Life in Nunavut

Learn more about life in Nunavut, Canada and find out more about the pathways to Canadian Permanent Residency that will get you here.

Nestled within the vast and breathtaking landscapes of Northern Canada, Nunavut stands as a testament to the raw beauty and unparalleled opportunities Canada offers. As the world’s least populated territory, Nunavut is not just a place; it is an experience waiting to be embraced. In this comprehensive guide, we invite you to delve into the heart of Nunavut – exploring its rich cultural heritage, thriving economy, and the unique lifestyle that defines this northern jewel. From the Arctic tundra to vibrant urban centers, join us on a journey through the various facets of life in Nunavut, where each day unfolds like a chapter in a captivating tale of adventure, resilience, and discovery.

About Nunavut

Nunavut, Canada, captivates with its pristine landscapes and unique cultural tapestry. Encompassing vast expanses of Arctic wilderness, from the sweeping tundra to icy fjords and majestic mountains, the territory stands as a testament to nature’s greatness.

Beyond its breathtaking scenery, the territory boasts a resilient economy driven by thriving mining and fishing industries. Cultural richness permeates daily life, with Inuit heritage deeply embedded in traditions, art, and storytelling.

Nunavut’s education, healthcare, and sustainable practices reflects a dedication to both its residents and the preservation of its unparalleled environment. With its multilingual communities and active lifestyle, this northern gem offers a distinctive and enriching experience for those seeking a connection with nature, adventure, and a close-knit community spirit.


Nunavut, Canada’s noCanada’sem, unfolds across a vast and mesmerizing landscape. The Arctic tundra, icy fjords, and majestic mountains create an unparalleled natural spectacle. The untamed beauty of Nunavut is a haven for those seeking an authentic connection with nature.

Nunavut is Canada’s youngest territory, settled over four thousand years ago, and recognized as Canadian land in 1999. It is a land of unparalleled beauty and vastness, the largest yet least populated among Canada’s prCanada’sand territories. Covering an expansive 2,093,190 square kilometers (808,190 square miles), this Arctic wonderland captivates with its awe-inspiring landscapes and a population of approximately 36,858 people, of which 84 percent are Inuit.

You cannot get here by car, and Nunavut communities are not linked together by highway. Traveling between Nunavut communities is usually done by aircraft or cruise ship, but in some cases it is possible to reach another community by snowmobile, dogsled expedition or powerboat.


Navigating Nunavut’s eNunavut’sterrain is made possible through a network of air travel and, in some regions, maritime transport. Adequate transportation infrastructure connects communities and facilitates economic activities.


In the heart of this wilderness lies a robust economy, resilient against its remote location. Nunavut thrives on its abundant natural resources, with thriving mining and fishing industries. These sectors not only contribute to the economic stability of the territory but also offer promising career opportunities.

Culture and Heritage

Immersing yourself in Nunavut means embracing the rich tapestry of Inuit culture. Traditional practices, captivating art, and age-old storytelling permeate daily life, creating a vibrant and unique cultural atmosphere. The warmth of Inuit hospitality adds a personal touch to the northern experience.


Nunavut is loved by adventurers from around the globe. The Arctic wilderness invites exploration, the Northern Lights paint the skies with mesmerizing colors, and engaging with local Inuit communities promises an authentic cultural encounter. Tourism in Nunavut is an adventure waiting to unfold.


Nunavut prioritizes education, blending modern schooling with the preservation of indigenous knowledge. The territory’s accessible and quality education system ensures that residents are equipped with the skills needed for a thriving workforce. Learn more about the Canadian Education system.


Healthcare is an important aspect to consider when you decide to immigrate to Canada. The Nunavut territory places a high value on healthcare, ensuring residents have access to essential medical services.

It faces unique challenges in delivering healthcare to its dispersed population of over 38,000 residents. Its vast distances, harsh climate, and limited infrastructure make it difficult to provide timely and equitable access to care.

The Government of Nunavut Department of Health directly delivers healthcare services through:

  • 22 community health centers
  • 2 regional health centers in Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay
  • Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit

Additional structures within the health system include a Public health unit in Iqaluit, fly-in specialist services, and medical evacuations.

Despite the challenges of remote living, Nunavut remains committed to the well-being of its population. Health and safety are paramount in this northern community.

Learn more about Canada’s healthcare system.


When you decide to immigrate to Canada and settle in Nunavut, you’ll have to embrace the Arctic climate. The territory has a polar climate with significant seasonal variations. Winters are long and cold, with average temperatures of -30°C to -40°C. Summers are short and cool, with average temperatures around 5°C to 10°C.

Local wind patterns and terrain can create microclimates with slightly warmer or colder temperatures than the surrounding area.

While challenging, this unique climate contributes to the breathtaking landscapes that define Nunavut. Each season brings its magic, creating a dynamic and ever-changing environment.

