Twelve Bills Receive Commissioner’s Assent
March 30, 2023
Commissioner Margaret Thom granted assent to 12 new Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) bills on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
In addition to the GNWT budget for 2023-2024, the bills passed this sitting cover a range of themes and issues related to the Northwest Territories, including social safety net priorities, corrections and improvements to existing statutes, carbon pricing benchmarks, income tax harmonization, inclusive language, modernizing legislation for property assessment, modernizing the Fire Prevention Act, and improving access to quality child care and establishing wage standards for early childhood educators.
“As we approach the end of this term, this government remains committed to delivering on our promises and working hard for the people of the Northwest Territories. The bills passed during this session reflect our dedication to ensuring the safety, prosperity, and well-being of our residents, and we will continue to prioritize their needs and interests in everything we do.”
-R.J. Simpson, Government House Leader
The following bills have received Commissioner’s assent:
Bill 56: An Act to Amend the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation Act: This Bill renames the corporation to “Housing Northwest Territories” to align with its new mandate, which focuses on being part of a broader social safety net rather than just a corporate landlord. The Bill will also amend 11 other acts to replace all references to the old name with the new name for consistency. The Act will be in force on April 1, 2023.
Bill 57: Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2022: This Bill corrects inconsistencies and errors in the statutes of the Northwest Territories. The Bill also deals with other matters of minor, non-controversial and uncomplicated nature within the statutes. The Act is in force effective today (March 30, 2023).
Bill 60: An Act to Amend the Petroleum Products and Carbon Tax Act: This Bill aims to increase the price of carbon emissions by $15 per tonne annually, starting from $65 per tonne and reaching $170 per tonne by 2030. This increase is meant to comply with the updated federal carbon pollution pricing requirements. The Bill will replace the current carbon tax rate schedule with a new one, effective from April 1, 2023, to April 1, 2030. However, carbon tax rebates for heating fuel and large emitters will no longer be available. To offset the impact of this change on residents, the GNWT will provide new carbon tax rebate programs. The GNWT will provide new programs through changes to regulation and other measures to assist residents with the increase to the cost of living. The Act will be in force on April 1, 2023.
Bill 62: An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, No. 2: This Bill will harmonize income tax legislation with Canada as required under the Canada-Northwest Territories Tax Collection Agreement. The proposed amendments will also allow the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to share NWT income tax data with Finance Canada to support territorial tax policy design and provide a more detailed analysis of the implications of federal tax measures for the territorial tax system. The changes are technical and administrative in nature and expected to have negligible financial implications. Provisions of this Act are deemed to have come into force at times specified in the Bill.
Bill 63: An Act to Amend the Official Languages Act: This Bill amends the Official Languages Act to be more inclusive through the use of terminology and reaffirm the commitment of the Government to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This Bill will also clarify and strengthen the role of the Language Commissioner and will merge the Official Languages Board and the Aboriginal Languages Revitalization Board to improve efficiency. This Act is in force effective today (March 30, 2023).
Bill 66: An Act to Amend the Property Assessment and Taxation Act: This Bill amends the Property Assessment and Taxation Act as part of a phased approach to address administrative and operational issues and to modernize terminology. The changes include streamlining certain processes, increasing appointment terms for board members, limiting decision-making timelines, and giving the Director of Assessment more authority. The amendments aim to support a fair and effective system to generate funds for maintaining public infrastructure and services. This Act is in force effective today (March 30, 2023).
Bill 67: An Act to Amend the Fire Prevention Act: This Bill amends the Fire Prevention Act to add a liability exclusion provision for fire officials, the authorization for the Fire Marshal to delegate their duties and powers, and modernizes language, including the use of gender-neutral language. These provisions will come into force on a date to be determined. Further, Bill 67 also amends the regulatory functions and creates a clearer, more efficient plan review process. This includes an avenue of appeal for parties who disagree with the Office of the Fire Marshal’s plan review orders. These additional amendments will come into force on a future date once the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has developed regulations for the Plan Review Appeal Board following further engagement with specific industry stakeholder organizations.
Bill 68: An Act to Amend the Child Day Care Act: This Bill amends the Child Care Act to establish an early childhood educator certification process with a corresponding wage grid to improve the quality of licensed ELCC programs and increase the retention and recruitment of early childhood educators. Additionally, the amendments include increasing inclusion and reporting measures, authorizing cost control regulations to make child care more affordable, protecting the rights of families by enabling the addition of mandatory provisions to all contracts with child care programs, and updating the language in the Act to ensure compliance with legislation and apply gender-neutral language. This Act will come into force on a future date or dates to be determined.
Bill 86: Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 3, 2022-2023: This Bill increases the 2022-2023 Government of the Northwest Territories appropriation for capital investment expenditures by approximately $24 million dollars. This Act is deemed to have come into force on April 1, 2022.
Bill 87: Supplementary Appropriation Act (Operations Expenditures), No. 3, 2022-2023: This Bill increases the 2022-2023 Government of the Northwest Territories appropriation for operations expenditures by approximately $44 million dollars. This Act is deemed to have come into force on April 1, 2022.
Bill 88: Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 1, 2023-2024: This Bill increases the 2023-2024 Government of the Northwest Territories appropriation by $8.3 million for capital investment expenditures and by $36.8 million dollars for operations expenditures. This Act is deemed to have come into force on April 1, 2022.
Bill 89: Appropriation Act (Operations Expenditures) 2023-2024: Budget 2023-24 projects a $178 million operating surplus after adjustments with revenue of $2.5 billion and expenditures of $2.2 billion. Combined with improvements to the capital budgeting process and strengthened debt management policies, Budget 2023-24 will leave the 19th Legislative Assembly in better financial shape than it started. This Act will be in force on April 1, 2023.
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