Folder Plenary Panel #1: What Do We Need to Know to Plan in the North

This session examined some of what planners and decision makers need to know to create meaningful northern plans.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016. 1:40 pm – 3:00 pm.


pdf The Residential School Legacy- What Planners Need to Know Popular


Laura Cabott Lawyer, Cabott & Cabott and Wilbur Smarch – Land & Resource Use Planner, Teslin Tlingit Council

One of the most defining characteristics of the ‘New North’ is the inclusion and full participation of Indigenous people in how things are done. One of the key changes in making this the new reality is how, as a country we have come to understand and fully appreciate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools (IRS). This tragic legacy has shaped generations of Indigenous people. Now that Canada has heard the ‘Truth’, ‘Reconciliation’ is next.  Understanding the historical context will better inform how we plan, live and re-imagine northern communities. My presentation, will be made along with a Yukon First Nation member and IRS survivor. We will talk about how and why we still see evidence of IRS today. Why is this important to know? And how can planners be in a better position to work alongside Indigenous partners in creating community and regional plans that substantially recognize this unique relationship? We believe this is critical in helping planners do their jobs in creating healthy, engaged, sustainable communities. This will be a multi-media presentation that includes first person accounts of the impact of IRS.

pdf Back to the Future: The Evolution of Regional Planning in Canada’s North Popular


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Robertson_Northern Plan Conference.pdf

Ian D. Robertson MCIP, RPP Principal & Senior Planner, Inukshuk Planning & Development

Whether land use planning in Canada’s north is judged successful is a matter of perspective, attitude and political expectation. Understanding the historical context provides clues for program improvement.
Regional planning is a decision support tool encompassing principles of transparency, inclusion and rational analysis. Resource use allocation choices among competing interests and values are made through reasoned research and public debate with the land use plan becoming the roadmap for individual and collective cooperative action.
Five events shaped northern land use planning. The discovery of oil and gas at Prudhoe Bay(1968) resulting in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (1971), the James Bay & Northern Quebec Agreement (1975), Berger Inquiry in 1977 and DIAND’s Northern Land Use Policy (1981) collectively influenced program design.
Canada managed northern lands with a “father knows best” attitude. Land use planning would be a top down process rooted in DIAND’s Ottawa headquarters. Instead of cooperation and coordination, the net results were positional battles, infighting and mistrust. The federal bureaucrats badly miscalculated where the territorial governments and indigenous people were coming from. There would be no power sharing so the process failed. Even the introduction of a shared Policy Advisory Committee in 1985 could not move planning forward. The program was still sidetracked by land claim negotiations, devolution discussions and mistrust. The process collapsed in 1990 but has since been resurrected in its latest form through settlement of most land claims and division of the Northwest Territories.
Despite hiccups, regional planning is proceeding and continues to evolve in all three territories. The initial “top-down”, centralized control model failed because of inequities in power, a lack of measurable objectives and the absence of a shared vision. A new partnership model is evolving creating a paradigm shift allowing for a more pragmatic, consensus driven, and ecosystem based approach to land and resource management.

pdf From Regional Planning to Governance: Creative Connections for Effective Goal-Seeking and Decision-Making Popular


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Scott Slocombe - McMurry Research Chair in Environmental Geography Geography and ES, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON

There is a long history of comprehensive regional land use planning in the Yukon, and in western and northern Canada, though scattered over the region and recent decades. These initiatives have had diverse origins and pursued many purposes, including land and water conservation, sustainability, development, and multiple use management.  Planning processes are also increasingly seeking more scientific, monitoring and cumulative effects-based foundations. Recently, comprehensive regional planning initiatives face particular challenges in balancing multiple resource use demands and negotiating complex and conflicting governance relationships. Many forms of planning process and product have been tried: local, regional, special commissions, top-down, partnerships, arms-length agencies. The diverse structures, experiences and lessons from planning processes and frameworks in BC, Alberta, and Yukon increasingly highlight the need for linked, collaborative, and flexible processes, grounded in specific tasks, rights and roles, and knowledge. This is a pointer to thinking about planning in governance terms, for example in terms of fit with planning needs, cross-scale connections, and multiple forms of participation; mobilizing multiple tools in an integrated way. Lessons link governance challenges and opportunities with planning and assessment methods, and facilitating conditions, for successful integration, implementation, effectiveness, and public support.