Frequently Asked Questions

Photo: Peter Mather

Acronyms and Abbreviations
YLUPC Yukon Land Use Planning Council (the Council)
Commission Regional Land Use Planning Commission
UFA Umbrella Final Agreement
CYFN Council for Yukon First Nations
Minister Min. Energy, Mines and Resources
TT Traditional Territory
DAP Development Assessment Process
YESAB Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board
What is Land Use Planning and why is regional planning done?
How is land use planning done in the Yukon?

The signing of the UFA, and the subsequent First Nations land-claims settlements, introduced a new process through Chapter 11, which specifies how regional planning shall be carried out in the Yukon. Land use plans are written by Regional Land Use Planning Commissions (or just Commissions). Commissions are appointed by the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. Commissions consist of individuals nominated by the Yukon Government and the Yukon First Nation(s) whose traditional territory falls within the planning region. These individuals are Yukon residents with long term familiarity with the region being planned.

Commission members are paid honoraria for time spent in developing the plan, although they are not representatives of their nominating body. Each Commission may hire staff to assist in developing a land use plan that it will recommend to the affected Yukon First Nation(s) and the Yukon Government for approval.

Plans are approved by the Yukon Government and affected Yukon First Nation(s). Upon approval, land use plans provide management direction and a general vision for land use in a region. More information on how planning is done in the Yukon follows.

What are the phases of regional planning?

These are the steps that have generally been used for past regional planning processes in the Yukon. The process may look different to some degree depending on who the Parties to the Plan are and the decisions made by the Commission.

The terms Party and Parties refer to the Yukon Government and the Yukon First Nations involved in a planning process.

Who funds land use planning?

The UFA Implementation Plan provides up to $7.428-million in 1992 dollars for regional land use planning commissions. The YLUPC also receives an annual operating budget of $447,519 in 1992 dollars to carry out its responsibilities under the UFA, which includes providing assistance to Commissions. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources is responsible for approving the annual budgets and work plans of the YLUPC and Commissions, although the funding is ultimately provided by Canada.

How many planning regions are in the Yukon?

YLUPC has recommended 8 planning regions in the Yukon:

  • North Yukon (Vuntut Gwitchin TT),
  • Peel River Watershed (Na-cho Nyäk Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, and Vuntut Gwitchin TTs)
  • Dawson (Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in TT),
  • Northern Tutchone (Na-cho Nyäk Dun, Little Salmon Carmacks and Selkirk TTs)
  • Teslin (Teslin Tlingit TT),
  • Whitehorse (Kwanlin Dün, Ta’an Kwach’an Council and Carcross Tagish TTs)
  • Kluane (Kluane, Champagne & Aishihik TTs)
  • Kaska (Ross River Dena and Liard First Nation TTs)

(See the map or the September 2011 recommendation)

Can land use planning occur in a region without a land claim agreement?

Land use planning can occur in areas without a land claim agreement.

However, YLUPC does not currently have a mandate or resources to support the development of plans where First Nation Final Agreements are not in place. The $7.4 million provided by Canada has been designated for Regional Land Use Planning as specified in the UFA and in each First Nation Final Agreement.

How much authority does a land use plan have?

Land use plans are not legally binding documents. However, they are intended to provide comprehensive guidance for management decisions.

Chapter 11 of the UFA specifies that after Governments and First Nations approve a land use plan, they will conform with it. Governments are not required to enact or amend legislation in order to implement a plan.

There is also a legislated requirement under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act (YESAA) for a review of projects for conformity with approved land use plans.

How can the public become involved in planning?

Commissions are required to make opportunities for public participation, as well as use the knowledge and traditional experience of Yukon First Nations People and other residents of the planning region.

Each Commission determines how public participation will occur, such as through surveys, face-to-face-meetings, public forums and interactive websites.

Public input is a key component in developing land use plans and requires an equal commitment on behalf of the Commission and the residents of the region.

How do land use plans fit in with other plans (municipal, area plans, etc.)?

Regional land use plans and other plans should be cohesive and integrated.

Land use planning regions exclude existing National Parks and National Historic Sites, subdivision plans, local area plans, and all lands within community boundaries.

A Commission may determine that a sub-regional plan is necessary in certain areas where further, more detailed planning is needed. Sub-regional plans may be developed during or following the development of the regional land use plan.

How is Land Use Planning related to the Development Assessment Process?

The Development Assessment Process (DAP) is addressed in Chapter 12 of the Umbrella Final Agreement and the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA). DAP is the process for evaluating the environmental social, cultural, and economic effects of development projects undertaken in the Yukon and providing for the mitigation of the adverse effects before projects are approved. This process is run by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB).

Both YESAA and Land Use Plans are concerned with how and where development occurs and YESAB is an important component in implementing land use plans. In reviewing proposed projects, YESAB it must be determined whether a project conforms to the land use plan, and if not, how the project should be modified to conform to the plan. Although consistency with the plan does not determine whether a project can proceed or not, it will be factored into the decision.