 2003, Yukon became the first territory to take over these land and resource management responsibilities. Since 2003, Yukon has experienced steady prosperity, with nine consecutive years of real GDP growth, exceeding the national rate in eight of those nine years. Private-sector contributions to their economy have also grown. In the mining sector, three mines have gone into production in the past five years; six more are in permitting and 10 in advanced exploration and feasibility stages.

Keep an eye to this site for more information on devolution, or better yet – contact Adam or Ken on the Northern Initiatives team for a one-on-one briefing.

But, in the immortal words of LeVar Burton, don’t just take our word for it! Check out these two links:



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