YELLOWKNIFE (March 8, 2023) – NWT Legislative Assembly adopts Process Convention regarding legislation drafted in cooperation with the Intergovernmental Council (IGC)
On March 7, 2023, the Caucus of the 19th Legislative Assembly adopted a Consensus Government Process Convention to guide how legislation drafted cooperatively with the IGC will be introduced, considered and enacted in the Legislature moving forward (attached). The Consensus Government Process Conventions were commenced in the 16th Legislative Assembly in an effort to formalize the unique way that the NWTs system of parliamentary democracy operates.
This Process Convention applies only to land and resource bills drafted pursuant to the IGC Legislative Development Protocol and was drafted in collaboration with the IGC Secretariat. It is intended to compliment the IGC Legislative Development Protocol which was drafted following the Devolution Agreement and lays out a process for the cooperative drafting of land and resource legislation devolved to the Northwest Territories as part of the 2015 Devolution Agreement.
This Process Convention will allow for the increased sharing of information between standing committees and the IGC during the early drafting stages of a bill. Once a bill has received Second Reading, the time frame for standing committee review is increased from 120 to 180 days to allow for IGC discussion and input on amendments that committee may wish to introduce following public consultations. It makes provision for the attendance and participation of Indigenous Governments in the standing committee review process, including clause-by-clause review of the bill. It also allows for the attendance and participation of Indigenous Governments on the floor of the House during Committee of the Whole review of a bill and when the Commissioner attends the Assembly to formally assent to a bill and make it law.
While Consensus Government Process Conventions are signed by the Caucus Chair, Premier, and Chair of the Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight, a separate signing ceremony will be held with all IGC Indigenous Governments at an upcoming IGC meeting.
“As an experienced Indigenous Leader, I see this protocol as a positive step forward and consistent with the focus on Reconciliation that the 19th Assembly has taken.”
Caucus Chair Frieda Martselos.
“This Process Convention builds on the work of the Intergovernmental Council and its Legislative Protocol developed earlier in this government to guide collaboration in the drafting stage of land and resource bills. The Process Convention now extends this collaboration through the entire legislative process and further demonstrates that the Government of the Northwest Territories is a leader in reconciliation and partnership with Indigenous Governments”
Premier Caroline Cochrane
“This Process Convention is unique to the NWT and historic in nature. It will help address some of the concerns that Indigenous Governments had with amendments made to the resource management legislation by Standing Committee in the last days of the 18th Legislative Assembly. The upcoming changes to the Forrest Act will be the first test of this Process Convention and I look forward to working closely with our Indigenous Government partners and the public to make improvements to this important legislation to the benefit of all northerners.”
MLA Kevin O’Reilly, Chair of the Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight