ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 26 — June 30, 2012

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Order Amending the Description of Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act

Statutory authority

Canada National Parks Act

Sponsoring agency

Parks Canada Agency

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Order.)

1. Background

The Canada National Parks Act (the Act) requires that any withdrawal of land from Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada (the National Park), which spans the boundary of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, for the purpose of land entitlement under Treaty Number Eight (Treaty 8), be done by Order in Council. Under paragraph 38(1)(b) of the Act, the Governor in Council may, by order, amend or replace the description of the National Park in accordance with an agreement between Canada and the Salt River First Nation or with any other First Nation formed from the division of that First Nation, for the purpose of withdrawing any land from the National Park that may be required for the purpose of treaty land entitlement.

2. Issue

The Treaty Land Entitlement Settlement Agreement (the Settlement Agreement) between the Salt River First Nation, the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories signed on June 22, 2002, provides for the creation of the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve. The Settlement Agreement sets aside approximately 267 km2 (166 mi2) of reserve lands at 16 sites in and around the Town of Fort Smith, and 4 sites in the National Park. An Order in Council is required to remove the lands from the National Park.

3. Objectives

The proposed Order Amending the Description of Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act would amend the current description of the National Park in Schedule 1 to the Act to allow the four parcels to be withdrawn from the National Park in order to be added to the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve.

4. Description

Four parcels of land totalling approximately 13.65 km2 would be removed from the National Park for the purpose of adding them to the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve. The four parcels that have been selected from within the National Park are Pine Lake (3.95 km2), Little Buffalo River (6.9 km2), Salt River (0.4 km2) and Parsons Lake (2.4 km2).

Members of the Salt River First Nation would benefit from the use of these culturally important lands for recreational and traditional activities (e.g. camping and berry picking) and seasonal accommodation (e.g. trappers’ cabins and summer camps). Prohibited land uses at all four sites (as per the Settlement Agreement) include commercial timber harvesting and the commercial extraction of minerals or hydrocarbons, as well as the hunting of bison. An environmental assessment has determined that there would be no adverse effect on the National Park’s ecological integrity for the following reasons:

  • — provisions within the Settlement Agreement restrict the development of the Indian Reserve to land uses that are compatible with the ecological integrity of the surrounding National Park landscape (e.g. camping and berry picking);
  • — Parks Canada and the Salt River First Nation are committed to ongoing consultation with each other in relation to land use planning in respect of Indian Reserve land and adjacent land within the National Park; and
  • — Parks Canada and the Salt River First Nation have agreed that Indian Reserve land will be managed with traditional care for the environment in a way to preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the National Park for the benefit of present and future generations of all Canadians.

The four parcels of land within the National Park that were selected for the creation of an Indian reserve have never been used in a way that would have lead to possible contamination. These four parcels of land were selected by the Salt River First Nation because of their cultural value and support of traditional activities such as berry picking, hunting and trapping.

This regulatory initiative would be the third time this provision of the Act has been used. The first, the Order Amending the Description of Riding Mountain National Park of Canada in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act, was approved and registered as SOR/2003-345 on October 23, 2003. In this case, parcels of land were withdrawn from the National Park for the Keeseekoowenin Ojibway First Nation. The second, the Order Amending the Description of Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act, was approved and registered as SOR/2004-300 on December 7, 2004. In this case, parcels of land were withdrawn from the National Park for the Smith’s Landing First Nation.

Aside from the general administrative costs associated with this land excision, there would be no additional cost to Parks Canada. Any additional administrative costs related to the addition of the four parcels of land to the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve would be assumed by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (formally known as Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) and cannot be estimated at this time.

5. Consultation

The Salt River First Nation Settlement Agreement was signed in a public ceremony in Fort Smith on June 22, 2002. It officially came into effect when it was formally signed by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on March 26, 2002.

In December 1998, Parks Canada initiated negotiations on the creation of Indian reserves within the National Park as part of Canada’s overall settlement of two outstanding treaty land entitlement claims under Treaty 8. Two bands were involved — the Smith’s Landing First Nation and the Salt River First Nation. In the case of both First Nations, Parks Canada negotiated the lands that would become Indian reserves in the National Park at a side-table process. The National Park chapter is a schedule to the final Settlement Agreement between Canada and the Salt River First Nation and was negotiated by Parks Canada. The broader negotiations with Salt River First Nation were led by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

A provision was also included in the Act to enable the excision of National Park lands to establish the Indian reserves for Smith’s Landing First Nation and Salt River First Nation by Order in Council, once a Settlement Agreement had been approved.

