Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act

An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 amends the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act to provide that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 does not apply in Yukon, to allow for the coordination of reviews of transboundary projects, to establish time limits for environmental assessments and to establish a cost recovery regime. It also amends that Act to provide for binding ministerial policy directions to the Board and the delegation of any of the Minister’s powers, duties and functions to the territorial minister, and allows for a member of the board who is participating in a screening or review to continue to act for that purpose after the expiry of their term or their removal due to a loss of residency in Yukon, until decision documents are issued. In addition, it amends that Act to clarify that a new assessment of a project is not required when an authorization is renewed or amended unless there has been any significant change to the original project.

Part 2 amends the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act to modify the maximum term of certain licences, to establish time limits with respect to the making of certain decisions, to allow for the making of arrangements relating to security, to establish a cost recovery regime, to modify the offence and penalty regime and to create an administrative monetary penalty scheme.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 8, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
June 8, 2015 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give third reading to Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Surface Rights Tribunal Act, because it: ( a) was developed without adequate consultation with Yukon First Nations, as per the government of Canada’s constitutional duty, and without adequate consultation with the people of Yukon, as per the government’s democratic duty; ( b) provides the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development with authority to unilaterally issue binding policy direction on the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, which undermines the neutrality of the environmental and socio-economic assessment process; ( c) provides the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development with authority to delegate powers to the territorial minister without the consent of First Nations; ( d) provides broad exemptions for renewals and amendments of projects; and ( e) includes proposed timelines on the assessment process that will affect the thoroughness of environmental and socio-economic assessments and opportunities for First Nation input on major projects. ”.
June 3, 2015 Passed That Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
June 3, 2015 Failed
June 3, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
March 11, 2015 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
March 11, 2015 Passed That, in relation to Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2015 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Conservative Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the opportunity to speak to the Liberal record in the north. For 13 years, the Liberal government did not implement the Nunavut land claims agreement. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated filed a lawsuit against the federal government for lack of implementation of the land claims agreement. Our government settled that dispute out of court recently, and awarded Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated $255 million for the lack of implementation from that government.

Our government is listening and moving forward. The next step we will take is to negotiate a devolution agreement. We are hoping to reach an agreement in principle in the next little while. Again, this legislation would support the implementation of that land claims agreement.

That party and that government cut transfers to the territorial government. The Liberals did not implement the Nunavut land claims agreement, which brings us here today. Northerners want this legislation. Northerners want the tools to make decisions about their future and under what terms and conditions.

As Minister for the Arctic Council, I can also say that the initiatives we undertook over two years of our chairmanship were to address the issues that were important to northerners, hence, our overarching theme: development for the people of the north by incorporating the traditional knowledge of Inuit to science in addressing climate change and by incorporating the traditional knowledge and traditional ways of life of indigenous people in policy work that is done through the Arctic Council. We moved on black carbon and methane for the north, because it was important to the north.

Under the Liberal government, nothing happened.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2015 / 1:10 p.m.
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Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Mark Strahl ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, before I start, I want to thank the Minister of the Environment for her leadership, both in the portfolio she has been given in cabinet and also for her leadership in the north. It is unfortunate that the member for Ottawa South kept trying to interrupt her while she was speaking. She passionately defends the north, her communities and her territory both in the House and at the cabinet table. We are very proud to have her as the leader of our northern caucus. She does a great job in that regard.

No government in Canadian history has done more for Canada's north than our Conservative government. One can see the legislative steps that we have taken through our northern strategy, the Northern Jobs and Growth Act.

This is the final step to improve the regulatory process in the Yukon and in Nunavut. As the minister has outlined, on the Nunavut side we are protecting the environment by increasing the ability to levy fines. We are giving the people of Nunavut more control over their own territory, which is something we believe in on this side of the House.

It is unfortunate that through this whole debate when we talked about devolution to the territories and giving more powers to the territorial governments, the NDP and Liberals fought against it. They want to keep more power here in Ottawa. We want to give more power to the people of the north and their governments because we believe that the power should be closer to the people.

