Since Nunavut’s creation as a territory close to 25 years ago, the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut, and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated have worked in close partnership to realize the goal of economic, social, and cultural well-being of Nunavut through self-determination.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, the Minister of Northern Affairs, Dan Vandal, the Premier of Nunavut, P.J. Akeeagok, and the President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), Aluki Kotierk, recently signed the Nunavut Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement – a significant milestone in the history of the territory that was witnessed by Inuit leaders, dignitaries, and local citizens.
This landmark agreement is the largest land transfer in Canada’s history. With the agreement, Nunavut and its residents will now be able to make decisions about how public lands, freshwater, and non-renewable resources are used in the territory, and reap the benefits of responsible and sustainable resource development. Devolution will create Northern-led jobs, opportunities, investments, and more prosperity for Nunavut and its people, for generations to come.
“This is a historic day for Nunavut and for Canada. It is the result of the strong, collaborative relationships we have developed with the territory and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated to deliver jobs, investment, and transformative opportunity for Nunavummiut,” said Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. “As we walk this shared path of reconciliation, the most important decisions to impact Nunavut will be made in Nunavut, by its people, and for its people.”
The agreement reflects and supports the priorities of Nunavut. With a shared commitment to the vision of self-determination, we will continue working in close partnership over the next three years to implement the transfer of responsibilities, which will be completed by April 1, 2027.
“Namminiqsurniq, or devolution, is one more step towards the vision of a self-reliant Nunavut. With the signing of this agreement, we can now bring decision-making about our land and waters home. It means that we, the people most invested in our homeland, will be the ones managing our natural resources,” said P.J. Akeeagok, Premier of Nunavut. “While it has taken generations of our leaders to achieve this work, today’s signing of the devolution agreement is primarily for young Nunavummiut across our territory.”
Launched in 2019 and developed with Indigenous representatives and six territorial and provincial governments, Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework is a long-term vision for the Arctic and the North that reflects the priorities and perspectives of Arctic and northern people. A key objective of this co-developed framework is to complete outstanding commitments, including the devolution of province-like powers to territorial governments.
Law firm Gowling WLG highlighted the role played by Adam Chamberlain, leader of the firm’s Canada North Group, and Chris Hummel, associate, in representing Nunavut in this landmark agreement. The lawyers harnessed extensive experience and expertise in northern regulatory matters and the Nunavut Agreement, as Chamberlain and Hummel worked to ensure the interests of the Government of Nunavut and Nunavummiut (Inuit and otherwise) were protected throughout the negotiation process.
The commitment to fostering positive relations and achieving mutually beneficial agreements was evident during the signing ceremony, where Adam Chamberlain was present alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nunavut Premier PJ Akeeagok, NTI President Aluki Kotierk and Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal. (Credit: Gowling WLG.)
The commitments are outlined here: Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework