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Yukon Act (S.C. 2002, c. 7)

Assented to 2002-03-27

Yukon Act

S.C. 2002, c. 7

Assented to 2002-03-27

An Act to replace the Yukon Act in order to modernize it and to implement certain provisions of the Yukon Northern Affairs Program Devolution Transfer Agreement, and to repeal and make amendments to other Acts


The purpose of this enactment is to replace the current Yukon Act in order to modernize it, by reflecting responsible government in Yukon and renaming a number of public institutions to reflect current practice, and to provide the Legislature of Yukon with new powers over public real property and waters.

The enactment includes a preamble stating that Yukon has a system of responsible government that is similar in principle to that of Canada. It also contains details on the relationship between the Commissioner of Yukon and the Executive Council which are consistent with the conventions of modern government in Canada.

The enactment renames the “Council” as the “Legislative Assembly of Yukon”, the “Commissioner in Council” as the “Legislature of Yukon” and “ordinances” as “laws of the Legislature”. The enactment reaffirms the Auditor General of Canada as the auditor of the Yukon Government, but also makes provisions for the Yukon Government to appoint its own independent auditor at a future date to be fixed by the Governor in Council.

New powers are provided as part of the implementation of a number of provisions of the Yukon Northern Affairs Program Devolution Transfer Agreement, which provides for the transfer of the administration and control of most public real property and water rights in Yukon to the Commissioner. The enactment includes provisions for the repeal of federal legislation governing the property and rights being transferred.


Whereas Yukon is a territory that has a system of responsible government that is similar in principle to that of Canada;

And Whereas the enactment of legislation is required to implement certain provisions of the Yukon Northern Affairs Program Devolution Transfer Agreement, negotiated by representatives of certain first nations, the Government of Canada and the Yukon Government;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:


Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Yukon Act.


Marginal note:Definitions

 The definitions in this section apply in this Act.

“adjoining area”

« zone adjacente »

“adjoining area” means the area outside Yukon and landward of the northern limit described in Schedule 2.

“federal agent corporation”

« société mandataire fédérale »

“federal agent corporation” has the meaning assigned to the expression “agent corporation” by subsection 83(1) of the Financial Administration Act.

“federal conservation area”

« aire de conservation fédérale »

“federal conservation area” means an area that is

  • (a) a national park;

  • (b) public real property under the administration of the Minister of the Environment that is subject to measures imposed under the Canada Wildlife Act for the conservation of wildlife; or

  • (c) a protection area for migratory birds prescribed under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.

“former Act”

« ancienne loi »

“former Act” means the Yukon Act, chapter Y-2 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985.


« gaz »

“gas” means natural gas and all substances produced in association with natural gas, but does not include oil or coal-bed methane.


« ministre »

“Minister” means the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

“national park”

« parc national »

“national park” means a park and includes a park reserve as those terms are defined in subsection 2(1) of the Canada National Parks Act.


« pétrole »

“oil” means crude petroleum, regardless of gravity, produced at a well-head in liquid form and any other hydrocarbons, except gas and coal-bed methane. It includes hydrocarbons that may be extracted or recovered from surface or subsurface deposits of oil sand, bitumen, bituminous sand or oil shale or from other types of deposits, but does not include coal.

“public real property”

« biens réels domaniaux »

“public real property” means

  • (a) land in Yukon that belongs to Her Majesty in right of Canada, including mines and minerals, and buildings, structures, improvements and other fixtures on, above or below the surface of the land; and

  • (b) any estate, right, title or interest, including an easement, a servitude and a lease, held by Her Majesty in right of Canada in or to land in Yukon.


« eaux »

“waters” means any inland water, whether in a liquid or frozen state, on or below the surface of land.


« Yukon »

“Yukon” means the territory consisting of the area described in Schedule 1.

Marginal note:Aboriginal rights

 For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.


Executive Power

Marginal note:Commissioner
  •  (1) A Commissioner of Yukon shall be appointed by order of the Governor in Council.

  • Marginal note:Publication of order

    (2) The order in council appointing the Commissioner shall be published in the Canada Gazette.

  • Marginal note:Action of Commissioner

    (3) The Commissioner shall act in accordance with any written instructions given to the Commissioner by the Governor in Council or the Minister.

Marginal note:Administrator
  •  (1) The Governor in Council may appoint an Administrator to act as Commissioner during the Commissioner’s absence or illness or other inability or when that office is vacant.

  • Marginal note:Absence or inability

    (2) The senior judge, within the meaning of subsection 22(3) of the Judges Act, of the Supreme Court of Yukon may act as Administrator during the Administrator’s absence or illness or other inability or when that office is vacant.

Marginal note:Oaths

 Before assuming office, the Commissioner and the Administrator shall take and subscribe the oath of office and the oath of allegiance prescribed by the Governor in Council.

Marginal note:Salaries

 The salary of the Commissioner and of the Administrator shall be fixed by the Governor in Council and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada.

