Background Content


Peel Watershed

December 1, 2017

Indigenous Group: Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, and Gwich’in Tribal Council, Vuntut Gwitchin

Business: Yukon Government

Issue: Opening up the Peel Watershed to roads, infrastructure and resource extraction

Comment: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Larger than Nova Scotia, the Peel Watershed is the homeland of four First Nations who have been stewards of the land for thousands of years. This remote region has gained national attention after the Government of Yukon shelved the results of a public planning process that recommended wilderness protection, choosing instead to open up the majority of the Peel Watershed to roads and resource extraction. Ensuing legal action from three First Nations and two environmental groups has now brought this issue to the attention of the Supreme Court of Canada in March 2015 to decide on Yukon’s Land Claims Treaties.

Latest Updates: Dec. 1, 2017: CBC – In 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a unanimous decision against the Yukon government who undermined the land use process by improperly and unilaterally rewriting a plan for the watershed after a recommended plan negotiated with First Nations had already been agreed upon. The government’s change drastically altered the final plan by removing protections for the majority of the watershed and opening up more than 70% of the area to roads, mining and drilling.