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Nunavut Planning Commission concludes Final Public Hearings on Historic Land Use Plan

Press Release

Nov 28, 2022

IQALUIT, NU, Nov. 28 – One of the most extensive consultations in the country’s history concluded as the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) wrapped up public hearings on its draft land use plan for the territory, the largest in the world covering one-fifth of Canada.

The latest Inuit-led hearings ended Nov. 19 and involved participants from all 25 Nunavut communities, Inuit villages in northern Quebec, and Dënesųłiné communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as government, Inuit associations, industry and non-governmental organizations. The consultations centred on the critical issues of caribou, land access, marine mammals and shipping, climate change, conservation and responsible natural resource development.

“The passion of our people about the future was obvious in every community we visited, and we thank everyone who participated,” said NPC Chair Andrew Nakashuk. ”Now is the time to commit to the necessary compromises that will finalize a plan for Nunavut reflecting the vision of Inuit.

”A balanced, comprehensive plan will provide clarity and a stable road map to guide wildlife protection and economic activities that will increase the health and prosperity of our communities for generations to come.”

While the Commission is reviewing the latest feedback on the most recent draft plan released in July 2021, the timeline for submissions from all interested parties has been extended to Feb. 10, 2023, with additional comments on those submissions accepted until Feb. 24, 2023. A final recommended plan covering land, fresh water and marine areas will be considered for approval next spring by the federal government, Nunavut Government and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

The journey toward a land use plan began in 2007 and has included four successive drafts, dozens of community meetings, technical briefings and several rounds of public hearings, including the most recent ones that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission travelled to Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Pond Inlet, NU, as well as Thompson, MB, before concluding with six days of hearings in Iqaluit.

More than 100 groups presented at the sessions, which were live streamed on the Internet and broadcast on Uvagut TV.

”We have heard the voices of Inuit Elders, community members and organizations, hunters and trappers – they are the backbone of this plan,” said Commission Executive Director Sharon Ehaloak. ”We also heard from industry, business, environment and wildlife groups and governments. The commission is confident that, in the end, we will implement an appropriate balance of economic opportunity while allowing the traditional Inuit way of life to thrive.”

As the mandated gatekeepers for land use in Nunavut, the Commission will ensure sustainable economic development projects proceed in clearly designated areas where mining and other industrial activities are permitted. Plan requirements will protect the region’s wildlife and their habitats and ensure future generations can continue to harvest caribou, beluga, seal, Arctic char and other essential foods for many Inuit.

A final approved Nunavut Land Use Plan will be legally binding and mark an important step to fully implement the 1993 Nunavut Agreement, the largest Indigenous land claim settlement in Canadian history which led to the territory’s creation. The plan is a major step in furthering national reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, a process that is vital to the future of Canada.

The Commission’s entire public record, including consultations, written comments, submissions and transcripts is available online at http://lupit.nunavut.ca/portal/registry.php.

A short video explaining the importance of Nunavut planning is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bFYz5g0bpY.

About the Nunavut Planning Commission:

The Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring land use plans for resource use and development in the Nunavut Settlement Area. The NPC was established in 1993 under the Nunavut Agreement.

For further information: Media Inquiries: Beth Gorham, Quinn Public Affairs, (613) 794-2037

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