Protected Areas Act allows GNWT to work collaboratively on protection of land and culture

News Releases

Yellowknife — June 20, 2019

The Protected Areas Act came into force today, providing the legislative framework for creating a network of permanent protected areas that conserve the ecological and cultural worth of the Northwest Territories’ (NWT) most valued places, now and into the future.

The Act allows the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to work collaboratively with Indigenous governments and organizations to establish and manage protected areas in a way that protects biodiversity, ecological integrity and cultural continuity.

It will be used to meet the conservation network planning requirements outlined in Healthy Land, Healthy People: GNWT Priorities for Advancement of Conservation Network Planning 2016-2021.

The Protected Areas Act was developed through two years of collaboration with Indigenous governments and organizations, co-management boards, stakeholders and the public through a partnership approach led by the GNWT.


“Conservation of biodiversity is essential for long-term maintenance of healthy ecosystems, natural and cultural resources, and human well-being, including food security. I want to thank our partners, stakeholders and the public for providing critical input to the development of the Protected Areas Act. Together, we have developed an Act that will allow us to protect the land and culture of the NWT in the context of a changing climate for current and future generations.”

-Hon. Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources

Quick facts

  • The Protected Areas Act is the legislative framework for the establishment of permanent protected areas in the NWT.
  • The Act was developed through a partnership approach with Indigenous governments and organizations (IGOs) and renewable resources boards, with input from stakeholders, including non-government organizations, co-management boards and industry representatives. This process was designed with input and agreement from the Intergovernmental Council of the NWT.
  • The Protected Areas Act explicitly recognizes and affirms Aboriginal and treaty rights, including the commitments of land, resources and self-government agreements, and recognizes the role of co-management bodies.
  • The Act was designed to be flexible to ensure the unique needs and features of individual protected areas can be addressed through establishment and management. Regulations and Management Plans for each protected area developed under this Act will detail what activities can happen where, when and under what conditions.
  • The establishment of protected areas will support NWT communities in developing long-term opportunities for a diversified economy tied to protected areas, including culture, education, tourism and recreation.


Media contact

Meagan Wohlberg

Manager, Public Affairs and Communication

Environment and Natural Resources