4.0 Licensing Process for New Applications
The guidelines outlined in this document adhere to the requirements established under the Canada National Parks Act (the Act), the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA), the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and the Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve Impact and Benefit Plan. The Nahanni National Park Reserve Interim Park Management Arrangement provides guidance for Nahanni and the Nahʔą Dehé Consensus Team. Figure 1 shows the basic steps for processing licences. Figure 2 shows additional considerations for licensing in Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve.
If it is determined that additional demand and capacity for a new river outfitters exists, the Superintendent of Nááts’įhch’oh and/or Nahanni National Park Reserves, as the case may be, in consultation with our Indigenous cooperative management partners, may initiate a notification. The notification may include, in the Superintendent’s discretion, a clear set of guidelines for potential applicants to develop a detailed application. All applicants in Nááts’įhch’oh are subject to a right of first refusal unless they are a Tulita District member business. A notification process should adhere to high standards for guiding and outfitting activities.
Figure 1. Licensing process for guided outfitting in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves.
Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves are committed to offering quality visitor experiences and licensing operators who can deliver them. Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves will work closely with the Dene and Métis groups of the Dehcho and Sahtu to determine visitation trends and appropriateness of licence quotas. If introducing a new licence is recommended, a notification may follow see Appendix B for more information about notifications. This process is not a requirement under the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations, but serves as guidance for best practice in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves. See Appendix A for more information about licences.
When preparing an application for a new licence, applicants are encouraged to contact Nááts’įhch’oh and/or Nahanni National Park Reserves for guidance. Following a notification, new applications may be evaluated and ranked by an Advisory Committee, for the purpose of giving advice to a Superintendent, the Nahʔą Dehé Consensus Team and the Nááts’įhch’oh Management Committee. The Advisory Committee may be struck by Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves and should include persons free from actual or perceived conflict of interest and who have appropriate technical expertise and business knowledge of river guiding. Park Superintendents, the Nahʔą Dehé Consensus Team and the Nááts’įhch’oh Management Committee may review and evaluate the recommendation of the Advisory Committee. Following a Superintendent’s final approval, a recommendation by the Advisory Committee may advance the successful application to a preliminary screening and permitting. See Figure 1. If the right of first refusal for Nááts’įhch’oh is exercised, the consideration of applicants from a notification is on hold until the first right of refusal process is complete (6 months).
An application that does not meet the requirements set out in section 4(1) of the Regulations will be considered incomplete and returned to the applicant. It is possible that a delayed resubmission of an application may impact the ability to process the application within timelines set out in a notification, see Figure 1. An application with falsified information will be rejected.If a licence is awarded to a company who has an affiliation with an existing licensee, Parks Canada will monitor activities of both companies. If it is determined that two licensees are not operating at arm’s length, the Superintendent may take the necessary steps to ensure commercial visitation is managed appropriately, including but not limited to reorganization of licences, quota or allocation. 4.1.1 Work Plan
When a notification is made, a work plan with timelines should be included. See Appendix B for more information about timelines and work planning. Timelines should ensure consultation with Indigenous cooperative management partners, a Preliminary Screening under the MVRMA (45 days), and a right of first refusal in Nááts’įhch’oh NPR. If exercised, the right of first refusal process is 6 months.
4.2 Indigenous Engagement Activities
Indigenous engagement covers a broad range of activities. In its minimalist form it can be establishing a rapport with an Indigenous community or organization. It can also include cooperative and long term relationship building through stewardship initiatives and/or partnerships. Indigenous engagement can be flexible and innovative. Proactive and ongoing engagement is the standard of conduct in the north and is a key consideration for evaluating new applications.
4.3 Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement
Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve lies within the Sahtu Settlement Area established under the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement. The Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve Impact and Benefit Plan (IBP) was negotiated following the land claim agreement. The IBP explains Parks Canada’s commitments for licensing commercial tourism activities in Nááts’įhch’oh.
Pursuant to section 19.6 of the IBP, the Tulita District Land Corporations will have the right of first refusal for licences related to wildlife and tourism in Nááts’įhch’oh. The right of first refusal process is explained in Figure 2.
Figure2. Procedures for right of first refusal as outlined in the Nááts’įhch’oh Impact and Benefit Plan.
Nááts’įhch’oh is reserving a minimum of one licence for a Sahtu business. An application for a licence from a Sahtu business is not subject to the right of first refusal and/or notification. See Appendix A for information about licences.
4.4 Dehcho Process and Ongoing Land Claim Negotiations
Nahanni National Park Reserve lies within the traditional territory of the Dehcho First Nations, which represents eight Dene and two Métis organizations in the Dehcho territory. The Dehcho First Nations are negotiating a comprehensive land claim agreement with the Federal and Territorial governments; these negotiations are referred to as the Dehcho Process. The Dehcho First Nations supported the expansion of Nahanni National Park Reserve in 2009 within its traditional territory prior to settlement of their land claim. As a result commitments were made to negotiate an Impact Benefit Agreement between Parks Canada, the Dehcho First Nations and directly affected communities. It is anticipated that an IBA can be completed prior to the final land claim agreement. An IBA or final land claim agreement may supersede and replace the Interim Park Management Arrangement. A review of these guidelines may be required following the successful conclusion of an IBA and/or final land claim agreement.
