Northern governance and the devolving of province like powers is a long standing policy objective of the Government of Canada. Devolution in Nunavut is an essential step in the political and economic development of the territory.
Since the 1970s, the federal government has gradually transferred responsibility for health, education, social services, housing, airports and language to the region. Discussions to transfer province-like responsibilities for land and resource management to the Government of Nunavut have taken place at various times since the creation of the territory. These responsibilities are currently held within Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).
The Lands and Resources Devolution Negotiation Protocol, which was signed in 2008 by the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik, Incorporated (NTI), was the first major step towards Nunavut devolution. The Protocol will be used to guide the parties through each step of the devolution negotiations process and toward a final devolution agreement in Nunavut.
Formal negotiations on a devolution Agreement-in-Principle began in October 2014. Negotiations continue, with Chief Federal Negotiator Mr. Fred Caron, appointed in July 2016. The Agreement-in-Principle, once signed by the parties, will serve as a guide for the negotiation of a final devolution agreement.
Devolution is an important step in the political and economic development of Nunavut. The Government of Canada remains committed to working with the Government of Nunavut and NTI to advance the devolution of lands and resource management responsibilities in Nunavut.