Negotiating devolution is complicated and has been going on since 2001. At times, it has made sense to make a record of discussions and decisions by entering into written agreements. These agreements are important steps that keep the negotiations moving forward.
Past agreements of this kind have included the 2001 Memorandum of Intent and the 2004 Devolution Framework Agreement. These agreements were endorsed by Aboriginal governments, the Government of Canada and the GNWT. In 2007, the GNWT and four regional Aboriginal governments - the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Gwich'in Tribal Council, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated and the Northwest Territory Métis Nation - also signed an Agreement-in-Principle on Resource Revenue Sharing, making provisions for the remaining Aboriginal governments to sign on when they were ready.
Like these earlier agreements, the devolution Agreement-in-Principle (AiP) is another important step in the process. The AiP sets out the subjects that should be included in a final devolution agreement, stating the principles and financial parameters that will guide the negotiation of a final agreement.
The AiP won't be legally binding and will not jeopardize existing or future rights. The AiP is simply an agreement to move to the next stage of negotiations. Approval of the AiP marks the beginning of negotiations leading up to a final devolution agreement. Many of the outstanding issues will be addressed as part of final negotiations.Signing the devolution AiP is a signal to the Government of Canada that we are ready to invest in advancing towards a final agreement.