N.W.T. Devolution Act gets royal assent, becomes law

The N.W.T. Devolution Act gained royal assent Tuesday, the final step in the legislative process.

Transfer of powers over land and resources to happen April 1

The N.W.T. Devolution Act gained royal assent Tuesday, the final step in the legislative process to becoming law.

The act will take effect April 1, transferring power over land and resources to the government of the Northwest Territories.

The act also merges of the Northwest Territories’ four land and water boards into a single superboard, a controversial proposal among N.W.T. aboriginal groups whose land and water boards were created through land claims.  

In response to a letter of protest from Dene National chief Bill Erasmus, Queen Elizabeth's senior correspondence officer said she would not intervene in the passage of the act but had instructed staff to forward the letter to Canada's governor general.

Erasmus says the Dene Nation put out multiple requests to meet with Johnston and ask him not to sign the bill, but got no response. Erasmus says it's clear the only way to stop Bill C-15 is in court.

"It's unfortunate the Governor General has decided to take the route that he has but I imagine that's the way he sees the world and it makes it more clear to us," he said. "That's important."

Aboriginal groups in the N.W.T. have discussed launching a legal challenge to the act.