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.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

This member just made a point about relevance and sticking to the issue of time allocation and then went off onto another issue. I think she should listen to her own words and perhaps stick to the issue at hand before the House.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the member is saying that the procedures of the House are undemocratic. As far as I know, according to the Standing Orders of the House the government can move this motion if it is in the interest of Canadians.

We know very well that the opposition party's fundamental objective is to prevent the government from moving forward with its political agenda.

If we are creating jobs, if we have reduced the tax burden on Canadian families, and if we have created millions of jobs since the end of the recession, it is because of our political agenda, which translates into legislation. The NDP will rise and try to sabotage our political agenda.

Yukoners' best interests must prevail, and it is for that reason that we must adopt this motion. The bill must pass so that the people of the Yukon can benefit from it.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, mere hours ago, I was in Rideau Hall with the hon. minister for a very moving ceremony for the end of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Certainly, reconciliation requires, at a minimum, respect for first nations and respect for treaties. Bill S-6 does the opposite.

I would plead with the minister not to use time allocation to limit debate. It adds insult to injury, once again, for Canada's first peoples.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her comments, and I will tell her and tell the House that the Government of Canada has maintained an open dialogue with the Government of Yukon, the Government of Nunavut, NTI, the Yukon first nations, industry associations, and other stakeholders.

As a matter of fact, on the consultation issue, maybe she does not know, but financial assistance was offered to aboriginal groups and boards throughout the consultation process for the review of these legislative proposals. The vast majority of these provisions are being endorsed by the Council of Yukon First Nations. It is true that it has expressed concern about four particular amendments, but it is important to state that these four particular amendments do not take away from the spirit and intent of the umbrella agreement. These amendments are in full compliance not only with the letter but with the spirit and intent of the umbrella agreement.

I want to assure our partners in this treaty, the first nations, the Yukoners, as represented by the Government of Yukon, that we are going to continue to work with them, in partnership, to implement these changes for the benefit of Yukoners.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is going to be an election in the fall. What will the Conservative minister say to his constituents when they criticize this 98th time allocation motion, which is an affront to democracy and Canada's parliamentarians? I am convinced that there will be other such motions before the end of the session.

Will he be able to say to his constituents that he is proud to have adopted so many time allocation motions and cut short speeches and debate? I am convinced that people across Canada are upset by the Conservatives' behaviour with respect to good governance and democracy in the House of Commons.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, we have here another member who is getting all worked up about the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, which we did not invent. I had the privilege of being an MP over 20 years ago, and the same rules were in place then. Canada is still seen as a vibrant democracy that serves Canadians well.

As my colleague said, there is going to be an election this fall. However, Canadians will have been served by a serious government that is committed to creating jobs in our country, growing our economy and making sure that Canadians' quality of life continues to improve.

Thanks to all of the measures that this government has put in place, Canadians have the lowest tax burden in 50 years. Since the depths of the recession, we have created over 1.2 million good jobs. Were it not for this tool that allows us to close debate when an issue has been debated enough, Canadians would not be reaping all of those benefits.

Bill S-6 is important because the people of the Yukon deserve to be on a level playing field with the other northern regions and the rest of Canada.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:20 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, it is an undeniable fact that no government in Canadian history has done more for Canada's North than this Conservative government.

Certainly, our northern strategy includes four pillars: two of them protecting our environmental heritage, and promoting social and economic development.

Could the minister explain how Bill S-6 promotes the regulatory improvements that we can build on in the North?

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary, whom I want to thank for his strong support, is absolutely right when he said that it is an undeniable fact that no other government in the history of this great country of ours has done as much for northerners as this Conservative government.

Bill S-6 is just the latest example of how we are delivering on our northern strategy. This bill is about enhancing and strengthening the social, economic and environmental assessment process in Yukon, as well as the water licensing process in Nunavut.

The bill builds on two pillars that the parliamentary secretary mentioned and is intended to both protect the environment and promote economic development in these two regions.

It also ensures that northerners are equipped with an effective, timely and predictable regulatory system that is able to contribute to attract investments into their regions for generations to come.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today on behalf of the people of Alfred-Pellan to debate the time allocation motion on Bill S-6.

In his answers, the minister just said that he had been in the House of Commons for 20 years. This means that he has been in the opposition and he took offence at the time allocation motions moved by the Liberals at the time. Now he is proud to move one in the House.

My question for the minister is very simple. How has Ottawa changed him so much?

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to point out to the member that I have not been a member of Parliament for 20 years. I was a member of the House of Commons from 1984 to 1993, and then I was re-elected in 2011 and have sat here since then. What I said was that 20 years ago, the rules of the House of Commons allowed this type of motion. I have never had the opportunity to sit in the House as a member of the opposition. That is all I can say.

