Fonds 307 - Northwest Territories. Department of Justice and Public Services fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Northwest Territories. Department of Justice and Public Services fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [ca. 1915]-1991 (Creation)
    Northwest Territories. Department of Justice and Public Services (1979-1985)

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 381 photographs and other material.

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator

Administrative history

In October 1979, the Department of Public Services, as a result of the Commissioner's Task Force on Administration, was renamed the Department of Justice and Public Services to better reflect new areas of responsibility that were being assumed from the Federal Government. Two new divisions, Museums and Libraries, formerly part of the Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs, were added to this department.

The Department of Justice and Public Services was responsible for legal services and legislative drafting for all government departments and the Executive Council. Other legal responsibilities included administration of legal aid, maintenance of legal registries and provision of administrative support to the Supreme and Territorial Courts. Other programs included consumer services, museums, public libraries, public safety and mining inspection services. In addition, the department administered the Police Services Agreement.

The Directorate Division developed operating guidelines and policy proposals for Executive Council consideration, represented the Department of Justice and Public Services at senior management reviews, provided the financial administration for the department and provided the Government of the Northwest Territories with legal counsel on constitutional and energy related issues. Another responsibility was to liaise between the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the planning of policing services within the Northwest Territories. The Police Services Agreement provided for the Government of the Northwest Territories' costs for policing services by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Government of the Northwest Territories also had an agreement with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development for a Special Native Constables Program to carry out certain policing functions in the communities

The Motor Vehicles Activity provided for registering and licensing of motor vehicles and drivers and enforcement of highway transport legislation. This activity was transferred to the Department of Government Services in 1982.

The Land Titles-Legal Registries Activity, formerly known as the Legal Registries Activity, provided for the land title registration system, and the registering of companies, societies, co-operative associations and the credit union. The Document Registry provided for the registration of personal property and corporate securities. The Land Titles section was responsible for the administration of the Torrens system of land registration. The Land Titles section was only a part of this activity between 1981-1983. The Legal Registries section was responsible for incorporating both profit and non-profit corporations, as well as maintaining a registry of companies incorporated outside the Northwest Territories but operating within the Northwest Territories. This section also regulated trading in securities under provisions of the Securities Ordinance and maintained a filing system for registration of interests in personal property. In 1983-84, the name was changed back to the Legal Registries Activity and a year later, this activity became the responsibility of the Legal Division.

The Legal Division provided legal advice and services to all government departments, secretariats, boards and the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. This division also administered estates in the Northwest Territories, through its Public Trustee officer. This division had the responsibility, through the register of securities, to administer the provision of the Securities Ordinance, the criminal injuries compensation program in accordance with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Ordinance and to prepare material for the Territorial Gazette. The legal counsels employed in this division were assigned specific departments for provision of legal service. Included were legal opinions, drafting of legal documents and representing the government in various courts of the Northwest Territories, in arbitration and in administrative tribunals. In conjunction with the Department of Local Government, Legislative Counsel visited communities involved in developing municipal regulations in order to provide advice and assistance. Between 1984-85, a Legislation section was added to the Legal Division. This section became responsible for the drafting of Bills for the Legislative Assembly and regulations made pursuant to Territorial Ordinances. The section published Ordinances, Regulations, Commissioner's Orders and the Northwest Territories Gazette. It also carried the responsibility for law reform in the Northwest Territories. The Legal Registries section was also added at this time and provided for registration of companies, societies and co-operative associations. Document Registry provided for registration of contracts respecting personal property and corporate securities. The Securities Registry provided for registration and regulation of the trading in securities.

The Court Services Division was responsible for providing technical, administrative and financial support to the Supreme and Territorial Courts of the Northwest Territories. Included were sheriff and bailiff functions, court reporting services and maintenance of a court library. This activity was also responsible for administering the Justice of the Peace and Coroners' Programs, including recruitment and training through conferences and seminars. The administration of federal firearm legislation also fell within this division.

The Legal Services Board, later named the Legal Aid Division, was established under the Legal Services Ordinance, which ensured the provision of legal services to those persons in need throughout the Northwest Territories. Legal aid was granted in criminal cases where the person charged was eligible under the financial criteria established by the Legal Services Board and in certain civil matters at the discretion of the Board. The Board also acted as the carrier agency for the Native Court Worker program and Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services Centre whose programs, like Legal Aid, were cost-shared by the Federal Department of Justice. In 1984-84, these two associations were established as Regional Committees and became self-administering with their own Boards of Directors; however, they still reported regularly on their activities and were financially accountable to the Legal Services Board. In addition, in 1985-86, the Legal Services Board funded the Keewatin Inuit Association.

The Safety Division encompassed the regulatory and administrative responsibilities of the Government of the Northwest Territories for Fire, Mechanical, Electrical and Industrial Safety, Occupational Heath and administration of the Labour Standards and Fair Practices Ordinance. In 1984-85, the administration of the Labour Standards Ordinance was transferred to Consumer Services. The Safety Division was responsible for the training of volunteer fire chiefs, the investigation of fires and all occupationally related safety and health hazards, including the inspection of buildings and work areas. Other major projects included the development of an occupational health and safety information, a resource library and the development of safety division pamphlets. In 1983, two more areas were transferred to the Safety Division from the Executive: the Gas Protection Ordinance and Emergency Measures program including the transportation of dangerous goods.

