The GNWT has pledged to directly negotiate contracts with Tłı̨chǫ businesses for infrastructure located on Tłı̨chǫ lands and in Tłı̨chǫ communities, the territorial and Tłı̨chǫ governments said in a joint news release on Friday.
The commitment is part of a larger agreement between the Tłı̨chǫ Government (TG) and GNWT to improve cooperation on infrastructure needs in the region.
Where direct talks aren’t possible, the GNWT has committed to including minimum Tłı̨chǫ labour and contracting requirements in its competitive tenders for infrastructure.
The agreement comes three weeks after the TG and Jackson Lafferty, MLA for Monfwi were left deeply frustrated over the GNWT’s putting out for public tender the Rae Access Road reconstruction project near Behchokǫ̀.
The accord also acknowledges that the Tłı̨chǫ Investment Corporation (TIC) and RTL Construction Ltd, which was the successful bidder for the Rae Access Road scheme, have reached a deal that will ensure 25 per cent of the labour for the project will be provided by TIC.
The TIC, for its part will ensure that Tłı̨chǫ citizens meet the labour requirements.
“Completing the Rae Access Road Reconstruction Project this year will ensure the safety and well-being of Tłı̨chǫ citizens traveling into and out of the Tłı̨chǫ community of Behchokǫ̀,” the release said.
Commenting on the agreement, TG grand chief George Mackenzie said it could mark a turning point in the Treaty relationship between his government and the GNWT.
“The GNWT signed a treaty with the Tłı̨chǫ and Canada that promised to help Tłı̨chǫ become self-sufficient,” he said. “We took up the fight over this project because it is essential for our people to share in the wealth and economy of the NWT. I am pleased that we have found a way to achieve that and move forward in our Treaty relationship.”
The GNWT believes the accord will help in meeting the economic development objectives set out in the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement, signed in 2003.
Premier Caroline Cochrane praised the reaching of the agreement.
“The GNWT is committed to building a strong relationship with the Tłı̨chǫ Government and continuing to find ways to work better together. This agreement will ensure that there is a clear understanding of the GNWT’s approach to procurement in the region,” she said.
“It also ensures capacity building and active participation for Tłı̨chǫ citizens and government in these projects, which is consistent with Cabinet’s Guiding Principles. I am glad to see this agreement come together and look forward to continuing to build the relationship with the Tłı̨chǫ government and people.”
The Rae Access Road project will involve the reconstruction of the Rae Access Road from kilometre 0 to km 9.74 with the quarry site at km 5.
RTL’s bid was for $3,417,784.10.