Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions concerning self-government? Inuvialuit Regional Corporation has prepared a selection of frequently asked questions to better your understanding on this topic.

If your question is not listed or answered below, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to provide you with relevant information. Self-Government Communications Advisor in Government Affairs Division is Samantha MacKay, smackay@inuvialuit.com 1 867 777-7033 

How will the Inuvialuit Government be different from Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC)?

The details have yet to be worked out on exactly how the governance councils for the Inuvialuit Government and IRC will differ. However, for day-to-day work, the Inuvialuit Government will be responsible for making laws and delivering programs and services for Inuvialuit, while IRC will continue to represent the Inuvialuit and our rights and benefits under the land claim.

How close are we to establishing Inuvialuit self-government?

Although self-government negations have been ongoing for more than 20 years, we are now closer than ever to making Inuvialuit self-government a reality. The negotiators for the Inuvialuit, Government of Canada and Government of the NWT reached an agreement-in-principle in 2015. The three parties have since begun the work of negotiating a final agreement, financial agreements and an implementation plan.

Once these agreements are in place, they will have to be ratified by the Inuvialuit. This means that you will be asked to vote on whether you support them.

How will we be represented on the Inuvialuit Government?

The exact model of representation on the Inuvialuit Government Council has not been decided yet. What is clear is that there will be an ataniq (leader) and representatives from either the community councils or community corporations. The ataniq could be elected by the community council board of directors or by all eligible Inuvialuit. The details are still being discussed by Inuvialuit leadership.

How will the Inuvialuit government compare to other levels of government?

All governments are responsible for making laws and delivering programs and services. But the types of laws they can make and the types of programs and services they can deliver are often different. Representation can also be different between the levels of government.

The Inuvialuit Government will be able to create laws about programs and services for Inuvialuit, and then deliver those programs and services. These include areas such as education, child and family services and income support, among others. The Inuvialuit Government will also be able to collect revenues as a legal government. You will be represented by people from your community, either through your community council, direct elections to the new government, or both.

Other levels of government, such as the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), or your municipal government, also create and deliver programs and services within the scope of their powers. These could include things such as health benefits for Indigenous people (federal), NWT-wide education (territorial) and garbage collection (municipal). Each level of government collects its own taxes, and can receive funding in other ways as well. For each of these types of government, you are represented by a person elected from your riding (federal and territorial) or your community (municipal).

In many cases, the areas in which the Inuvialuit Government can choose to deliver programs and services will be similar to those of the GNWT. However, while GNWT programs and services apply to all NWT residents, the Inuvialuit Government programs and services will only be for Inuvialuit.

Why is the final self-government agreement still being negotiated?

Although the Inuvialuit established our land claim in 1984, the federal government did not recognize the inherent right to self-government until 1995, meaning it would not negotiate self-government agreements before then.

In 1996, the Inuvialuit and Gwich’in began negotiating a joint self-government agreement. An agreement-in-principle was reached in 2003, but soon afterward the Gwich’in decided to pursue their own self-government options.

In 2006, IRC began negotiating a new agreement on behalf of the Inuvialuit, and an agreement-in-principle was signed in 2015 by the Inuvialuit, the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. The three parties are now negotiating the final agreement and other related pieces.

What are the benefits of Inuvialuit self-government?

Creating a government for Inuvialuit, made up of Inuvialuit, means that we will be better able to address the needs of our people. For example:

  • Your government representative would have a vote on things that could affect your life, such as how best to provide education to Inuvialuit.
  • The Inuvialuit Government could create laws and policies about programs and services designed for Inuvialuit.
  • Inuvialuit culture and language can be reflected in our government’s programs and services.
  • Any programs and services developed under the Inuvialuit Government can be delivered in a way that is best suited to your community.
  • The close relationships in our communities means that your Inuvialuit Government representative can be easily reached and available.
What abilities will Inuvialuit self-government give us?

Establishing the Inuvialuit Government will give the Inuvialuit a number of abilities that we do not have right now. Some of those abilities include:

  • Creating laws about programs or services for Inuvialuit. These include areas such as education, child and family services and income support, among others.
  • Generating revenue as a legal government.
  • Creating programs and services for Inuvialuit that reflect Inuvialuit priorities.
  • Creating a regional service agency that ensures the programs and services of both the Inuvialuit Government and the GNWT are delivered efficiently and effectively in our communities.
What will the Inuvialuit Constitution include?

The Inuvialuit Constitution will ensure that the Inuvialuit Government is accountable to Inuvialuit. The Constitution will protect the rights and freedoms of Inuvialuit and provide for the establishment and maintenance of the relationships between the Inuvialuit Government and the Inuvialuit corporations established under the IFA, so they work together to serve the Inuvialuit.

The Constitution will outline the structure of the Inuvialuit Government and set out guidelines to determine who is eligible to nominate candidates for Inuvialuit Council elections, who may vote in the elections, who may hold office in the Inuvialuit Council, the powers and duties of the Councillors, their length of term of office, as well as the procedures for the Council and Councillors to carry out their respective powers and duties.

The Constitution will also provide for the enactment of Inuvialuit Laws, the amendment of the Constitution itself, and a system of financial administration which will ensure that the Inuvialuit Government will be financially accountable to Inuvialuit.

When will the final Inuvialuit Self-Government Agreement be put in place?

We are hoping to complete negotiations within the next two to four years. We will also need to have a financial agreement and implementation plan and approve the Inuvialuit Government's constitution. The approval process will include all Inuvialuit beneficiaries voting on the final agreement. If they approve it then the Legislative Assembly and Parliament will need to approve it as well.

How is the final Inuvialuit Self-Government Agreement approved or ratified?

Now that the Agreement-in-Principle has been signed, the Parties have begun to negotiate the final agreement. Once those negotiations are complete, the Parties will carry out an approval process for the final Inuvialuit Self-Government Agreement.

First, the Board of Directors of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation will decide whether to recommend the final Inuvialuit Self-Government Agreement for approval. Inuvialuit would then hold a vote of all eligible Inuvialuit to approve the final Inuvialuit Self-Government Agreement. Then, the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada would need to approve the final agreement according to their processes and introduce legislation into the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and the Parliament of Canada.