The Mining Inspection Services was transferred to the Department of Justice and Public Services from the federal government in 1981. This division encompassed regulatory and administrative responsibilities for implementing the Northwest Territories Mining Safety Ordinance and Mine Safety Rules. These responsibilities included the provision of mine inspection services through which general, environmental, health and safety monitoring and inspection programs were carried out. This activity was also responsible, under the Northwest Territories Mining Safety Ordinance for provision of adequate and sufficient mine rescue equipment to all Northwest Territories mines, periodic maintenance of the equipment and for mine rescue training. Between 1984-85, the Safety Division and Mining Inspection Services Division amalgamated to form the Safety and Mining Division.

The Consumer Services Division administered the Consumer Protection, Landlord and Tenant and Lotteries Act. The division produced consumer information brochures and information items that were broadcast on radio and television. Consumer Services was responsible for the registration of all vital statistics, including the Treaty Indian registers, registration and licensing of professionals, issuing business licenses, regulating the insurance industry, licensing of motion picture theatres and projectionists and the classification of films. Between 1980-1983, the Consumer Services Division provided for the registration and licensing of motor vehicles and drivers and the enforcement of highway transport legislation. This responsibility was transferred to the Department of Government Services in 1983. The Liquor Licensing Board was transferred from the Department of Government Services between 1984-85; the Board was responsible for granting, renewing, transferring, suspending and canceling liquor licenses and permits. It also controlled the conduct of licensees, their management and equipment at licensed premises and monitored the condition under which liquor was sold or consumed. The Labour Standards Officer became part of the division in 1984-85, when it was moved from the Safety Division. The Labour Standards Officer administered the Labour Standards Ordinance and under the Labour Standards Act, investigated complaints from employees. In 1983, the Status of Women Matters Section became part of Consumer Services and was responsible for establishing a permanent government structure to deal with women's issues. This activity was transferred to the Executive in 1984.

The Museums/Heritage Division, formerly known as Museum and Historical Programs, included the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and the Territorial Archives, both of which were dedicated to the preservation, exhibition and interpretation of the cultural heritage of the Northwest Territories. Community museums and heritage societies were encouraged and supported through a grant program and through the provision of advice, assistance and technical services. This division was also responsible for the protection of all archaeological sites throughout the Northwest Territories. The archaeology program worked on the interpretation of heritage sites for territorial parks and on strengthening the legislation for the conservation of archaeological sites. This section also issued permits for archaeological research.

The Library Services Division enabled the general public, business and industry to access materials to assist in meeting informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs through the territorial library system: Northwest Territories Public Library Services. This division also administered a program that provided some financial assistance for the wages of local librarians, utilities in community libraries and capital funds for buildings and furnishings. The government library was transferred to the Department of Justice and Public Services in 1983. This library received and collected all Federal and Territorial publications, general reference and bibliographical material, northern reference material and books and journals in the area of public policy.

In 1985, the Department of Justice and Public Services was re-organized and renamed the Department of Justice; the Museums/Heritage Division and Library Services Division were transferred to the Department of Culture and Communications.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consists of 353 black and white and colour photographs in slide, print and negative formats, 31 audio reels, 41 sound CDs, 42 audiocassettes, 24 DAT audiocassettes, approximately 1.62 m of textual material, 3 plans, 10 posters and 2 videocassettes.

The photographs primarily document exhibits and events at the museum. The sound recordings were generated by the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. The recordings consist of oral histories, lecture series, Dene drum music, conferences and assemblies, interviews with elders and people who lived in the North, and Christmas stories. The textual material includes records generated by the the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and the Legal Division. Textual materials include administrative files, a discussion paper and associated records on Community Museums Policy, exhibit storyline and exhibit content plans, reports, transcripts of oral history interviews, and files related to Status of Women and Gun Control. The three plans were generated by a project about Willow Flats that was conducted by the Archaeology section. The 10 posters were produced by the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and advertised public lectures and exhibits. The 2 videocassettes are in Umatic or Betacam formats and consist of master copies of "Trapline Lifeline" and "Wings of Change."

The fonds also includes files from the Legal division, including records from departmental committees and correspondence relating to advice on the development of legislation and the coordination of territorial legislation with community by-laws.

The fonds also includes Consolidations of the Liquor Act and Regulations.

The fonds also includes files from the Mining Inspection Services relating to fatality investigations.

Notes area

Physical condition


Language of material

    Script of material

      Language and script note

      G-1985-007 contains sound recordings and textual material in Inuktitut.

      Location of originals

      Availability of other formats

      Restrictions on access

      Access restricted under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Access restricted on sound recordings G-1992-036 until Jan. 1, 2033.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Finding aids

      Finding aids in various formats available; see accessions for details.

      Associated materials

      Related materials


      Physical description

      353 photographs : b&w, col. Prints, slides and negatives; ca. 1.62 meters of textual material; 31 audio reels; 24 DAT audio cassettes; 42 audio cassettes; 41 sound CDs; 2 videocassettes: Umatic, Betacam; 10 posters; 3 plans. Some material may have been duplicated; see accessions files for details.


      Copyright held by GNWT. Copyright restrictions on photographs from G-1985-007.

      Alternative identifier(s)

      Standard number

      Standard number

      Access points

      Place access points

      Name access points

      Genre access points

      Control area

      Description record identifier

      Institution identifier

      Rules or conventions

      Language of description

        Script of description


          Acquisition area