Bill 39
Environmental Rights Act

The information on this page has been compiled by Ecology north

Bill 39 full text

Status: Passed

Review the Standing Committee Video

Excerpt from the published text of the Bill:

The Bill takes steps to modernize and broaden the existing Environmental Rights Act. It updates language used in the current Act to make it consistent with more recent legislation. It broadens existing rights under the Act to request an investigation, prosecute an offence and bring an action. The Bill provides correspondingly broader protections for employees who engage in those and other processes. With respect to the right to request an investigation, the Bill provides clearer timelines and responsibilities around the Minister’s obligation to report.
The Bill requires the Executive Council to prepare a statement of environmental values and requires departments and select public bodies to consider that statement in their decision-making. It mandates the tabling of a State of the Environment Report for the Northwest Territories, sets timelines around that report and provides for public comment on that report.

The Hansard is the daily printed record of the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of the NWT
Scroll to page 5059 for MLA comments on Bill 39 at second reading

GNWT Documents

Early in the legislative process, the government department sponsoring the bill compiles the results of their preliminary public consultation efforts into one or more reports. These reports may include an engagement or discussion paper and a What We Heard report which are often published on a webpage with additional resources for public engagement.

Prior to the Bill being brought to Standing Committee, the department sponsoring the Bill accepts submissions from various stakeholders on the proposed content and scope of the Bill. These stakeholders include non-governmental organization, individuals, and businesses. Submissions from the non-governmental organizations involved in the creation of this website are below.

Alternatives North submission
Alternatives North

how to get involved

The purpose of public hearings is to give members of the public the opportunity to speak to the Committee directly about the legislation. Your voice as an NWT resident carries weight and your comments will help to inform the Committee’s recommendations for changes to the Bill before it becomes law.

There are two pathways that you can use to get involved and submit your feedback:

    1. Provide a submission to the Committee: The Committee will accept written and oral submissions from members of the public. If you are unable to attend one of the public hearings listed above in person, you are welcome to provide a written submission instead. Please send us an email and we will forward your comments to the Committee. Here are a few tips on preparing your submission:
      • At this stage is the legislative process, it is no longer the time to influence the principles of a bill or the process of bringing forward the legislation. This is the time to make very specific recommendations on changes or inclusions for specific sections to the bill. 

      • It is helpful to clearly state the section number of the Bill that should be changed, what the issue is for each change proposed, and what the proposed change is with specific wording or the concept that should be included or deleted.

    2. Direct your feedback to Ecology North: we value your perspectives, and if you prefer to submit your comments through us, or for us to integrate them into our submissions please feel free to. This is a more appropriate method for individuals with broad concerns, rather than very specific points which are better suited to pathway #1.

For both instances, please send an email to and we will either forward your comments to the Committee or incorporate them into our own.

Expert review for the Environmental Rights Act has been provided by Professor Lynda Collins, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law,
Centre for Environmental Law & Global Sustainability.

Public submissions to the Standing Committee will be posted to this tab as they become available. Please refer to the schedule above.

Council of Canadians ERA submission to standing committee
Council of Canadians
Tłı̨chǫ Government
Inuvialuit Game Council
Northwest Territory Métis Nation
David R. Boyd
Professor Lynda Collins
Nancy Vail, member of the public
Matilda Becker, member of the public
Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya
Sahtu Renewable Resources Board

Header photo by Jennifer Broadbridge
Bottom photo by Brian Kinzie