Frequently Asked Questions

The objectives of the Inuvialuit Water Board are to provide for the conservation, development and utilization of waters in a manner that will provide the optimum benefit for all Canadians in general and, in particular, for the residents of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region for which the Inuvialuit Water Board is authorized to issue licences.

No. The Inuvialuit Water Board's jurisdiction is the Inuvialuit Settlement Region within the NWT and is limited to use of freshwater and disposal of waste that may come into contact with water. For more information, please refer to the Area of Responsibility section.

The Inuvialuit Water Board's jurisdiction is generally limited to inland waters. It does include some marine areas within the near shore.

A water licence is an authorization issued for the use of waters, the deposit of waste that may enter water, or both. A water licence may be a Type A or a Type B licence in accordance with the criteria prescribed by the Waters Regulations.

The Inuvialuit Water Board's authority to issue a water licence applies to inland waters, meaning those waters in a liquid or solid state, on or below the surface of land. In addition, the Inuvialuit Water Board's jurisdiction applies to waste that may enter waters, meaning any substance that, by itself or in combination with other substances, would have the effect of altering the quality of any water.

No. Water licences are not required for domestic or personal use, fishing, swimming or navigating. Water Licences are not required for firefighting, or flood control during an emergency.

The type of undertakings that require a water licence are outlined in Schedule D to H of the Waters Regulations. Some of the variables that determine whether a water licence is required include the amount of water to be used, watercourse crossing, diversion, camp, and the deposit of waste. If a water licence is not required the provisions of the Waters Act must still be adhered to. 

It is also important to note that prior to the Board issuing a water licence the proposed project must be assessed by the Environmental  Impact Screening Committee (EISC) for environmental and socio-economic impacts as described by the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA). The IFA provisions may be required even if a water licence is not needed for your project.

The IWB determines what type of licence is required using guidance found in columns III and IV of Schedules D through H of the Waters Regulations. 

If one component of a project requires a Type A licence, the entire project will be reviewed as a Type A licence.

The Inuvialuit Water Board maintains, in accordance with Section 53 (1) of the Waters Act, a public register at the Inuvik office. The public can access the public register during regular business hours (Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm). You can also visit our Online Register.

Examples of documents that can be found in the Inuvialuit Water Board's public register or Online Register:

  • An original copy of the application and all supporting documents;
  • A copy of any licence issued;
  • An original copy of the Reasons for Decision of the Inuvialuit Water Board; and
  • An original copy of all written correspondence and documents submitted to the Board that the licensee sent to be in compliance with the conditions of its licence.

The time it takes from the submission of an application to the time the Inuvialuit Water Board makes its decision depends, for example, on the quality and quantity of the information submitted to support the application, the type of undertaking and if the application needs to go through a public hearing. Please refer to the Process Map for more information. 

Each application is unique and would depend on the supporting information provided with the application. As per section 47 (1) and 48 (1) for a Type A and Type B Licences, the Board must make a decision within 9 months. 

No. Most of the licences issued by the Inuvialuit Water Board are Type B licences. Generally Type B licence applications do not go through a public hearing process, unless the Inuviauit Water Board determines that it is in the public interest to do so.

According to section 41 (2) of the Waters Act, the Board is required to allow for a public hearing to be held for Type A licence applications. If there is no interest on behalf of the public, government or the Board then a public hearing will not be required for a Type A water licence application.

No. The Inuvialuit Water Board only issues water licences. In the southern portion of the NWT, which is guided by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) land use permits and water licences are issued by regional Land and Water Boards. An applicant that requires a LUP in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region needs to communicate with GNWT Department of Environment and Climate Change (ECC) for projects located on crown land or with the Inuvialuit Land Administration (ILA) for projects located on Inuvialuit Private Land.

