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Commissioner of Nunavut



The Honourable Eva Qamaniq Aariak
Commissioner of Nunavut


Role of the Commissioner

The Commissioner’s role is much like that of a Lieutenant Governor of a province.

Nunavut has what is called “responsible government” meaning that the Executive Council holds power only as long as it is supported by a majority of the members of the elected legislative assembly.


The symbolic role of the Commissioner

The Commissioner exercises power by acting as a symbol of the territory, supporting the values its citizens have agreed to be governed by.

The Governor General personifies the national and federal interests of all the people of Canada, while the Commissioner personifies the interests of the people of the territory. Over them all the Queen is a figurehead symbolizing the unity of these separate interests.

The Commissioner is “Head of State” but not Head of the Government”.

No one but the Commissioner plays the role of flesh-and-blood symbol of the territory, representing the interests of the territory’s people.

Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly do not become law until they receive the Commissioner’s assent. The Commissioner gives assent to the bills on the advice of the First Minister (Premier)

The powers of the commissioner include both statutory and customary responsibilities. Statutory responsibilities include the swearing-in of members of the legislative assembly and executive council, the reading of the speech opening sessions of the legislative assembly and the signing of documents such as orders-in-council, Commissioner’s warrants, statutory appointments and dispositions of Commissioner’s Lands.

Customary responsibilities include the Commissioner’s attendance at official functions and issuing declarations that are not legal in nature.


Visit the Commissioner of Nunavut's website.