Government and Politics

Nunavut operates under a public government system, adhering to the principles of Canadian parliamentary democracy. In this unique setup, all Nunavut residents have the right to participate in elections, both as candidates and voters, with Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) elected individually rather than representing political parties.

After a general election, MLAs convene to choose a premier from among the elected members. Subsequently, ministers are appointed, and portfolios are assigned by the premier. The ‘government’s are established collaboratively, with input from ministers and members based on the identified issues during the election process.

Despite being a consensus government, it still requires majority support for proposed measures. Ministers and the premier are obligated to consistently address and be accountable for throughout the legislative and budgetary processes.

This system harmonizes the principles of parliamentary democracy with the indigenous values of maximum cooperation, efficient use of leadership resources, and shared accountability. Nunavut shares this governance model with the Northwest Territories, where a substantial Aboriginal foundation also underlies its public government.

Inuit qaujimajatuqangit, a set of eight guiding principles, is integral to Nunavut’s government. Rooted in Inuit traditional knowledge and values, Inuit qaujimajatuqangit informs decision-making, policies, and laws. It serves as a guide, reflecting the key philosophies, attitudes, and practices of Nunavut’s INunavut’srity. While implementing Inuit qaujimajatuqangit in day-to-day governance poses a significant challenge, the Government of Nunavut (GN) remains steadfastly committed to this goal.


Inuit languages, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun, hold a significant place in daily communication. Canada’s official languages, English and French, are also widely spoken. This fosters a multilingual and inclusive environment. This linguistic diversity adds to the cultural richness of Nunavut.

Sports and Recreation

Engaging in various sports and recreational activities is a way of life in Nunavut. From traditional Inuit games to modern sports, residents embrace an active lifestyle. This not only promotes physical well-being but also brings about a strong sense of community spirit.

Wildlife and Environment

Nunavut is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The untouched wilderness is home to diverse species, including polar bears, caribou, and marine life. Conservation efforts ensure the preservation of this unique ecosystem, allowing residents and visitors to witness nature in its purest form.

Cost of Living

If you plan to immigrate to Nunavut, you should know that the cost of living here is significantly higher than the national average in Canada, particularly for essential items like groceries, housing, and transportation. The territory is estimated to be 58% more expensive than the national average. This means a household income that would be considered comfortable in another part of Canada might not be enough to cover basic expenses in Nunavut. Iqaluit, the capital city, is often considered the most expensive community in Nunavut.

Specific Costs

Food costs are 2-3 times higher than the national average due to the remote location and reliance on airlifted goods. Fresh produce can be especially expensive and limited.

Rent and homeownership costs can be very high, particularly in Iqaluit. Limited housing availability and high construction costs contribute to this issue.

Air travel is the primary mode of transportation between communities, making travel between towns expensive and infrequent. Fuel and vehicle maintenance costs are also high.

Heating costs are significantly higher due to the harsh climate and reliance on imported fuel. Electricity and water costs can also be higher than average.

Factors Affecting Cost of Living in Nunavut include:

  • Remote location: Transportation costs for goods and services are high due to Nunavut’s remote setting.
  • Harsh climate: Heating and winter clothing needs contribute to higher expenses.
  • Limited infrastructure: Lack of local production and competition drive up prices.
  • High reliance on government services: Salaries for government employees can be higher, but so are the costs of providing these services.

Business and Innovation

Nunavut fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Opportunities for business growth are abundant, particularly in sectors like ecotourism and sustainable resource management. The territory’sterritory’s to sustainable practices aligns with global trends, making it an attractive destination for forward-thinking entrepreneurs.

In-Demand Jobs in Nunavut

Want to work in Canada? Then explore the diverse and lucrative career opportunities Nunavut has to offer. From thriving positions in the mining and fishing industries to essential roles in education, healthcare, and ecotourism, the job market reflects the territory’s resilience and commitment to growth. Here are the top in-demand jobs in Nunavut.

OccupationNOC CodeSalary (CAD)
Mining EngineersNOC 21330100,000
GeologistsNOC 21102127,618
Environmental SpecialistNOC 21120100,025
TeachersNOC 4122048,750
NursesNOC 3130176,031
DoctorNOC 31102103,406
Police officerNOC 4210072,111
CarpentersNOC 7231051,683
ElectricianNOC 7220072,170
Heavy Equipment OperatorsNOC 7340072,170

Learn more about in-demand jobs in Canada.

Top Cities in Nunavut

Nunavut, being a territory with a unique demographic and geographical makeup, doesn’t have traditional cities in the same sense as other provinces or territories in Canada. However, it does have notable communities and settlements. Iqaluit is the capital and largest community in Nunavut. Here are some examples of cities in Nunavut.


