Part 4 – Division 13
Overview: Northwest Territories Act
In conjunction with revisions to the Northwest Territories Act in order to give effect to the devolution of land and resources in that territory, the Act was also modernized to reflect current practices and bring it in line with the Yukon Act and Nunavut Act governance provisions. Modernization of the Act is consistent with the Governance Pillar of Canada’s Northern Strategy, in particular, the objective to provide Northerners with greater control over their political destinies.
This modernization process included aligning the duration of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories with the duration of the Legislative Assemblies of Yukon and Nunavut, that is, for a term of no more than five years duration. This duration is set out in subsection 11(1) of the Northwest Territories Act, SC 2014, c. 2, s. 2. Section 65 of that Act establishes that this duration applies to future Legislative Assemblies, but not to the current, Seventeenth Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories passed a motion on March 10, 2014 requesting a change to the Northwest Territories Act (2014) to allow for the duration of the Seventeenth Assembly to extend for a period not exceeding five years.
The amendment of section 65 of the Northwest Territories Act is intended to give effect to the request from the Seventeenth Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and to the commitment to provide the Assembly with the “tools” to postpone the next territorial general election in order to avoid a potential overlap between federal and territorial general elections, all of which currently have to happen no later than October 2015. This technique is similar to those used in other jurisdictions (eg. Manitoba and Saskatchewan).