2020 NWT Environmental Audit finds the NWT environmental regulatory system continues to improve

News Releases

Yellowknife — October 30, 2020

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is pleased to share the results of the 2020 Northwest Territories (NWT) Environmental Audit, released today.

Every five years, an independent auditor is appointed to conduct an Environmental Audit, as required under legislation and land claim agreements. The Audit is a way to assess how well the NWT environmental regulatory system is working and provide recommendations to help guide decision-makers, not just the GNWT.

The 2020 NWT Environmental Audit found the environmental regulatory system has continued to improve since the last Audit was completed in 2015. No new significant issues were identified, and progress was made in several areas, including climate change policy and action planning, and updated laws related to land, water and resource management. The Audit also highlighted areas that still need improvement, including community well-being, land use planning, finalizing land claims and engaging communities.

The GNWT has responded to the 2020 NWT Environmental Audit and has committed to implementing its responses and continue building a stronger and more robust environmental regulatory system for the NWT. 



“We have a strong and effective environmental regulatory system in the NWT that relies on representatives from all levels of government contributing to Land and Water Board processes so they can make wise decisions about the use of our resources. I look forward to working with all parties responsible for decision-making to follow through on the recommendations to continue to improve the regulatory system.”

- Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources



Quick facts

·       The 2020 NWT Environmental Audit is the second Audit commissioned by the GNWT following Devolution in 2014.

·       The 2020 Audit makes 40 recommendations to governments and boards created by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and Waters Act.

·       Some recommendations of the Audit are already recognized as priorities by the GNWT, supported by the Mandate of the 19th Assembly. This includes settling and implementing treaty, land, resources and self-government agreements; increasing regional decision-making authority; strengthening the government’s leadership and authority on climate change and increasing employment in small communities.

·       Key actions the GNWT is taking to address the recommendations of the Audit include:

o   Hosting a forum to discuss socio-economic issues with the mining industry and Indigenous governments and organizations

o   Partnering with other organizations to expand water quality monitoring of lakes in the NWT

o   Developing and implementing a cumulative effects framework

o   Releasing water quality reporting guidelines


Related links

Read the full 2020 NWT Environmental Audit Technical Report, plain language summary and fact sheet at https://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/en/services/nwt-environmental-audit



For media inquiries, please contact:

Public Affairs and Communications

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories