GNWT is Committed to Renewing Land Use Planning in the NWT

Yellowknife — May 14, 2019
News Releases

As part of the NWT Land Use Planning Forum,  the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) released Finding Common Ground – a renewed commitment to regional land use planning in the Northwest Territories, earlier today. 


“Finding Common Ground” sets out how the GNWT and its Indigenous government and federal government partners will work together to help advance important and necessary land use plans for every region of the NWT. 


Building on direction set out in the Land Use and Sustainability Framework to promote and support effective land use planning throughout the NWT, “Finding Common Ground” aims to strengthen existing government-to-government relationships between the GNWT, Indigenous partners and the Government of Canada.  It will help advance land use planning in a way that supports completing outstanding land, resources and self-government agreements with the Akaitcho Dene, Dehcho, and Acho Dene Koe First Nations, and the Northwest Territory Métis Nation. The approach and accountability measures in “Finding Common Ground” will also guide new land use planning efforts going forward which will include a planning process for Wekʼèezhìı, as well as ongoing renewal of land use plans for the Sahtu and Gwich’in.


The GNWT has made it a mandate priority to advance land use plans in all regions of the NWT. Finding Common Ground is one way the GNWT and its federal and Indigenous government partners are working together to responsibly manage and use the NWT’s land, resources and environment.




“Finding Common Ground” is a 21st century approach to land and resource management that was developed over years of collaboration with our federal and Indigenous partners. It marks an important step toward advancing the goals set out in our Land Use and Sustainability Framework, will guide our land use planning efforts in every region of the Northwest Territories, and will support the GNWT’s work to settle outstanding land and resources negotiations.

-Louis Sebert, Minister of Lands



Quick Facts:


  • Finding Common Ground  was developed over the course of four years of work with Indigenous, territorial and federal planning partners through the annual NWT Land Use Planning Forum, It is a tri-partite (GNWT, federal government, Indigenous government) endorsed approach to working together towards the development, implementation and renewal of land use plans in the NWT.


  • A land use plan is both a process and a document. As a document, it contains maps and directions to land users and regulators on the appropriate or prohibited uses of land, water and resources. It reflects the values of Indigenous people, residents and communities in a planning area, and creates the rules for use of the land that will promote their social, cultural and economic well-being. The process of land use planning itself builds confidence for communities, and the completed plan provides certainty for land users on how and where development can proceed. The Common Ground approach is intended to strengthen our planning processes and plans.


  • Regional land use planning in the NWT has been a key component of the evolving land and resource management regime since 1983, when the Basis of Agreement on Northern Land Use Planning was signed by the federal and territorial governments, the Dene Nation, the Métis Association of the Northwest Territories, and the Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut. The concept of land use planning has been incorporated into each land claim agreement that has been signed since that time. 


  • The Department of Lands created the NWT Land Use Planning Forum in 2015 to bring Indigenous, regulatory, territorial and federal planning partners together. Each year the partners gather to exchange ideas and build a shared understanding of how to advance land use planning in the NWT.


Related links:


  • Learn more about how the Department of Lands supports land use planning
  • For information about the status of land use planning in the NWT, click here.



Media Contact:

Toni Riley
Manager of Communications
Department of Lands
Government of the Northwest Territories
Tel: (867) 767-9182 ext. 24056