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.
On Thursday, 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, Aluki Kotierk, 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.
With the devolution agreement, our decisions, our resources, our opportunities are in our hands – for Nunavut, by Nunavut. AANGAINNIQ – a clear purpose! pic.twitter.com/2IeqEelLj0
— Premier P.J. Akeeagok (@j_akeeagok) January 18, 2024
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.
Devolution is an essential step in the political and economic development of Nunavut and on the shared path of reconciliation. We will continue to work together to empower Nunavut over its economic future, strengthen the Inuit-Crown relationship, and ensure a better, brighter future for all those who call Nunavut home.
“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. 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.”
“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. 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.”
“Nunavut, in Inuktitut, means ‘our land’. Its creation, through the Nunavut Agreement, was a critical step towards Inuit having meaningful control over the fate of our homeland. In the 25 years since then, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated has been actively working to realize that goal, and today we celebrate this significant milestone on the way to that objective. We look forward to working with the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut to implement this significant agreement, including the Human Resource Development Strategy, and to continuing our journey towards self-determination for Nunavut Inuit.”
“The signing of the Nunavut Devolution Agreement marks a new chapter for Nunavut, where decision-making will be in the hands of Nunavummiut, whose culture, economy, and aspirations are closely linked to the lands around them. This historic agreement reflects and supports their needs and priorities and ensures that economic and other benefits of resource development in the region are shared with Inuit and all Nunavummiut.
- Advancing Nunavut devolution has been a federal priority since the creation of the territory in 1999 under the Nunavut Act and is central to advancing reconciliation and self-determination.
- In 2019, the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut, and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated took an important step on the road to devolution in Nunavut with the signing of an Agreement-in-Principle (AIP). The AIP set the stage for negotiations of the final agreement that was signed today.
- Devolution will strengthen regional governance and accountability, provide Nunavut with greater control for decisions on lands and resources, and open the door for new revenue streams and economic development opportunities in the territory.
- Until today, Nunavut was the last territory without control of its own lands and resources. Devolution was completed in the Yukon in 2003 and in the Northwest Territories in 2014.
- Today’s announcement delivers on commitments made in Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework. Launched in 2019 and developed with Indigenous representatives and six territorial and provincial governments, the 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.