What have we seen with the bill? Why is the bill necessary? We have seen through independent reports that because of the improvements that have been made south of 60 to the regulatory regime, the Yukon territory has fallen behind in its regulatory environment. It used to be number one in the world in terms of attractiveness for mining companies for resource development. It has fallen to ninth according to the recent Fraser Institute report. Also, in terms of perception of regulatory policy, it has fallen to ninth in Canada. When devolution occurred over a decade ago, Yukon led Canada in terms of its regulatory regime. It has fallen behind and we need to get it back up on par with the rest of Canada.

I want to talk briefly as well, in the limited time I have, about some of the issues that have been raised. The first was raised again by the Liberal Party. It said there has been a lack of consultation, which is demonstrably false. There have been dozens of meetings that have taken place, just on the four contentious amendments alone. There was $100,000 given to first nations groups who participated in those consultation sessions. They submitted receipts to the government saying they had consulted with us and would like to be reimbursed for that. Of course, we have paid those funds. There has been consultation. It has been paid for by the government and those consultations have been meaningful. We certainly believe they have been adequate.

Also, we have seen that this is something that is necessary for the continued economic prosperity of Yukon and Nunavut. We heard from the Yukon Chamber of Mines that said, specifically on the issues of timelines and significant change, we need to bring the regime in Yukon in line with what is happening in the rest of Canada. It is seeing investment decisions and investment dollars leaving the territory because of the uncertainty that its regulatory regime presents.

We have also seen that the bill is completely 100% compliant with the Umbrella Final Agreement. The minister has asked anyone who has a concern with that to point him to the section of the legislation that violates the Umbrella Final Agreement. No one has been able to do that.

This is the final piece of our northern agenda. It is the final legislative step that we need to take to bring about economic prosperity and growth in the north. We are proud to support the bill.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, in relation to Bill S-6, an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and

That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, this is the 98th time in this Parliament that we have had a time allocation proposal by the government. This one is on a particular bill that is opposed by most of the people in Yukon in four specific areas.

The government has chosen not to go back to the first nations in Yukon that have well-established relationships there based on existing laws and existing environmental legislation. The government has chosen to unilaterally put four new amendments in the bill that were not part of the larger review process. This has led to a situation where both Yukoners and first nations Yukoners are combined in their opposition to these four amendments.

We saw that when we had the committee hearings in Yukon. The room was full. Hundreds of people listened to our committee. Many people spoke to it, including industry. They said not to do it, that it was silly, that it was not correct to break the relationship that existed now and was working quite well.

The time allocation motion is an insult. The government will answer for this in Yukon in the next election, which is five months away. It is a pity that the government has taken this road. It is going to cause disruption and uncertainty in the Yukon economy for the next number of years until we straighten it out.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 3:55 p.m.
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Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Conservative

Bernard Valcourt ConservativeMinister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, if this is the 98th time that such a motion has been proposed to the House, it means that this Parliament, our party, our government will have accomplished a lot of work for the benefit of all Canadians.

Bill S-6 is the final legislative step to fully implement the action plan to improve northern regulatory regimes. The bill would complete the northern regulatory improvement legislative agenda. The agenda has included the passage of the Northern Jobs and Growth Act, Bill C-47, and the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, Bill C-15.

I understand the member for the Northwest Territories wanting to keep Yukon on a different playing field than the Northwest Territories. He should be more generous. The bill would level the playing field for all the territories in the north. The regulatory regime would be the same as south of 60, so northerners could benefit from the certainty this would bring to their regulatory regime in that territory.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, for those who watch the proceedings of the House, I am sure they cannot help but be disappointed in the Conservative-Reform style government. It is a government that since it acquired a majority has had a different attitude in the House of Commons. It is one where it feels it does not need to consult with people, that it can just walk over some very basic democratic principles. It is one that does not understand the need for diligence. It is one that does not understand the need for working with people or working with members of Parliament. In dealing with important legislation like Bill S-6 and the northern regulatory regime, the government has failed on so many counts.

