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Nunavut Act (S.C. 1993, c. 28)

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Act current to 2021-10-07 and last amended on 2019-07-15. Previous Versions

Nunavut Act

S.C. 1993, c. 28

Assented to 1993-06-10

An Act to establish a territory to be known as Nunavut and provide for its government and to amend certain Acts in consequence thereof

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Nunavut Act.


Marginal note:Definitions

 In this Act,


Minister means the Minister of Northern Affairs; (ministre)

public land

public land means any land, and any interest in any land, in Nunavut that belongs to Her Majesty in right of Canada or of which the Government of Canada has power to dispose; (terres domaniales)


Tunngavik means Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, a corporation without share capital incorporated under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-32, and any successor to that corporation. (Tunngavik)

PART IEstablishment and Government

Establishment of Nunavut

Marginal note:Establishment of Nunavut

 There is hereby established a territory of Canada, to be known as Nunavut, consisting of

  • (a) all that part of Canada north of the sixtieth parallel of north latitude and east of the boundary described in Schedule I that is not within Quebec or Newfoundland and Labrador; and

  • (b) the islands in Hudson Bay, James Bay and Ungava Bay that are not within Manitoba, Ontario or Quebec.

  • 1993, c. 28, s. 3
  • 2015, c. 3, s. 172

Seat of Government

Marginal note:Location

 The seat of government of Nunavut shall initially be at such place in Nunavut as the Governor in Council may designate, but the Legislature for Nunavut may thereafter designate another place as the seat of government.

Executive Power

Commissioner of Nunavut

Marginal note:Commissioner

  •  (1) There shall be a chief executive officer for Nunavut, called the Commissioner of Nunavut, who shall be appointed by the Governor in Council.

  • Marginal note:Publication of order

    (2) The order in council appointing the Commissioner shall be published in the Canada Gazette.

Marginal note:Action of Commissioner

  •  (1) The Commissioner shall act in accordance with any written instructions given to the Commissioner by the Governor in Council or the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Instructions

    (2) The Commissioner shall, as soon as possible after receiving written instructions, make them available to the Executive Council of Nunavut and cause them to be laid before the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, but they are effective when they are made.

Marginal note:Executive powers

 The executive powers that, immediately before the coming into force of this section, were vested by any laws of Canada in the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories shall be exercised by the Commissioner of Nunavut so far as they are applicable to and capable of being exercised in relation to the government of Nunavut as it is constituted at the time of the exercise of those powers.

Marginal note:Deputy Commissioner

 The Governor in Council may appoint a Deputy Commissioner of Nunavut, who, if the Commissioner is absent, ill or unable to act or the office of Commissioner is vacant, has and may exercise and perform all of the powers, duties and functions of the Commissioner.

Marginal note:Oaths of office

 The Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner shall, before assuming the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe such oaths of office and allegiance as the Governor in Council may prescribe.

Marginal note:Absence or incapacity

 If both the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner are absent, ill or unable to act or both those offices are vacant, the Chief Justice of the Nunavut Court of Justice has and may exercise and perform all of the powers, duties and functions of the Commissioner.

  • 1993, c. 28, s. 10
  • 1999, c. 3, s. 1
  • 2017, c. 33, s. 256

Executive Council of Nunavut

Marginal note:Executive Council established

 There is hereby established an Executive Council of Nunavut, the members of which are appointed by the Commissioner on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.

Legislative Power

Legislature for Nunavut

Marginal note:Legislature established

 There is hereby established a Legislature for Nunavut consisting of the Commissioner and the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.

Legislative Assembly of Nunavut

Marginal note:Assembly established

 There is hereby established a Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, each member of which is elected to represent an electoral district in Nunavut.

Marginal note:Number of members and electoral districts

 The Legislature may make laws prescribing the number of members of the Assembly and describing and naming the electoral districts in Nunavut.

  • 1993, c. 28, s. 14
  • 1998, c. 15, s. 2

Marginal note:Writs

  •  (1) Writs for the election of members of the Assembly shall be issued on the instructions of the Commissioner.

