Research Permits and Licences

To conduct research in Inuit regions, the “Principal Investigator” (the lead researcher) of a research project needs permission from regional authorities and committees. In each of the four Inuit regions (Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut), the rules and regulations are different. They are outlined, by region, below.

Inuvialuit Settlement Region

The Inuvialuit Settlement Region is located in the North Slope of the Yukon and the northern part of the Northwest Territories (NWT). It is one of six land claim regions in the NWT and each land claim region has identified specific requirements for community consultation that the researcher has to fulfill before applying for the territorial research permit. For example, for research involving land, water or wildlife, approval from the local Hunters and Trappers Committee is required. Research into cultural, social or economic matters requires consultation with the local Community Corporation.

All research in the Northwest Territories requires a licence. The territorial research licensing agency is the Aurora Research Institute (ARI) and it administers Scientific Research Licences for all research except those projects falling under the Wildlife Research Permit and Archaeologists Permit. Researchers can only apply for a Scientific Research Licence by using the ARI’s online system POLAR and are advised to submit licensing and related application(s) at least three months prior to the planned start date of fieldwork.

For all research projects, the ARI requires written confirmation from the researcher that affected communities or agencies have discussed the research plan and given consent. A research licence will not be issued if appropriate communication with the community has not taken place. The level of involvement and which community organizations(s) the researcher needs to connect with will depend on the size, type, scope, location and potential impact of the study.

Health-related research in the Northwest Territories must have approval from the affected Health and Social Services Authority (HSSA). Physicians carrying out health-related research must acquire a research licence from the Aurora Research Institute before applying for a Medical Research Permit from the territorial HSSA. This includes an additional review from the local HSSA’s Ethics Review Committee (ERC) in the HSSA where the committees are established (Stanton, Beaufort-Delta and Fort Smith HSSAs). Although ARI will notify the HSSA, researchers are required to contact the Authority directly, submit the required documents or application, and address their concerns and comments. To locate the HSSA in which you will be working, access the NWT HSS Authorities Map.

The Institute administers a Web site with contact information and a research guide, and offers online applications for research licences. You can find information on more detailed requirements and further resources here.

For more information, contact the following:

Inuit Research Advisor for Inuvialuit Region
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0
Main line: (867) 777-7088
Direct line: (867) 777-7026
Email: SO’
Web site:

Aurora Research Institute
P.O. Box 1450
Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0
Telephone: (867) 777-3298
Web site:

Registrar, Professional Licensing
Department of Health and Social Services, Government of the NWT
P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9
Telephone: (867) 920-8058
Fax: (867) 873-0281
Web site:


The Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) is the territorial licensing agency that issues scientific research licences under the Nunavut Scientist Act. All health and social research, and most types of physical/natural science research in Nunavut require a scientific licence from NRI. The NRI forwards applications and plain-language summaries to all relevant authorities depending on the research subject. NRI then receives back reviews with recommendations on whether to accept or reject the application. For example, health-related research carried out by physicians is forwarded for approval to the territorial Health and Social Services Department , Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (the organization representing Inuit), the municipality in which the research will take place, and other authorities.

Representative Inuit organizations and community authorities are involved in all application reviews, but that can vary depending on research subject and can, for example, involve Nunavut municipalities and Hunters and Trappers Organizations (research on air, land, water, wildlife). In addition, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) is involved in all proposals licensed by the NRI. This review is guided by an assessment of the benefits of the project to Nunavut residents generally, and Inuit specifically. Benefits can include, for example, training and employment opportunities for community members close to where the project is taking place, but can also consider whether Inuit stakeholders are given decision-making powers as members of the research team.

NRI is not mandated to license research on wildlife, archaeology, fisheries research and research carried out within National Parks. Market surveys, opinion polls, journalism, and school science projects, in addition to internal research and program evaluations conducted by the Government of Nunavut, likewise are exempt from licensing by NRI. Research permits issued by licensing agencies are not the only authorization required by researchers working in Nunavut. Depending on the nature, duration and location of their field activities, researchers may also require screenings, licences or permits from other Nunavut or Canadian agencies. For example, researchers may require:

  • environmental impact screenings from the Nunavut Impact Review Board
  • land use permits (issued for access to Federal Crown lands and by Regional Inuit Associations for access to Inuit Owned lands)
  • water use licences from the Nunavut Water Board
  • screening by the Nunavut Planning Commission to assess if it conforms to the completed territorial land use plans
  • permission from Environment Canada to access migratory bird sanctuaries and wildlife conservation areas
  • review by Joint Parks Management Committees according to Parks Canada protocol for research on Parks land.

For more information, you may contact the following:

Inuit Research Advisor for Nunavut
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
P.O. Box 638
Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0
Main line: (867) 975-4900

Nunavut Research Institute
Manager, Research Liaison
Box 1720
Iqaluit, NU X0A-0H0
Telephone: (867)979-7279
Fax: (867)979-7109
Web site:


In Nunavik, researchers are expected to consult with the Makivik Corporation and its Nunavik Research Centre, the Kativik Regional Government or the Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee, depending on the type of research. All health-related research proposals are being reviewed by the Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee (NNHC). This committee is the recognized body for the region on health and environment issues and has representation from several Nunavik institutions. Among its many tasks, the committee reviews research proposals and may support or reject applications. On occasion, the committee provides ethical review when needed. It works with members of the community in which the research is to take place. Environmental research with possible impact on human health is also reviewed by this committee. For research conducted on wildlife, or impacting wildlife, in the Nunavut Marine Region (NMR), a research proposal must be submitted to the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife board (NMRWB) for approval prior to the research being conducted. If the research proposal is not accepted, the researcher must revise the proposal or conduct the research in another area.

The Inuit Research Advisor may be approached for questions concerning research in Nunavik:

Inuit Research Advisor for Nunavik
Kativik Regional Government

Requests concerning health and environment research may be addressed to the coordinator of the:

Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
P.O. Box 433
Kuujjuaq, QC J0M 1M0

Archaeological research requires permission from:

Avataq Cultural Institute
P.O. Box 230
Inukjuak, QC J0M 1M0

For research concerning wildlife, contact the:

Nunavik Research Center
Makivik Corporation
P.O. Box 179
Kuujjuaq, QC J0M 1C0
Telephone: (819) 964-2925


The Nunatsiavut Government asks that researchers who wish to conduct research in Nunatsiavut contact the Inuit Research Advisor and ask for the most recent Nunatsiavut Government Research Process document. These guidelines outline the requirements for the researcher and what is necessary to receive support to conduct the research. The Nunatsiavut Government Research Advisory Committee meets once a month to review research proposals, among other business. The Inuit Research Advisor is the Chair person of this committee.

Every researcher has to comply with the 15 items listed in the Nunatsiavut Government Research Process document. In addition, any archaeological research also requires an Archaeology Permit. The Nunatsiavut Government asks researchers to comply with the following rules:

  1. Complete the archaeological investigation permit for research in Labrador Inuit Lands (LIL), available online:
  2. Know that archaeological research in the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (LISA) requires a permit from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  3. Know that archaeological research inside the Torngat Mountains National Park requires a permit from Parks Canada.

Special information on research is located on the Lands and Natural Resources Department’s section of the Nunatsiavut Government website. Researchers also are encouraged to contact Parks Canada for their research process.

For all research inquiries, you may contact the Nunatsiavut Government Research Office at:

Inuit Research Advisor for Nunatsiavut
Nunatsiavut Government
17 Sandbanks Road, P.O. Box 70
Nain, NL A0P 1L0
Main line: (709) 922-2380
Fax: (709) 922-2931