Iqaluit, the Capital: Iqaluit is the vibrant heart of Nunavut, boasting stunning scenery, rich Inuit culture, and a growing urban vibe. Explore the Legislative Assembly building, soak in panoramic views from the Niqitaaq Heli-Skiing Base, or delve into Inuit art at the Nunavut Arts Centre.

Rankin Inlet, the Crossroads of the Arctic

Renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and diverse community, Rankin Inlet is a hub for traditional Inuit practices and contemporary arts. Visit the Kivalliq Wildlife Observation Area for caribou sightings, learn throat singing from local elders, or catch a performance at the Ujarak Centre for Inuit Art and Culture.

Cambridge Bay

This historic town on Victoria Island offers easy access to stunning fjords and the mighty Arctic Ocean. Take a boat tour through the Northwest Passage, delve into the fascinating history at the Naujaat Cultural Centre, or witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of polar bears migrating across the sea ice.

Pond Inlet

Famed for its summer gatherings of majestic narwhals, Pond Inlet is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Hike the scenic trails of Baffin Island National Park, paddle the crystal-clear waters of Admiralty Inlet, or witness the mesmerizing auroras borealis dancing across the night sky.

Pangnirtung, Land of Fjords and Mountains

Nestled amongst dramatic fjords and towering peaks, Pangnirtung is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and artists. Hike the Pangnirtung Pass for breathtaking vistas, kayak through the pristine waters of Pangnirtung Fjord, or witness the annual Toonik Tyme Spring Festival celebrating Inuit games and traditions.

You will love the unique charm of Nunavut’s cNunavut’sch offering a distinct blend of cultural richness, economic prospects, and natural beauty. From the capital city of Iqaluit to the smaller yet equally vibrant communities, Nunavut’s uNunavut’sers are hubs of opportunity and community life.

Immigrate to Nunavut

Ready to immigrate to Nunavut? Then it is important to understand the steps involved in establishing a new life in this northern paradise. From obtaining Canadian permanent residency to navigating employment opportunities, Nunavut opens its doors to those seeking a unique and rewarding experience.

Nunavut PNP

Nunavut does not have a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The PNP is a program run by individual Canadian provinces and territories that allows them to nominate skilled workers for permanent residency in Canada. However, Nunavut, along with Quebec, has chosen not to participate in the PNP.

There are a few reasons why Nunavut may not have a PNP. One reason is that the territory has a very small population, with just over 33,300 people. As a result, there may not be a large enough demand for skilled workers to justify having a PNP program. Additionally, Nunavut has a high cost of living and challenging living conditions, which may make it less attractive to immigrants than other parts of Canada.

However, Nunavut is still interested in attracting skilled workers. The territory has a number of programs and initiatives in place to help employers find and hire qualified candidates. For example, the Government of Nunavut has a website called “Work in Nunavut” that lists current job openings in the territory. Additionally, Nunavut has partnered with a number of organizations to provide support to newcomers, such as the Nunavut Trades and Skills Training Secretariat and the Nunavut Literacy Council.

So, while Nunavut may not have a PNP, there are still a number of ways for skilled workers to immigrate to the territory.

Express Entry System

The Express Entry system is a points-based online system used by the Canadian government to manage applications for skilled worker permanent residency under three separate programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP): For skilled workers with foreign work experience and qualifications.
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC): For skilled workers with skilled Canadian work experience.
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): For skilled trades workers with specific trade qualifications and experience.

Self-Employed Persons Class

Entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas and the potential to contribute to Nunavut’s development can apply under the Self-employed Person’s program. Having strong connections to the territory and a viable business plan are crucial for success.

Family Sponsorship

Individuals with close family members already living in Nunavut can immigrate through family sponsorship. This program offers a pathway for Canadian permanent residency and strengthens family ties within the territory.

Pros and Cons

Weigh the pros and cons of living in Nunavut to make an informed decision about this unique lifestyle. Balancing the extraordinary opportunities with the challenges posed by its remote location and Arctic climate is essential. A comprehensive understanding ensures that residents embrace the beauty of Nunavut fully. Here are are the pros and cons to consider before you immigrate to Nunavut.

Breathtaking Natural BeautyHarsh Climate
Cultural RichnessLimited Services
Tight-Knit CommunitiesHigh Cost of Living
Unique Career OpportunitiesIsolation
Closeness to Traditional LifestyleLimited Employment Opportunities



Do I Need a Work Permit to Work in Nunavut if I Don’t Have Canadian Permanent Residency?

Yes, you will need a Canadian Work Permit to work in Nunavut Canada legally. Learn how to obtain a Canadian work permit.

How Long Do Express Entry Applications Take to be Processed?

Express Entry processing takes six months. This makes it the fastest way to gain Canadian permanent residency.

Capital City


Average Salary

$74, 600 / year

Unemployment Rate




Top Industries

Arts and crafts, mining, fishing, hunting and trapping, and tourism