Draft Statement of Environmental Values Needs Your Feedback

News Releases

Yellowknife — November 10, 2021

The NWT will become the second jurisdiction in Canada to integrate a Statement of Environmental Values into government decision-making.

The creation of a Statement of Environmental Values is a requirement under the Environmental Rights Act, which was amended in 2019. The Statement explains how environmental considerations, including the right to a healthy environment, will be integrated into decisions that might have a significant impact on the environment.

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.

Once complete, the Statement will apply to decisions made by all GNWT departments, as well as Aurora College, BDIC, NTPC, and the NWT Housing Corporation.

A draft Statement of Environmental Values, in the form of an Executive Council (Cabinet) Policy, has now been developed. This draft Statement sets out the statement of policy, principles, scope, authority and accountability, provisions, and prerogative of the Executive Council.

The public now has 90 days to provide comments on the draft – through February 15, 2022.

Within 150 days after  February 15, 2022, the government must finalize the statement and release a What We Heard Report. Once the Statement of Environmental Values is finalized, all GNWT departments and specific agencies must take every reasonable step to implement it.

Quote(s)

The Statement of Environmental Values is the GNWT’s commitment to the environment. It holds the government accountable by ensuring that the environment is considered in GNWT decisions. Being only the second jurisdiction in Canada to adopt this kind of statement, the NWT is setting a standard for the kind of environmental protection and sustainable development that will mean our grandchildren can enjoy a clean and healthy environment.”

- Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources

Quick facts

  • The Statement of Environmental Values is part of the GNWT’s commitment to environmental sustainability, as laid out in the Environmental Rights Act.
  • Amendments to the Environmental Rights Act were passed in 2019.
  • Once complete, the NWT will be the second jurisdiction in Canada to integrate a Statement of Environmental Values into government decision-making, after Ontario.

To submit comments:

By Email: SEV-EVE@gov.nt.ca

 

By 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

Related links

 

For media requests, please contact:

Jessica Davey-Quantick

Communications Planning Specialist

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories

Jessica_Davey-Quantick@gov.nt.ca

Phone Number: 867-767-9231 Ext 53046