The sole purpose of this motion is to promote the interests of the people living in the Yukon and the companies that want to do business there, in order to create jobs and economic growth and attract investments. This will improve the standard of living for everyone who lives in this beautiful territory.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the question posed by my colleague from Chicoutimi. I do not think he was suggesting that the current government is breaking the rules, but that the Conservatives manipulate the rules. They stretch and they bend, and we have seen that time and time again.

Somebody made a reference the other day to the NHL playoffs in 2009 when Sean Avery, who played for the New York Rangers, stood in front of Martin Brodeur, world-class Hall of Fame goaltender, and screened him. However, he faced the goaltender, contrary to how everybody else screened the goaltender. He stood in front of Brodeur, waved his arms around, shook his stick at him and all of that. The referee did not know what the heck to do. The referee would call a penalty, but there were no rules. It was clearly against the spirit of the game. Therefore, the rules committee for the NHL met the next day and came up with a rule called the “Sean Avery rule”.

The sad part is that the current government makes the rules and abuses the rules. This is just another example of how the Conservatives have abused this chamber, imposing closure 98 times. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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

June 3rd, 2015 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Valcourt Conservative Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have total confidence in the Speaker and I am sure that if ever any parliamentarian breached the rules, the Speaker would see to it that it did not happen.

Canadians can remain secure in their belief that we have a parliamentary system that is delivering results. Obviously, we can look at the last four years and at the benefits that Canadians enjoy today in terms of lower taxes, benefits for families, increased benefits for seniors, and an improved standard of living for all Canadians.

Our system works well and we will continue working for Canadians with the same vigour, interest and intent.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 5:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand in the House today and speak to the motions put forward to the House on Bill S-6. I am going to get to the contents of the bill shortly and in direct respect to the motions that have been tabled here in the House.

Before I do that, I want to quickly express my thanks to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. I was present in the House today listening to many of the speeches and the questions and answers that followed. It was appreciated that he recognized that our government has tremendous commitment to continued trilateral partnerships with both our public governments in the Yukon and with our first nations leadership in our territory.

From that point of view, I am optimistic and confident that the piece of legislation that we have before us, subject of course to continued dialogue and discussion, will be one that will indeed be in the best interests of all Yukoners.

I want to point out a couple of things before I get to the direct pieces of this legislation that are clearly worth highlighting. Some of that came in discussion today, some of it has been in prolonged discussion over the course of the bill, but it is absolutely worthwhile for us drilling right down to these very key pieces so that we can boil away some of the political rhetoric that has been generated by the opposition side.

I do take some offence to the opposition's positions where members have clearly feigned concern for the wants, needs and expectations of the Yukon people broadly and specifically for the Yukon first nations community. I say that, not tongue in cheek, with clear-cut examples that I will give now.

I put forward a study at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans some time ago where we would travel north and see what was going on with the challenging state of Yukon River salmon in a transboundary relationship with Alaska and those waters. There are some issues that we really needed to seize as parliamentarians in undertaking that study.

However, guess who blocked travel for that study? Guess who voted that it was not important? The NDP. This is a social, ceremonial and traditional way of life for Yukon first nations, with Yukon River salmon of critical importance, and the NDP would not support that travel.

Then I had a study and a bill before the House for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which is a topic seized by all Yukoners, an important issue to Yukon people and northern Canadians in particular and we wanted to travel for that. Guess who blocked that? The NDP. The members are continuing to block all these things, yet at the same time, they say they have care and concern for Yukon people and northern people. Their record is clear. They really do not.

In this case, I was proud to ensure that as we undertook the study for Bill S-6, I made it clear that we needed to bring the committee to the Yukon to hear directly from Yukon people to allow a balanced story, a balanced perspective and a balanced input, so we could seize ourselves with the concerns of Yukoners, understand them and hear that directly from them in testimony in our territory.

Of course, the NDP members agreed to travel for that, but only for the fact that they thought they might have some political advantage on this. It is a shameful use of Yukon people and northern people for their own political purposes. There is not true care and concern and that point needs to be made crystal clear.

I witnessed that before noon on the first day of committee study on Bill S-6, a member from the Liberal Party and a member from the NDP had clearly chosen a side and it is on record when we were interviewed by the CBC. They said their minds were made up and this was done at noon, before we had even heard from half of the people prepared to testify. Before we had heard a full and balanced perspective from Yukoners on this topic, the NDP members had their minds made up about the direction they were going to go. They said as much on CBC.

