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Land Use Plans


The Nunavut Planning Commission is mandated under Article 11 of the Nunavut Agreement to develop, implement and monitor land use plans.

The purpose of a land use plan, as stated in Article 11.3.2 of the Nunavut Agreement is to “protect and promote the existing and future well-being of the residents and communities of the Nunavut Settlement Area, taking into account the interests of all Canadians, and to protect, and where necessary, to restore the environmental integrity of the Nunavut Settlement Area.”


Under Article 11, the definition of “land” includes water and resources including wildlife. The Article applies to both land and marine areas within the Nunavut Settlement Area and the Outer Land Fast Ice Zone. Land use plans developed under the authority of the Commission apply to all land use activities that occur on Crown Land, Inuit Owned Land or other privately held lands. The development of municipal plans is the responsibility of the municipal governments. For added clarity, plans do not apply to, or within, the boundaries of National Parks, National Historic Parks or National Historic Sites administered by the Parks Canada Agency, or Territorial Parks once they have been established.


Land use plans have the authority to direct resource use and development by placing obligations on all federal and territorial government departments and agencies, the Nunavut Impact Review Board, Nunavut Water Board, Nunavut Wildlife Management Board and Inuit organizations to conduct their operational activities relating to the management, regulation, and use of land in accordance with applicable land use plans, within the extent of their mandates and jurisdictional responsibilities. Plan development and implementation requires the active involvement of both Inuit and Government to ensure the obligations are realistic and appropriate.

Land use plans are implemented on the basis of jurisdictional responsibility. All federal and territorial government departments and agencies conduct their activities in accordance with approved land use plans. Implementation of land use plans is also achieved by the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC), which reviews all applications for project proposals to determine whether they are in conformity with the plans. Project proposals that are not in conformity with the plans cannot proceed further into the regulatory system unless the appropriate Minister exempts the project proposal from conformity with the approved plan. Where project proposals are in conformity with the plans, the proposal (along with the NPC conformity determination and any recommendations) is advanced through to the next level of the regulatory system.


There are two regional land use plans currently in effect: the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan (NBRLUP) and the Keewatin Regional Land Use Plan (KRLUP). These approved land use plans provide guidance and direction for the conservation, development and utilization of land within their respective planning regions.

Both the KRLUP and NBRLUP provide a framework that supports the well-being of residents, and environmental integrity. They contain actions, recommendations and requirements that guide land and resource use in the region in accordance with the principles of the Nunavut Agreement. 


The Nunavut Planning Commission is in the process of developing a Nunavut-wide land use plan. Once approved, it will replace the North Baffin and Keewatin Regional Land Use Plans and guide resource use and development throughout the territory.