About Environment and Climate Change


The Department of Environment and Climate Change is responsible for ensuring the land, water, wildlife, and environment in the NWT are well-managed and sustainably used, and it is the territorial lead for climate action.  This includes promoting, planning and supporting the wise and sustainable use of land and natural resources, and protecting, restoring and stewarding the environment in a balanced manner for the social and economic benefit of all NWT residents.

We share this responsibility with Indigenous and community governments, federal and territorial departments, boards, and agencies, and every resident of the NWT.

Key responsibilities

  • GNWT lead on climate change in the NWT.
  • Collaborating with Indigenous governments, communities, and the public to protect the NWT environment and make sure resources are used sustainably and wisely.
  • Ensuring natural resource policies and programs are developed using the best available scientific, local and traditional knowledge, to make sure management decisions are current and relevant to the NWT.
  • Administering, managing, regulating, and monitoring onshore waters, wildlife, forests, air and,  public lands.
  • Assess, monitor, and mitigate impacts of development on NWT forests, water, wildlife and wildlife habitat.
  • Managing human-wildlife conflicts.
  • Compliance and enforcement of legislation related to land, wildlife, water, air, forests and the environment
  • Wildfire monitoring, management and suppression.
  • GNWT lead to negotiate and implement transboundary water agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions.
  • GNWT lead for development, approval, and review of regional land use plans in the NWT.
  • Participation and decision-making in water licensing
  • GNWT lead for environmental assessment and environmental assessment decisions in the Mackenzie Valley and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region
  • Issuance and administration of Land Use permits in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
  • Reclamation securities management, policy and administration
  • GNWT lead for land use and sustainability policy.
  • GNWT lead for conserved and protected areas.

Guiding policies

The following policies guide the department’s work. These policies are developed using the best available scientific, local and Indigenous knowledge, to make sure management decisions are current and relevant to the NWT.

Guiding legislation and regulations

The department is responsible for a suite of land, water, wildlife, forest, environmental protection, and waste management legislation and regulations.

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