Nunavut devolution

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Northern governance and the transfer or devolution of responsibilities and powers to the territories 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 1960s, the federal government has gradually transferred responsibility to territorial governments for matters such as:

Discussions to transfer and devolve responsibilities and powers 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 Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. By devolving these responsibilities to the territory, the parties aim to give Nunavummiut greater control for decisions on lands and resources, thereby strengthening regional governance and accountability while opening the door to new revenue streams and economic development opportunities.

Significant progress has been made in northern devolution with Yukon successfully managing its own land and natural resource since 2003, and the Northwest Territories devolution took effect in 2014.

How devolution works

Many responsibilities that used to be exercised by the federal government have been transferred to territorial governments over the years. These include health care, education, municipal services, and in the Northwest Territories and Yukon the management of public lands and resources.

There are typically 5 phases to a devolution process:

Signing of the Nunavut devolution agreement-in-principle

The parties to the Nunavut devolution process are:

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