Nahanni is reserving a licence for a Dehcho business. An application for a licence by a Dehcho business may be processed and may not be subject to a notification. A Dehcho business is subject to the right of first refusal when an application for a licence is made in Nááts’įhch’oh. See Appendix A for information about licences.
4.5 Best Management Practices
Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves have developed "Best Management Practices" (BMPs) as part of the Preliminary Screening process prescribed by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA). Contact the Fort Simpson or Tulita park office for information about the BMPs. The BMPs identify effects and prescribe mitigations for guided eco-tourism activities and aircraft landings in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves. When proposed activities do not conform to the BMPs, applicants are encouraged to provide adequate details outlining their proposed best practice along with a clear rationale.
4.6 Guidelines for Making a New Application
Guidelines for making a new application have been developed in collaboration with the Nahʔą Dehé Consensus Team, and the Nááts’įhch’oh Management Committee, see Appendix B for additional information about guidelines and the process for evaluating applications. The guidelines are made to assist applicants to develop an application that meets the standards for guided river outfitting in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh.
4.7 Preliminary Screening
Pursuant to Schedule I Part II of the Preliminary Screening Requirement Regulations (PSRR) under the MVRMA, Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves are required to conduct preliminary screenings for authorizations listed in Schedule I of the PSRR. This includes a Parks Canada business licence. Preliminary screenings will be conducted by Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh staff according to the Parks Canada Procedures for Preliminary Screening and Referral to Environmental Assessment under the MVRMA. Contact the park office in Fort Simpson or Tulita for more information.
4.8 Licensee in Good Standing
All operators are reviewed annually for a licence which by practice is valid only for the year in which it is issued. Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves are interested in developing long term relationships with reputable, safe and sustainable operators. Licensees in good standing are critical to sustainable visitation. A licensee in good standing may be notified a minimum of one month prior to the expiration of their licence that an application can be made for a replacement. A replacement licence package may be delivered to a licensee in good standing. An application made by a licensee in good standing with no change to their ownership, nature of business, service or activities will be reviewed by Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves and our cooperative management partners without a notification.
Significant changes to operations or activities requires a new application detailing the changes to services, and/or activities. New applications will be subject to the right of first refusal in Nááts’įhch’oh and preliminary screening pursuant to the Preliminary Screening Requirement Regulations. See Figure 1 and Figure 2. If a licensee in good standing changes the nature of its business and triggers a new application, the Superintendent(s) may consider a notification. The annual review of licensees in good standing is not recommended as a valid entry point for a new company to make a new application. New applications may be reviewed when a notification is made.4.8.1 Sale of a Business
Pursuant to section 10 (c) of the National Parks of Canada Businesses Regulations, a licence expires upon the sale of a business. As noted in section 4.1 of this document, a notification is a best practice and it is not a requirement for evaluating applications for a licence.
The purchaser of a business whose licence expired by operation of section 10(c) of the Regulations may apply directly to the Superintendent of Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves, as the case may be, for a licence, and it is recommended a notification does not occur.
A new application must clearly demonstrate the operator has not changed the nature of services or activities, has the resources to continue to operate at a comparable level to the previous owner and meets all the standards outlined in the essential qualifications outlined in Appendix B.
Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh may evaluate an application made by a purchaser. The onus is on the purchaser and the seller of a business to demonstrate that the requirements for a licence in Nahanni and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserves can be met. See Appendix B for detailed information about evaluating applications for a licence. Nááts’įhch’oh and Nahanni National Park Reserves make no guarantee a licence can be issued to a purchaser who makes a new application.
All new applications are subject to a right of first refusal in Nááts’įhch’oh NPR, as well as a preliminary screening pursuant to the Preliminary Screening Requirement Regulations for both parks. Section 4.7 explains preliminary screenings.
If a new application does not satisfy a Superintendent, a reason for decision should follow and the Superintendent should consider the potential for reorganizing any free allocation to other commercial operators and/or initiating a notification. A licence may be issued for Nááts’įhch’oh only if the right of first refusal is not exercised, or the first right of refusal process does not yield a successful application.
Processing an application for a new licence may take a minimum 3 to 8 months. Therefore it is strongly recommended that sufficient notification is given regarding the potential for a sale of a business.
All licensees must remain at arm’s length from each other. This is important for the proper care and management of the park and to ensure fair, accessible and competitive options for our visitors. Applicants are required to report any affiliations with existing licensees in Nahanni and/or Nááts’įhch’oh. If the applicant is affiliated with an existing licensee, the following information should be included in their application, as requested by and to the satisfaction of the Superintendent:
(a) Name of existing licensee where affiliation exists;
(b) Nature of the affiliation; and,
(c) A detailed description of the potential for future business relationships through the affiliation.
If a licence is awarded to a company who has an affiliation with an existing licensee, Parks Canada will monitor activities of both licensees. If it is determined that two licensees are not operating at arm’s length, the Superintendent may take the necessary steps to ensure commercial visitation is managed appropriately, including but not limited to reorganization of licences, quota or allocation.
3.0 Defining Appropriate Levels of Visitor Use
4.0 Licensing Process for New Applications
Appendix A: Model Terms and Conditions for Licences
Appendix B: Licensing Process for New Applications & Guidelines for Preparing an Application