About Nunavut

Nunavut (the Inuktitut word for “our land”) was created April 1, 1999 as a result of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. For millennia a major Inuit homeland, Nunavut today is a growing society that blends the strength of its deep Inuit roots and traditions with a new spirit of diversity.


It is a territory that spans the two million square kilometres of Canada extending north and west of Hudson Bay, above the tree line to the North Pole. With landscapes that range from the flat muskeg of the Kivalliq to the towering mountain peaks and fiords of North Baffin, it is a Territory of extraordinary variety and breathtaking beauty.

With a median age of 22.1 years, Nunavut’s population is the youngest in Canada. It is also one of the fastest growing; the 2001 population of just fewer than 29,000 represents an increase of eight per cent in only five years. Inuit represent about 85 percent of the population, and form the foundation of the Territory’s culture. Government, business and day-to-day life are shaped by Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, the traditional knowledge, values and wisdom of Nunavut’s founding people.

Our 26 communities range in size from tiny Bathurst Inlet (population 25) to Iqaluit, the capital (population almost 6,000). Grise Fiord, the northernmost settlement, lies at 78 degrees north: the hamlet of Sanikiluaq in the Belcher Islands is actually further south than Ontario’s northern border. None are accessible by road or rail; everything, from people to fuel to food, arrives by plane or sealift during summer season. This physical isolation accounts for the highest cost of living in Canada, reflected in prices throughout the Territory.

The largest employer in Nunavut is government – federal, territorial, housing, retail stores, various organizations/ local businesses and municipal government. But new jobs are rapidly emerging in the mining and resource development sectors. Important growth is also occurring in the tourism sector, in fisheries, and in Inuit art such as carvings and prints.

The realization of Nunavut’s full economic potential will, in part, be contingent upon the improvement of the Territory’s infrastructure. Existing housing, sewage and waste management, transportation and telecommunications systems are already stretched beyond their limits, and will come under even greater pressure from Nunavut’s growing population.

With four languages (Inuktitut, Inuinaqtun, English and French), an area one-fifth the size of Canada, and a population density of one person per 70 km sq., the creation of Nunavut has called for innovative approaches to the delivery of virtually every aspect of government programs and services. From health to education, from justice to the structure of the Legislative Assembly, the institutions and structures that define Nunavut are designed to meet the needs of a unique people in a unique land.

The challenges are many; but in partnership with Canada, and building on the strength and energy of its people, Canada’s newest Territory looks to the future with confidence and hope.


Find out more about Nunavut by clicking on the following links:

Text are from the Government of Nunavut web site.