No. The Inuvialuit Water Board is also responsible for amendments, assignments, cancellations and renewals of existing licences. Also, the Inuvialuit Water Board is responsible for the review of documents required as a condition of a water licence

The application for a new licence, the amendment or renewal of an existing licence must include at minimum the following information and must be in accordance, where applicable, with Section 34 to 37 of the Waters Act (WA) and the Waters Regulations (WR):

  • All information required by Section 5 of the WR;
  • A completed application form (Schedule C) pertaining to that particular undertaking;
  • The fee ($30.00) payable to the GNWT on the submission of an application for a licence or for the amendment, renewal, cancellation or assignment of a licence or of an application under Section 34 of the WA (Section 6 of the WR);
  • A description of how the applicant intends to use waters and if this use will affect another licensee, or any person described in Subsection 26 (5) of the WA, or, in the case of an amendment, any changes to this use;
  • A description of the environmental impacts and socio-economic issues that are closely related to the environmental effects and how the applicant proposes to mitigate any adverse effects;
  • A list of studies that have been undertaken to date and where possible, include a copy of each study;
  • A description of public consultation and data gathering methodologies. The applicant must inform and obtain feedback on the project from the communities in the project area prior to the application being submitted;
  • Indicate the proposed start and completion dates and where possible, list any anticipated periods of seasonal shut down;
  • Environmental Management Plans - for example: Spill Contingency Plan, Sewage and Solid Waste Management Plan, Hazardous Waste Management Plan, Sediment and Erosion Control Plan, Aquatic Effects Monitoring Plan, Permafrost Monitoring Plan, Closure and Reclamation Plan, Remedial Action Plan etc, depending on the type and nature of the project;
  • A detailed map of project location with associated Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates in degrees, minutes, and seconds (DMS), and suitable for reproduction; engineering plans and drawings signed and stamped by a professional engineer registered with the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists;
  • Environmental Impact Screening Committee (EISC) decision letter;
  • A copy of any compensation agreement between the applicant and any other licensee or another person who's application for a water use licence would take precedence, pursuant to Section 26 (5) (b) of the WA;
  • Proof of any compensation paid or to be paid by the applicant to persons described in Subsection 26 (5) of the WA;
  • Confirmation that the applicant has submitted a security deposit in accordance with Subsection 35(1) of the WA and Section 11 of the WR;
  • The applicant must print their name at the end of the form and the application must be signed by the representative who has the authority to sign on behalf of the proponent;
  • If applicable, the applicant must complete the questionnaire for Municipal Undertakings;
  • If applicable, the applicant must complete the questionnaire for oil and gas exploration: drilling;
  • If applicable, the applicant must complete the questionnaire for oil and gas exploration: seismic; and,
  • The annual fees for water use for the first year of activity, in accordance with Section 9 of the WR.

The completeness of an application directly impacts the length of time it takes to process a water licence application.

During the water licensing process, the applicant may be required to submit additional information and/or documents.

Once received, the information and/or documents must be made available to parties for a review period relevant to the quantity of additional information submitted.

The additional time required for the applicant to respond with additional information and/or documents and for parties to review the additional information increases considerably the amount of time it will take to process the application.

The IWB encourages applicants to get in touch with the IWB early and often when considering applying for a water licence.

The application fee for a new water licence or for the amendment, assignment or cancellation of an existing water licence is $30.00, payable to the GNWT. 

If applicable to your project, you will also have to pay the water use fees for the first year of your activities.

Concerned members of the public and government agencies must file a notice of intention to intervene in a given licence proceeding, using the appropriate form. The form can be found on the Application Forms section of our website. The IWB issues notification of applications in various NWT newspapers.

No. According to section 55 of the Waters Act (WA), except as provided in the WA, every decision or order of the Board is final and conclusive. 

If the licence expires before it is renewed by the Inuvialuit Water Board, the water use and waste disposal must cease immediately, if not the licensee will be in contravention of the Waters Act. Nevertheless, the expiry of the licence does not relieve the licensee from any obligations imposed by the licence. 

Every renewal application should be submitted to the Inuvialuit Water Board at least eight (8) months before the licence expires. 

The fees payable by a licensee for the right to use of water are calculated on an annual basis. To find out if you are required to pay these fees, go to Section 8 of the Waters Regulations. Also, the water use fees are charged for the right to use water. If you do not use the amount of water that was authorized to you, you are still required to pay these fees.

Yes. You need to fill out the Assignment of Licence form and follow the assignment procedure. Also a guide is available to completing an application to assign a water licence.