During the pre-consultation phase on the Settlement Agreement led by the Government of Canada in 2000, there were a number of media releases and a public information meeting was held to outline the treaty land entitlement negotiations to settle Salt River First Nation’s outstanding land provisions in Treaty 8.

Following consultations with Aboriginal groups associated with the National Park about the proposed land selection by the Salt River First Nation, the Settlement Agreement, including the chapter dealing with the excision of lands from the National Park, was ratified by Salt River First Nation Band members in December 2001.

On March 20, 2001, a public information meeting regarding the Salt River First Nation land selection in the National Park was held at the Pelican Rapids Inn, in Fort Smith. The meeting was attended by members of the public, the Salt River First Nation, the Smith’s Landing First Nation and the South Slave Métis Council (now know as the Northwest Territory Métis Nation). The Chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Fort Chipewyan, the Chief of Smith’s Landing First Nation in Fort Fitzgerald, the Chief of the Salt River First Nation, the President of the South Slave Métis Council, the Mayor of Fort Smith, the local media, as well as the local Member of the Legislative Assembly were also invited to the Fort Smith public meeting. Only the Chief of Salt River First Nation and a local journalist accepted the invitation.

At the Fort Smith public meeting, two issues were raised by the participants: (1) the impact of the land selection on public recreation in the National Park at two of the locations — Salt River and Pine Lake — and (2) a request from a member of the South Slave Métis to be consulted about the land selection as they had asserted an overlapping claim for the lands in question. The Salt River First Nation reassured the individual that there would be no recreational impact. The other person was advised that the Crown (i.e. Parks Canada) had a legal obligation to meet the treaty obligations of the First Nations in the area, who had originally requested land in the National Park before it was established in 1921.

In addition to the local public information meeting held in March 2001, Parks Canada also advised various national environmental non-governmental organizations (e.g. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) about the Settlement Agreement. No objections were raised.

On July 5, 2011, a letter was sent to all 11 Aboriginal groups associated with the National Park to inform them of Parks Canada’s intention to formally proceed with this Order in Council. The only response was from the Northwest Territory Métis Nation (NWTMN), primarily concerned with the original consultation process regarding land selection under the Settlement Agreement and how it would impact its ability to continue to utilize lands within the National Park for traditional harvesting purposes, and any other interests it might have in the land.

Parks Canada responded to the NWTMN by indicating that it had been consulted earlier as part of the Government of Canada’s overall consultation process for treaty land entitlement and that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada had provided it with copies of documents reflecting an engagement with the NWTMN during the Salt River Settlement Agreement negotiations.

The NWTMN has also requested an opportunity to select lands in the National Park as part of their own land selection negotiations. The rights and privileges of the NWTMN in the National Park are being formally addressed by Canada through the federal claims negotiations process.

In terms of the utilization of lands within the National Park for traditional harvesting purposes, Parks Canada is currently working with the NWTMN, and other Aboriginal groups surrounding the National Park, to address their concerns through the revision of the Wood Buffalo National Park Game Regulations.

In early November 2011, the NWTMN was provided with an additional two weeks to comment on Parks Canada’s response. No further comments were received.

6. “One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this proposal as there are no businesses currently operating on these parcels of land. Furthermore, commercial activities on these parcels of land are identified as prohibited land uses under the Settlement Agreement.

7. Rationale

Paragraph 38(1)(b) of the Act provides for the excision of the National Park lands to establish the Indian reserves for Smith’s Landing First Nation and Salt River First Nation by Order in Council, once a Settlement Agreement had been approved. The Salt River First Nation Settlement Agreement, including the National Park chapter dealing with the excision of lands from the National Park, was ratified by Salt River First Nation Band members in December 2001.

8. Implementation, enforcement and service standards

In accordance with the Settlement Agreement, upon approval of this regulatory initiative by the Governor in Council, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada would facilitate all subsequent steps for the land transfer to the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve whereby the land would be administered under the Indian Act.

Process to add land to the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve

A. Amendment to the National Park description

Parks Canada would submit the proposed Order in Council for approval by the Governor in Council to amend the description of the National Park for the purpose of withdrawing four parcels of land from the National Park for purposes of entitlement to land under Treaty 8 and the Settlement Agreement.

B. Parcels of land revert back to province or territory

The three parcels of land in the southern section of the National Park located in Alberta would revert back to Alberta and one parcel of land in the northern end of the National Park located in the Northwest Territories would revert back to the federal government (i.e. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada).

The parcels of land located in Alberta cannot be transferred directly to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada because, under the Alberta Schedule to the Constitution Act,1930, the administration and control of provincial Crown land, including mines and minerals, rest with the Government of Alberta.

