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Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection Division Mandate

The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) delivers a range of regulatory and operational program functions aimed towards protecting, promoting and enhancing Nunavut’s natural environment.  The priorities of the EPD are guided by Avatittinnik Kamatsiarniq, the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit principle of Environmental Stewardship, and focus on the responsible use of the natural environment, including:


Protection of the Environment

  • Monitoring the impacts of human activities on the environment and identifying environmental issues
  • Developing and implementing legislative initiatives, strategy guidelines and standards to address, resolve and prevent environmental issues
  • Promotion and Enhancement of the Environment
  • Promoting environmental stewardship to minimize impacts of industrial and other economic activity to the environment
  • Educating internal and external stakeholders to ensure understanding of initiatives
  • Contributing to cross-jurisdictional body of knowledge to ensure incorporation of environmental stewardship throughout the Government of Nunavut (GN) and with external stakeholders


These priorities are primarily carried out through the Division’s three Sections: Land Use Planning and Environmental Assessment; Environmental Sciences; and Environmental Compliance.


To effectively achieve these priorities, the Division also: sets the strategic direction for the Sections to ensure alignment with the vision and mandate of the Department of Environment and overall GN priorities; works to improve internal Section processes to better deliver programs as required; and supports and develops Section and Division staff.

Visit the Resources page for information on Environmental Protection Legislation and Regulations in Nunavut.


Section Mandates


Land Use Planning and Environmental Assessment

The Land Use Planning and Environmental Assessment of the EPD is responsible for supporting the DOE and the GN in the delivery of obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement for land use planning, environmental assessment and general monitoring. 


Working closely with other GN departments and agencies, this Section provides expertise on air, land, water and wildlife, and works to identify and mitigate potential impacts from development. Specifically, the Section:


  • Coordinates the GN’s participation in the screening, environmental impact assessment and on-going monitoring of resource development projects in Nunavut;
  • Coordinates GN responses in the development, review and approval of land use plans and planning policies that guide resource development in Nunavut;
  • Monitors human impacts and coordinates with proponents to facilitate responsible environmental practices.
  • Develops guidelines and standards related to land use planning and environmental assessment; and
  • Educates stakeholders and promotes land use planning and environmental assessment in Nunavut.


Environmental Sciences

The Environmental Sciences Section of the EPD is responsible for developing and promoting pollution prevention activities, and undertaking work related to contaminated sites, air quality, and water management. Specifically, this Section:

  • Monitors and develops legislative initiatives and guidelines related to air quality, waste (domestic and hazardous) and contaminated sites;
  • Conducts ongoing community visits to investigate contaminated sites;
  • Maintains an inventory of contaminated sites on Commissioner’s land in Nunavut;
  • Conducts human health and environmental risk assessment;
  • Conducts ongoing monitoring of key airborne pollutants that impact human health;
  • Partners with stakeholders and other GN departments to continually improve waste management;
  • Educates stakeholders and promotes pollution prevention – including anti-littering – in Nunavut;
  • Develops strategy for water resource management and water security that prepares the GN for future water management responsibility and assists in transboundary agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions; and
  • Builds capacity for the GN’s water resource management.


Environmental Compliance

The Environmental Compliance Section of the EPD is responsible for the enforcement of the Environmental Protection Act and the Pesticide Act, and associated regulations. Specifically, this Section:

  • Monitors and develops legislative initiatives and guidelines related to soil quality and the management of waste – including spills and contaminated soils;
  • Assists in the management of hazardous waste
  • Undertakes inspections, investigations and enforcement action; and
  • Educates stakeholders and promotes environmental compliance in Nunavut.