Back to homepage NUNAVUT



Nunavut, or “Our Land” in Inuktitut, encompasses over 2 million km2 and has a population of 35,944 residents (2016 census), approximately 85 per cent of whom are Inuit. Covering roughly the part of the Canadian mainland and Arctic Archipelago that lies to the north and northeast of the treeline, Nunavut is the largest and northernmost territory of Canada and the fifth largest administrative division in the world.

Nunavummiut live in 25 communities spread across this vast territory, with the largest number, 7,740 (2016 census), in the capital, Iqaluit. The creation of Nunavut in 1999 (the region was previously part of the Northwest Territories) represented the first major change to the political map of Canada since the incorporation of Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949.

Beyond changing the internal political boundaries of Canada, Nunavut’s formation represented a moment of great political significance; through political activism and long-term negotiations, a small, marginalized Indigenous group overcame many obstacles to peacefully establish a government that they controlled within the Canadian state, thereby gaining control of their land, their resources and their future.

As such, the creation of Nunavut represents a landmark moment in the evolution of Canada and a significant development in the history of the world’s Indigenous peoples.

Health system

Currently, Nunavut has one hospital, the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, and two larger health centres in the regional centres of Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay, which are also staffed by physicians.

Health services in the remaining communities are provided by community health nurses, while physicians visit them throughout the year. These centres are administered by the Department of Health of the Government of Nunavut.

To receive specialized or advanced care, Nunavummiut often must travel to tertiary care facilities in places like Yellowknife, Edmonton, Winnipeg or Ottawa. The Government of Nunavut also provides many public health services and health promotion initiatives, including maternal-child health supports, immunization clinics, chronic disease management, sexual health, anti-tobacco-use programs, oral health, nutrition and food security initiatives.

Throughout Nunavut, traditional medicines and healing continue to play a vital role in the health of Nunavummiut.

Nunavummiut face many health challenges, often caused by overcrowded, poorly ventilated homes and poor access to medical care. Over 60 per cent of Nunavummiut smoke, leading to high rates of lung cancer and respiratory diseases. Nunavut has high rates of diabetes, obesity, sexually transmitted infections, suicide, tuberculosis and the highest rate of infant mortality in the country.

Due to the high cost of food in Nunavut’s communities, food security remains a pressing health issue, with two-thirds of Inuit preschoolers living in food-insecure homes.



Tourism Nunavut

To find other repertoires related to specific health care in Nunavut, see also our page Index in the TOOLS section


Nunavut Tourism Regions

Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island)

Kivalliq Region

Kitikmeot Region


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