In 2019, the Environmental Rights Act (ERA) was amended in the NWT.
The ERA is an overall commitment to ensuring a healthy environment for all NWT residents, recognizes the right of the residents of the NWT to protect the integrity, biological diversity, and productivity of the NWT’s ecosystems, and the unique relationship NWT residents have to the lands, waters, and wildlife of the NWT.
The legislation included a commitment to creating a Statement of Environmental Values – which would have the GNWT state its commitment to the environment, and be held accountable for ensuring that commitment is applied in how the government makes decisions.
A draft Statement of Environmental Values has now been developed and is ready for public review.
What it covers
The Draft Statement of Environmental Values is built upon seven principles:
- The Precautionary Principle: If there is a threat of significant harm to the environment, err on the side of caution and prevent harm.
- The Polluter Pays Principle: If you cause harm to the environment, you are responsible to fix it, including covering the cost.
- The Ecological Sustainability Principle: We need to protect NWT ecosystems and biological diversity.
- The Intergenerational Equity Principle: Future generations have a right to a safe environment, and we can’t compromise the future to meet the needs of the present.
- The Environmental Justice Principle: Environmental justice means everyone in the NWT equally shares the benefits and burdens.
- The Sustainable Development Principle: Development cannot meet the needs of the present if it means future generations will not be able to meet their own needs as well.
- The Reconciliation Principle: Recognition of the relationship between Indigenous peoples’ rights and the GNWT’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Statement applies to decisions made by all GNWT departments, as well as Aurora College, BDIC, NTPC, and the NWT Housing Corporation. The Statement does not, and cannot, apply to decisions made by parties other than the GNWT, such as land and water boards, renewable resources boards, Indigenous governments and organizations, or industry. This is because the territorial government can’t change federal or Indigenous government legislation or parts of settled land claims.
It will be the responsibility of each department or agency to determine how best to apply the Statement.
Engagement feedback from November 10, 2021
Results under review
Have Your Say
The GNWT has prepared a draft Statement of Environmental Values, which sets out the statement of policy, key principles, what organizations and decisions it applies to, and how the government will put it into action.
- What else should we consider when making decisions that could affect the environment?
- What kind of values do you have when it comes to our environment?
- Is there anything we’ve missed?
Mail: Government of the Northwest Territories
c/o Kelly Fischer
Environmental Protection and Waste Management Division
Environment and Natural Resources
PO BOX 1320
YELLOWKNIFE, NT XLA 2L9
The draft Statement was developed by the GNWT. The final Statement of Environmental Values will include input and feedback from Indigenous governments and organizations, community leaders, and stakeholders from the public and private sector.
The requirements for the SEV were developed in conjunction with Indigenous governments and organizations during the development of the Environmental Rights Act. The principles to be considered in the development of the SEV are contained.