Marginal note:Executive Council

 The Executive Council of Yukon established under the former Act is hereby continued. Its members shall be appointed by the Commissioner.

Marginal note:Seat of government

 The seat of the Yukon Government is at Whitehorse but the Legislature may designate another place in Yukon as the seat of government.

Legislative Power

Legislative Assembly

Marginal note:Legislative Assembly of Yukon

 The Council established by the former Act is hereby continued as the Legislative Assembly of Yukon. Each member of the Legislative Assembly is elected to represent an electoral district in Yukon.

Marginal note:Duration of Legislative Assembly
  •  (1) No Legislative Assembly shall continue for longer than five years after the date of the return of the writs for a general election, but the Commissioner may dissolve it before then.

  • Marginal note:Writs

    (2) Writs for the election of members of the Legislative Assembly shall be issued on the instructions of the Commissioner.

Marginal note:Oaths of office

 Before assuming office, each member of the Legislative Assembly shall take and subscribe before the Commissioner the oath of office prescribed by the Legislature of Yukon and the oath of allegiance set out in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution Act, 1867.

Marginal note:Yearly session

 The Legislative Assembly shall sit at least once every 12 months.

Marginal note:Speaker
  •  (1) The Legislative Assembly shall elect one member to be Speaker, who shall preside over the Legislative Assembly when it is sitting.

  • Marginal note:Vote

    (2) The Speaker may only vote in the Legislative Assembly in the case of a tie.

Marginal note:Quorum

 A majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, including the Speaker, constitutes a quorum.

Marginal note:Rules of procedure

 The Legislative Assembly may make rules for its operations and procedures, except in relation to the classes of subjects with respect to which the Legislature may make laws under paragraph 18(1)(b).


Marginal note:Legislature of Yukon

 The institution referred to in the former Act as the Commissioner in Council and which consisted of the Commissioner and the Council of the Yukon Territory is hereby continued as the Legislature of Yukon, consisting of the Commissioner and the Legislative Assembly.

Legislative Powers

Marginal note:Legislative powers
  •  (1) The Legislature may make laws in relation to the following classes of subjects in respect of Yukon:

    • (a) the election of members of the Legislative Assembly, including the name and number of electoral districts and the qualifications of electors and of candidates for election;

    • (b) the disqualification of persons from sitting or voting as members of the Legislative Assembly and the privileges, indemnity and expenses of those members;

    • (c) the Executive Council;

    • (d) the establishment and tenure of public offices in Yukon and the appointment, conditions of employment and payment of office-holders;

    • (e) municipal and local institutions;

    • (f) direct taxation and licensing in order to raise revenue for territorial, municipal or local purposes;

    • (g) the levying of a tax on furs or any portions of fur-bearing animals to be shipped or taken from Yukon to any place outside Yukon;

    • (h) the incorporation of companies with territorial objects, other than railway, steamship, air transport, canal, telegraph or telephone companies, but including street railway companies;

    • (i) the solemnization of marriage;

    • (j) property and civil rights;

    • (k) the administration of justice, including the constitution, maintenance and organization of territorial courts, both of civil and of criminal jurisdiction, and including procedure in civil matters in those courts;

    • (l) the establishment, maintenance and management of prisons, jails or lock-ups;

    • (m) the conservation of wildlife and its habitat, other than in a federal conservation area;

    • (n) waters, other than waters in a federal conservation area, including the deposit of waste in those waters, the definition of what constitutes waste and the disposition of any right in respect of those waters under subsection 48(2);

    • (o) education, but any law respecting education must provide that

      • (i) a majority of the ratepayers of any part of Yukon may establish any school in that part that they think fit and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates for it, and

      • (ii) the minority of the ratepayers in that part of Yukon, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools in that part and, if they do so, are liable only to assessments of the rates that they impose on themselves in respect of those schools;

    • (p) immigration;

    • (q) public real property — including the timber and wood on that property — under the administration and control of the Commissioner, including the disposition of that property under subsection 45(1);

    • (r) intoxicants, including the definition of what constitutes an intoxicant;

    • (s) hospitals and charities;

    • (t) agriculture;

    • (u) the entering into of intergovernmental agreements by the Commissioner or any other official of the Yukon Government;

    • (v) the expenditure of money for territorial purposes;

    • (w) the adoption and use of an official seal;

    • (x) generally, all matters of a merely local or private nature;

    • (y) the imposition of fines, penalties, imprisonment or other punishments in respect of the contravention of the provisions of a law of the Legislature; and

    • (z) any other matter that may be designated by order of the Governor in Council.

  • Marginal note:Oil and gas in adjoining area

    (2) The Legislature may make laws in relation to the classes of subjects described in subsection (1) in respect of oil and gas in the adjoining area.

  • Marginal note:Importation of intoxicants

    (3) The Legislature may make laws relating to the importation of intoxicants into Yukon from any other place in Canada or elsewhere and defining what constitutes an intoxicant for the purposes of those laws.

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