The government, by once again relying on a time allocation motion to get its agenda passed, speaks of incompetence. It speaks of a genuine lack of respect for parliamentary procedure and ultimately for Canadians. It continues to try to prevent members of Parliament from being engaged and representing their constituents on the floor of the House of Commons.

My question is not for the minister but rather for the government House leader who is the minister responsible for forcing this legislation through, as he has done on so many pieces of legislation. Why does the government need to use time allocation in such a fashion that it has created a record, which cannot even remotely come close to being matched, as the worst government in Canada's history in using time allocation or closure to get its legislative agenda passed?

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the comments of the hon. member betray his lack of understanding and knowledge of what led to Bill S-6. He says there was no consultation. Improvements to the regulatory system have been contemplated since 2007, and they were informed by a review by Neil McCrank, the federal government's special representative for the northern regulatory improvement initiative. In his review of the regulatory systems across the north, he consulted widely with aboriginal groups, governments, and industry. These consultations resulted in his 2008 report, entitled “The Road to Improvement”.

In 2012, the Government of Canada subsequently announced the action plan to improve northern regulatory regimes, which drew upon recommendations in this 2008 report.

The short answer as to why we have this motion today is that it is to give the northerners the benefit of its impact.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister forgot to mention the 98 times the government has imposed closure and time allocation. It is a record. It is the worst governmental record ever in Canadian history.

It also has the worst record of rejected legislation. The Conservatives bring shoddy legislation into the House, and the courts reject it. A dozen times now the courts have simply thrown out the junk the government has put on the floor of the House and then forced through the House. The government has the worst legislative record in Canadian history.

Now, we are talking about Bill S-6. Here we have a Yukon News editorial from June 13, 2014, which tells us all what people in Yukon think about this bill. It says:

A long list of people deserve raspberries for this needlessly shady behaviour. At the top of the naughty list are Senator Daniel Lang and [the member for Yukon], who are supposed to ensure that the interests of Yukoners are represented in Ottawa. Instead, they’ve kept the public out of the loop, other than [the member for Yukon] uttering vague generalities about the forthcoming changes without offering any meaningful specifics. Shame on them.

That is a voice from Yukon. Those Yukoners should have been listened to by the government. Why did the government not listen? Why is it trying to force a bad bill through the House of Commons?

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, a serious parliamentarian, a serious party, and a serious government do not inform their agenda by headlines in newspapers. They inform their policy agenda by the needs of Canadians.

This government is creating jobs, creating economic growth, and ensuring the long-term prosperity of not only Canadians south of 60 but of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. That includes Yukon, that includes Nunavut, and that includes the Northwest Territories.

The regulatory changes from the action plan this government has put forward are designed to achieve four fundamental and beneficial objectives. The first is making reviews of development projects more predictable and timely. The second is reducing duplication in the review process, something that we know the NDP does not believe in. It strives for duplication. The third is strengthening environmental protection. The fourth is achieving meaningful aboriginal consultations.

This is what Bill S-6 is all about. Throughout this process, we have fully engaged with the first nations, who are our partners under the umbrella agreement. It is with those signed first nations and the Government of Yukon that we will continue to work in partnership to create more wealth, more jobs, and long-term prosperity for all Yukoners.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed today to see that the government is trying to push this bill through the House of Commons and is calling time allocation, not unlike what it has done throughout this whole process on Bill S-6.

This is supposed to be an improvement of the regulatory process for Yukon. While many of the recommendations that were put forward were accepted by first nations and Yukoners, there were four that were not. They were not accepted because they were not in the best interests of the first nations governments, nor were they in the best interests of Yukoners, not did the government consult them in a fair way.

When we went to Yukon and held hearings and heard testimony from the many people who came out, the member of Parliament for Yukon was there. When we came back to Ottawa and sat in committee and made the amendments to this bill that Yukoners and first nations were asking for, their own member was not there to even vote on them or support them, and none of the government members supported them.

There is an injustice being done to the individuals who have protested this bill and have concerns about it. I ask the minister why he is calling time allocation today. Why is he stifling the people who have legitimate concerns regarding Bill S-6, namely the people of Yukon?

