Whitehorse Daily Star

Yukon-wide class 1 notification is now proposed for 2020

The territorial government and Yukon First Nations with Final Agreements have approved a recommendation from the Mining Memorandum of Understanding table to require notification of Class 1 mineral exploration activities across the territory as of April 1, 2020.

By Whitehorse Star on December 27, 2019

The territorial government and Yukon First Nations with Final Agreements have approved a recommendation from the Mining Memorandum of Understanding table to require notification of Class 1 mineral exploration activities across the territory as of April 1, 2020.

The proposed notification regime would ensure the government and First Nations are aware of Class 1 mining activities across the territory, the parties said in a statement earlier this week.

It will also allow them to address potential impacts on treaty rights through consultation.

First Nations and the government are working together to develop and apply upgrades to the online Class 1 Notification System in time for the 2020 field season.

These upgrades are intended to help support industry by expediting the 25-day review period for operators whose activities have the very least impact on the environment.

“It is important that we balance the need for Class 1 notification with the mineral industry’s need to efficiently proceed with their work,” said Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai. 

“This is a longstanding issue and collaborating with First Nations to address it reflects our government’s commitment to improving Yukon’s mineral resource management system and provide greater certainty for industry.

“I am proud of the respectful and co-operative relationship we have with Yukon First Nations and the good work we are doing together to improve our territory’s mineral regime for the benefit of all Yukoners.”

“The work of the Mining Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations is resulting in positive changes to regulatory processes,” said Peter Johnston, the Council of Yukon First Nations’ grand chief. 

“Every step counts in our efforts to ensure collaboration on mineral development in Yukon.”

Mineral exploration activities are identified as Classes 1 to 4 by specific thresholds in the Placer Mining Land Use Regulation and the Quartz Mining Land Use Regulation.

Class 1 activities are those which are considered to have low potential to cause adverse environmental impacts. Class 1 activities do not trigger a Yukon environmental and socio-economic assessment.

The recommendation on Class 1 will require regulation and legislative amendments before it can be implemented.

Officials are researching options to implement notification of Class 1 mineral exploration activities across Yukon for the 2020 field season.

Class 1 notification and review is currently in place in about 50 per cent of Yukon: within Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in’s traditional territory; within the asserted traditional territories of all Yukon First Nations without Final Agreements; within the territories of the Taku River Tlingit; within the Peel Watershed area; and on Category A and B First Nation Settlement Lands.

The Yukon Forum has endorsed the Mining Memorandum of Understanding.

That agreement between the government and First Nations commits them to work collaboratively to improve mineral resource management.

“Self-Governing Yukon First Nations are pleased to make this progress,” said Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Roberta Joseph.

“We remain committed to managing mining activity in Yukon in a way that is consistent with our agreements and meets our government-to-government aspirations and obligations for environmental protection, economic prosperity, social and fiscal benefits and the preservation of First Nations culture.”

Comments (8)

Up 2 Down 2

Brad MacKinnon on Jan 7, 2020 at 10:40 am

Are closed consultations really considered democratic? YG keeps caving to every FN demand, yet the majority of Yukoners only get to vote for YG. Perhaps everyone should get to vote for FN governments as they seem to be running things now. Do we really need a two-tier system. I say two, but in reality it is about a 14 tier system due to all the various First Nations. Kind of like a third world country.

Up 5 Down 21

lisa on Jan 2, 2020 at 9:58 am

There should be a moratorium on staking until all of the land use planning is done - especially right now in the Beaver river watershed where the ground is being staked in spite of land use planning happening. It is fair to note that the planning is being done outside of the Final Agreement - how is that right and what precedence will it set? Why is there suddenly such a push by the gov to have this particular road built that it has to go above and beyond and to supercede the Final Agreements? What good are the agreements if the gov can walk right over them - are they not supposed to be upholding the FA?

Up 22 Down 27

Jack M. on Dec 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Well, I want to point out it is not 1955 anymore. Today we have constitutional recognition and protection for aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada, including the Yukon. Courts ordered the Pasloski government to consult with the Tr'ondek Hwech'in, a self-governing Yukon First Nation, with respect to all Class 1 activities In fact, it should be pointed out that the Yukon First Nations have agreed that there is no need for notification and review for all Class 1 activities. This is going to ensure that we avoid more litigation. It is not about the Liberals or anyone else selling out the Yukon. It is about respecting aboriginal and treaty rights (whether you agree or not, it is the law in Canada) and promoting reconciliation and constructive intergovernmental relationships. Hopefully the Yukon Party and its supporters realize soon that they cannot turn back the clock to 1955, despite their best efforts with respect to the Little Salmon/Carmacks case, Peel, etc.

Up 21 Down 30

Simon on Dec 30, 2019 at 10:03 am

To the complainers: This is actually a good thing. Submitting a notice means that people with claims in the area or affected First Nations know what’s going on. As Miles states, it’s simply communication and more is better than less.

Up 18 Down 40

5th gen Yukon Liberal on Dec 29, 2019 at 8:25 pm

Goodness, goodness the sky must be falling in. Neo conservatives in the Yukon would make you think that is the case. Although I would agree it is falling in for them. Neo Cons would have you believe the establishment of organized First Nations (bands) would not be good for Yukon. Neo cons would have you believe that Yukon Land Claims would be bad for Yukon. Now neo cons would have you believe that Class 1 notifications will be the death nail? Through all of this the Yukon economy continues to grow and all Yukoners are benefiting, maybe not as many Yukon conservatives are, but is that a bad thing?

Up 61 Down 15

Max Mack on Dec 29, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Yukon-wide notification for Class 1 activities? You have got to be kidding me! What's next? Notification to go for a stroll in the forest?

Up 19 Down 42

Miles Epanhauser on Dec 28, 2019 at 7:42 pm

I support this - it's gov to government communication.

Up 58 Down 23

The Liberals just killed the economy on Dec 27, 2019 at 5:42 pm

The Liberals have officially sold out the Yukon. They have just ensured that we will never diversify our economy. This is just the beginning. More and more concessions will be made before the election to make sure that we never move forward as a territory and the Yukon will now be controlled by 20% of our population.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.