Research Licensing in Nunavut

Research in Nunavut is subject to a variety of federal and territorial laws and regulations. Researchers planning to work in Nunavut are responsible for identifying and applying for all of the authorizations necessary to conduct their projects.

The Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) administers Nunavut's Scientists Act. The act requires that anyone conducting social, health, land or water based (abiotic) research in the Nunavut settlement area must first obtain a licence from the Nunavut Research Institute. In short, NRI is responsible for licensing all research related to Nunavut's air, land, water, and people.

The other licences required for research in Nunavut include:

  • Wildlife research permit for studies of terrestrial wildlife (including plants, insects, and animals) and birds, issued by the Nunavut Department of Environment, under the Nunavut Wildlife Act.
  • Fisheries research permit for studies of marine mammals, fish, and fish habitat (including aquatic plants), issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, under the Federal Fisheries Act.
  • Archeology and Paleontology research permit issued by Nunavut Department of Culture Elders, Language and Youth under the Archaeological Sites Regulations of the Nunavut Act.
  • National Parks research permit issued by Parks Canada under the National Parks Act.

Various additional regulatory authorizations may also be required for field research activities. These requirements include:

  • confirmation that proposed field activities conform to the regional land use plans for North Baffin and Kivalliq (contact the Nunavut Planning Commission);
  • land use permit from AANDC for projects on Federal Crown Lands that exceed a specified number of person days of fieldwork (Contact the AANDC Lands Division);
  • permission from the appropriate regional Inuit association to access or use Inuit Owned Lands to conduct research;
  • development permits to build or install permanent research infrastructure in Nunavut communities;
  • environmental impact screening by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

We strongly advise that researchers initiate the permit application process at least 6 months prior to their planned start date. While preparing their research licence applications, researchers are strongly encouraged to discuss their research plans with (and incorporate feedback and suggestions from) Nunavut community authorities and other local and regional agencies who may be affected by and/or have an interest in the proposed study.

For more information on which agencies to consult and practical ideas on how to engage and communicate effectively with communities in research, please refer to Negotiating Research Relationships with Inuit Communities: A Guide for Researchers.