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, juste en passant, I would like the hon. member to acknowledge that this is not about amendments to just the Yukon process. Important changes to the regulatory system in Nunavut are also contained in Bill S-6, and all Nunavummiut have endorsed these holus-bolus. I would invite the hon. member to consider that aspect of the bill also.

On the issue of consultation, the member is totally wrong. That is the leadership of the Liberal Party. The Liberals follow the crowd. Wherever the wind blows, that is where they go.

We are a principled party and a principled government. This is about job creation. This is about economic growth. This is about protecting the environment. This is about long-term prosperity.

At the moment, there is an imbalance. The government of the Yukon has asked us to pass this bill, because it wants to get to a level playing field with the other territories and with the provinces south of 60. This is about creating certainty. This is about securing investment in the natural resources sector, where first nations, I wish to remind the House, are co-managing the YESA Board with the Government of the Yukon and the Government of Canada.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clear up just a bit of revisionist history coming from the other side of the House right now. We hear the members feign interest and concern for northern Canadians, but of course, we all know that I had a study before the fisheries committee to go north to study important cultural, social, and ceremonial impacts on northern fisheries. It was obstructed by the NDP.

I had an important bill on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We wanted to travel to the north to hear directly from Yukoners and northerners on that important piece. It was obstructed by the NDP.

Of course, the Liberals will sit in this House of Commons and talk about whether their amendments were supported in committee. They did not put any forward, so it is interesting how we revisit that piece.

Let me just read something into the record from the NDP in the Yukon:

once a mine is in operation...the actual procurement of everything from, I would say, toilet paper to lettuce to whatever comes in on big trucks, on pallets, from Outside, and nothing is sourced locally.

That was the Leader of the Opposition and of the NDP in the Yukon. Of course, he completely forgot that $78 million was spent—

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, my point is that this is important to move forward for Yukon. It is important to move forward for the people of Yukon. In the sense of having to allocate the time, the examples I gave were really in regard to the fact that those members have had no problem obstructing things in the past. We need to move this forward, and their history has set the course for the actions we need to take in terms of moving all bills, including this one, forward.

I wonder if the minister could comment on the benefits to the north this bill could bring to all Yukoners and indeed to Yukon first nations.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, let me thank the hon. member for his question but mostly for his work on behalf of Yukoners. He is always at work to ensure that Yukoners do indeed participate in Canada's prosperity.

As I said, our government's top priority is creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity, and this is no different in the north. The reason we must allocate time to pass Bill S-6 as rapidly as possible is that it will establish conditions in both Yukon and Nunavut that will encourage continued investment and ensure that Canada's north remains an attractive place for industry investments in an increasingly competitive global market.

For example, Bill S-6 introduces timelines that will create consistency and predictability in environmental assessments and the issuance of water licences. Another piece of the bill makes sure that once a project has been assessed once, it will not require another assessment unless there has been a significant change to the project, reducing duplication.

Provisions like these will attract investment to Yukon and Nunavut, which will act as a major driver of jobs across the territories.

Bill S-6—Time Allocation MotionYukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a few minor points we heard regarding this 98th time allocation motion, more commonly known as a gag order, because that is what the government is trying to impose on us.

I heard the minister say that the Conservatives are principled. However, people who are principled do not say one thing one day and the opposite the next, 98 times. Principled people do not condemn the imposition of time allocation motions when they are not in government, and then turn around and impose more such motions than any other government. It will be interesting to hear what the minister has to say about that.

The Conservatives are mocking us with these 98 time allocation motions, as though this were a good thing, as though they have proven that they can get things done. What I want to say to people watching at home is that with these 98 gag orders, the Conservatives have instead proven that they cannot convince anyone to get anything done in the House while respecting our existing democratic systems.

As for the member for Yukon, he had the nerve to tell us that we refused to go along, when he is the one who abandoned his own bill, at the government's request, because he did not have the guts to go ahead with it, even though he had the unanimous consent of those people in the House. I will not take any lessons from the member for Yukon.