New governance initiatives like co-management can be made effective through the use of agency rulemaking. Using the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Assessment Board as a case study, this paper affirms that it is possible for marginalized stakeholders to participate in new governance arrangements like co-management and to alter decision-making. The study of participation presented here illustrates: 1) that a high level of agency support for community participation in rule-making can lead to rules which reflect community values; and 2) that agency implementation of community values has led to the increased use of stakeholder collaboration through private agreement. Nonetheless, the paper also reveals that there are limitations on the ability to translate social needs into privately negotiated agreements. Where negotiations depart from highly commoditized terms and attempt to include diverse community values, stakeholder participation is bounded. Consequently, this paper questions the use of negotiated agreements to meet the goals of stakeholder participation, as conceived by deliberative democratic strands of new governance.