  • (2) [Repealed, 1998, c. 15, s. 3]

  • 1993, c. 28, s. 15
  • 1998, c. 15, s. 3

Marginal note:Oaths of office

 Each member of the Assembly shall, before assuming the duties of that office, take and subscribe before the Commissioner such oaths of office and allegiance as the Governor in Council may prescribe.

Marginal note:Duration of Assembly

 No Assembly shall continue for longer than five years from the date of the return of the writs for the general election, but the Commissioner may at any time, after consultation with the Executive Council, dissolve the Assembly.

Marginal note:Sittings of Assembly

 The Assembly shall sit at least once every twelve months.

Marginal note:Speaker

 The Assembly shall elect one of its members to be Speaker, who shall preside over the Assembly when it is sitting.

Marginal note:Quorum

 A majority of the Assembly, including the Speaker, constitutes a quorum.

Marginal note:Rules of procedure

 The Assembly may make rules for its operations and procedures, except in relation to the classes of subjects referred to in paragraphs 23(1)(b) and (c).

Marginal note:Part of indemnity not taxable

 One thousand dollars of the indemnity paid in any year to a member of the Assembly for sittings of the Assembly is not income for the purposes of the Income Tax Act.

Legislative Powers

Marginal note:Legislative powers

  •  (1) Subject to any other Act of Parliament, the Legislature may make laws in relation to the following classes of subjects:

    • (a) the election of members of the Assembly, including the qualifications of electors and of candidates for election;

    • (b) the disqualification of persons from sitting or voting as members of the Assembly;

    • (c) the indemnity and expenses of members of the Assembly, including members of a committee of the Assembly;

    • (d) the establishment and tenure of territorial offices and the appointment, conditions of employment and payment of territorial officers;

    • (e) the administration of justice in Nunavut, including the constitution, maintenance and organization of territorial courts, both of civil and of criminal jurisdiction, and the procedure in civil matters in those courts;

    • (f) the establishment, maintenance and management of prisons, jails or lock-ups in and for Nunavut;

    • (g) municipal and local institutions in Nunavut;

    • (h) hospitals and charities in and for Nunavut;

    • (i) the management and sale of the lands the right to the beneficial use or to the proceeds of which is appropriated to the Commissioner by section 49, and of the timber and wood on those lands;

    • (j) direct taxation within Nunavut in order to raise revenue for territorial, municipal or local purposes;

    • (k) licensing in order to raise revenue for territorial, municipal or local purposes;

    • (l) property and civil rights in Nunavut;

    • (m) education in and for Nunavut, subject to the condition that any law respecting education must provide that

      • (i) a majority of the ratepayers of any part of Nunavut, by whatever name called, may establish such schools in that part as they think fit, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates for those schools, and

      • (ii) the minority of the ratepayers in that part of Nunavut, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools in that part and, if they do so, they are liable only to assessments of such rates as they impose on themselves in respect of those separate schools;

    • (n) the preservation, use and promotion of the Inuktitut language, to the extent that the laws do not diminish the legal status of, or any rights in respect of, the English and French languages;

    • (o) the solemnization of marriage in Nunavut;

    • (p) intoxicants in Nunavut, including the definition of what constitutes an intoxicant;

    • (q) the incorporation of companies with territorial objects, excluding railway, steamship, air transport, telegraph and telephone companies;

    • (r) agriculture in Nunavut;

    • (s) the preservation of game in Nunavut;

    • (t) the entering into of intergovernmental agreements by the Commissioner or any other official of the Government of Nunavut;

    • (u) the expenditure of money for territorial purposes;

    • (v) generally, all matters of a merely local or private nature in Nunavut;

    • (w) the imposition of fines, penalties, imprisonment or other punishment in respect of the contravention of any law made by the Legislature; and

    • (x) such other matters as the Governor in Council may, by order, designate.

  • Marginal note:Restriction on powers

    (2) Nothing in subsection (1) shall be construed as giving the Legislature greater powers with respect to any class of subjects described in that section than are given to the legislatures of the provinces by sections 92 and 95 of the Constitution Act, 1867 with respect to similar subjects described in those sections.

  • Marginal note:Laws in respect of Indians and Inuit

    (3) Subject to any other Act of Parliament, nothing in subsection (2) shall be construed as preventing the Legislature from making laws of general application that apply to or in respect of Indians and Inuit.

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