C. Parcels of land transferred to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Using an Order in Council approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the Province of Alberta would transfer, in perpetuity, the administration and control of the three parcels of land, including mines and minerals, to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, pursuant to paragraph 14 of the Alberta Schedule to the Constitution Act, 1930.

D. Addition of four parcels of land to the Salt River First Nation Indian Reserve

Via another Order in Council for approval by the Governor in Council, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada would undertake the necessary steps as set out in the Settlement Agreement, to set aside the land for the Indian Reserve, including the land within the Northwest Territories, for the use and benefit of the Salt River First Nation.

9. Contact

Julie Lacasse
Policy and Regulatory Advisor
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Parks Canada Agency
25 Eddy Street, 4th Floor (25-4-Q)
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5
Telephone: 819-994-5138
Fax: 819-997-5140
Email: julie.lacasse@pc.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is hereby given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to paragraph 38(1)(b) of the Canada National Parks Act (see footnote a), proposes to make the annexed Order Amending the Description of Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada in Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act.

Interested persons may make representations with respect to the proposed Order within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Julie Lacasse, Policy and Regulatory Advisor, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Branch, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation Directorate, Parks Canada Agency, 25 Eddy Street, 4th Floor, Room 400 (25-4-Q), Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5 (fax: 819-994-5140).

Ottawa, June 19, 2012

JURICA ČAPKUN
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

ORDER AMENDING THE DESCRIPTION OF WOOD BUFFALO
NATIONAL PARK OF CANADA IN SCHEDULE 1 TO
THE CANADA NATIONAL PARKS ACT

AMENDMENT

1. The last two paragraphs of the description of Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Canada National Parks Act (see footnote 1) are replaced by the following:

Fourthly: in Theoretical Township 121, Range 14, and Theoretical Township 122, Ranges 13 and 14, west of the 4th Meridian, all those portions comprising the Exterior Boundaries of Survey of Tsu Nedehe Tue Indian Reserve No. 196H (Pine Lake Site) as shown on a plan of survey recorded in the Canada Lands Surveys Records in Ottawa under number 85626 and registered at the Land Titles Office in Edmonton under number 0126334, the lands containing 5.86 square kilometres (586 hectares), more or less, together with all mines and minerals;

Fifthly: in Theoretical Township 121, Range 13, west of the 4th Meridian and in Theoretical Township 121, Range 14, west of the 4th Meridian, all those portions comprising the Exterior Boundaries of Survey of Dehneeah Túe Indian Reserve No. 195D (Pine Lake Site) as shown on a plan of survey recorded in the Canada Lands Surveys Records in Ottawa under number 92668 and registered at the Land Titles Office in Edmonton under number 0727787, the lands containing 3.95 square kilometres (395.3 hectares), more or less, together with all mines and minerals;

Sixthly: in Theoretical Township 124, Range 12, west of the 4th Meridian, all those portions comprising the Exterior Boundaries of Survey of Delttho Tthén Indian Reserve No. 195C (Salt River Site) as shown on a plan of survey recorded in the Canada Lands Surveys Records in Ottawa under number 92669 and registered at the Land Titles Office in Edmonton under number 0727788, the lands containing 0.41 square kilometres (41.1 hectares), more or less, together with all mines and minerals;

Seventhly: in Theoretical Township 125, Range 15, west of the 4th Meridian, all those portions comprising the Exterior Boundaries of Survey of Deneyutchelea Indian Reserve No. 195B (Parsons Lake Site) as shown on a plan of survey recorded in the Canada Lands Surveys Records in Ottawa under number 92670 and registered at the Land Titles Office in Edmonton under number 0727789, the lands containing 2.41 square kilometres (241 hectares), more or less, together with all mines and minerals;

Eighthly: all of Lots 1000 and 1001, Quad 85A/2, comprising the Exterior Boundaries of Survey of Tourangeau Indian Reserve No. 195A (Little Buffalo River Site) as shown on a plan of survey recorded in the Canada Lands Surveys Records in Ottawa under number 92396 and registered at the Land Titles Office in Yellowknife under number 4146, the lands described as Lot 1000 containing 6.55 square kilometres (655 hectares), more or less, and the lands described as Lot 1001 containing 0.36 square kilometres (35.7 hectares), more or less, together with all mines and minerals;

The remainder containing about 44 778 square kilometres (4,477,832 hectares).

COMING INTO FORCE

2. This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.

[26-1-o]

Footnote a
 S.C. 2000, c. 32

Footnote 1
 S.C. 2000, c. 32