Policies, Acts and Regulations


The Department of Lands’ policy framework for land management includes:

The Department of Lands will be reviewing existing policies and procedures with a view to harmonize these for Commissioner's and Territorial lands and to ensure the interests of Indigenous governments, the general public and industry are considered.

Any new policies developed over the long term by the Department of Lands will be based on principles of sustainable and balanced uses of land, and will be completed based on a prioritized work plan.

The Department of Lands is committed to continuous policy evaluation, and intends to make decisions in a transparent and open manner through consultation with the public and our Indigenous partners.

Legislation and Regulations

The Department of Lands management and administration responsibilities stem from the following legislation and regulations:

Public Land Act (Bill 46)

Northwest Territories Lands Act

Commissioner's Land Act

Area Development Act

Surface Rights Board Act

NWT Devolution of Lands and Resources Agreement

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act

The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) establishes public boards to carry out land use planning, regulate the use of land and water, and conduct environmental assessments of proposed developments in the Mackenzie Valley. Regulation of land and water resources in the Mackenzie Valley is part of an integrated system incorporating the Waters Act and other territorial and federal legislation Although the MVRMA remains federal legislation, devolution provided the Government of the Northwest Territories with significant delegated authorities related to land use, in addition to its existing legislated authorities.

Delegated authorities

Certain territorial ministers have been delegated a number of responsibilities and decision-making authorities held by a federal Minister under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, including the authority to approve Type A water licences, the designation of inspectors, the holding of security, duties and functions related to environmental assessment.

For the Minister of Lands, legislated and delegated authorities also include:

  • Land use planning
  • Coordination of project assessment