Bill 29, Resource Royalty Information Disclosure Statute Amendment Act is a private Member's bill introduced by MLA O'Reilly. Bill 29 received second reading on June 1st, 2021, and was referred to Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment.
Bill 29 proposes to amend three pieces of legislation to the Mineral Resources Act (not yet in force), the Northwest Territories Lands Act, and the Petroleum Resources Act. The amendments would allow the Minister to disclose information of a confidential nature received by development and evaluation policy (such as royalty payments) to Members of the Legislative Assembly and Indigenous governments subject to restrictions for further disclosure.
Committee sought feedback from Indigenous governments, companies currently paying royalties in NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines. Stakeholder comments were received: Tlicho government, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines with the Mining Association of Canada, Arctic Canadian Diamond Company, The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, Alternatives North.
Mr. Speaker, stakeholder submissions (Appendix A) were polarized between opposition overall of the bill versus support of the bill including suggestions to strengthen the clauses. The industry was not supportive of the bill.
The bill was viewed as creating uncertainty in an already poor investment climate and duplicative or unaligned to other jurisdictions. There was concern with sharing confidential tax information beyond staff with financial and tax expertise such as business and financial information shared with staff that may not have responsibility or expertise to protect sensitive financial data.
Confidentiality provisions were viewed to protect industry investment and the sharing of information more broadly increased concerns regarding the likelihood of breach of confidentiality. The scope of information to be shared was viewed as unclear and not necessarily supported by all parties. The bill was not viewed to support the mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories, premature to the concluding the review of Mining Fiscal Regime Review.
The Tlicho government, the Sahtu Secretariat and Alternatives North supported the intent of the bill. The Tlicho Government suggested clarifying the purpose and scope of implementation of the bill with provisions to ensure no information related to Indigenous governments would be shared. Both the Sahtu Secretariat and Alternatives North suggested to strengthen the bill requiring the Minister to share information.
Mr. Speaker, if it's okay I will let the Member from Deh Cho.