The Liberals had their minds made up long before. They say they came to hear from all the Yukoners, but their minds were made up before they arrived in my territory and they tried to drive their political agenda. It is important to me to communicate that very effectively here today; everything to this point from their side of the House has been nothing but politics. There has been no care and concern for the people of the north.

We are trying to bring balance and parity in our territory so that Yukoners have equal opportunities for jobs, growth, and economic prosperity like the rest of Canada, so they have equal opportunities like those shared in the Northwest Territories under its devolution agreements and resource development agreements, which, interestingly enough, the member for Northwest Territories was standing behind. However, when it comes to bringing parity to the Yukon, somehow he is objecting to that.

As we tasked ourselves with the bill and understood the evolution and the process, it has been clear that there are concerns, and our government has seized itself with those concerns. We have heard them clearly, and today we heard the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs say clearly that he fully understands that a trilateral relationship is important with the federal government in the Yukon, the Yukon territorial government, and Yukon first nation peoples. I applaud him and thank him for that, because that will ensure effective implementation of the bill. It will ensure that we honour the spirit and intention of the modern treaties that we have in our territory, those modern treaties that we are very proud of and that will continue to bring prosperity to our territory, prosperity that New Democrats really know nothing about.

People are going to ask if I can prove that statement. Sure I can. On the record, in the Yukon legislature, the leader of the territorial opposition had this to say about mining development in the Yukon:

...once the mine is in operation—has been for some time—but 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 is what was said by Liz Hanson, the leader of the NDP in the Yukon. She was specifically referencing one mine. That mine spent $78.1 million in the Yukon Territory in 2013 and $58.2 million in 2014 on goods and services, and that was before wages were paid out to Yukon first nation people and non-Yukon first nation people. Then those employees in turn spent that money in their communities, their homes, on goods and services, so the dollars continued to rotate around that community to the benefit and prosperity of all Yukoners.

My point is that if one starts with a fundamental misunderstanding of how mining and resource development actually contribute to our economy, then I guess it makes perfect sense that one would not want development to carry forward. However, the facts are clear. One mine alone contributed $78.1 million in one year to Yukon's GDP, to Yukon's economy, to the socio-economic fabric of our territory.

It was done so, I might add, in an environmentally responsible manner to protect and preserve the environmental heritage of our territory. Why is that? It is because these companies participate in environmental reviews. They have care and concern about reclamation and development. They engage with their first nation communities, and they do not always do that out of a legislative requirement. They do it because they form a social relationship and an important working relationship through IBAs, through direct community engagement and participation in the Yukon with first nation communities, who do indeed invite them in.

The NDP, the no development party, has no fundamental understanding at all of the direct value that resource development brings to our territory, to the north, and to our country, so from that point of view it makes sense that it would want to obstruct these things.

We have heard the concerns of Yukon first nations. Our minister is committed to continuing to work with them in a trilateral relationship to make sure we engage in productive and co-operative implementation to honour the spirit and intention of those modern treaties. The motions I see being put forward would actually do the reverse to many of the things that Yukon first nations, the Yukon government, and Canada have already agreed to in the five-year review of YESSA.

I look forward to any questions and I look forward to the passage of the Bill S-6 and our continued relationship-building with all partners in the Yukon on a very important message and bill.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his interpretation of history. I always find it humourous when people want to interpret history in a way that ignores the facts of the matter. Every politician sometimes falls into that habit.

In this case, he was talking about issues that Yukoners are very well apprised of. I was amazed at the depth of knowledge and the engagement that Yukoners had on these issues when we conducted committee meetings in Whitehorse and 150 people filled the room from morning until night.

My colleague was there to hear Yukoners, but I want to ask him if he was there to listen to Yukoners and understand what they were saying about the nature of the relationship between Yukoners, first nations, and the environment?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2015 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, indeed I was, and I was very proud of all of the Yukoners who participated in that hearing, from our first nations right through to our industry. Indeed, it was my intervention that ensured that Yukon first nations were strong participants in that committee.

If the member for Northwest Territories wants to talk about whether I was there to hear them, indeed I was, and I did. I acknowledged that in my speech. I heard their concerns.

However, guess who did not hear them. Guess who was not prepared to hear them. It was the member for Northwest Territories, who by noon that day had said publicly on CBC that his mind was made up. He said that he knew what he was going to do. He knew where his decisions lay, and that was before he had heard from even half of the people invited to testify.

Yes, I was there to hear them, but clearly the member for Northwest Territories was not. That is stamped on the record of that interview on CBC's noon show. He can stand by that deplorable record when it comes to standing up and listening to the Yukon people and the people of the north.