Offshore Oil and Gas Development in Nunavut: Policy Challenges and Lessons from Atlantic Canada
C. Vineberg, A.
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Increasing international interest in the extraction of hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic hasprecipitated renewed incentives for the exploration of offshore oil and gas resources in Nunavut. Canada has offshore development experience on the Atlantic Coast offshore Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. This study consisted of a review of federal legislation and federal, provincial, and territorial policies for offshore hydrocarbon development in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Nunavut, as well as internal and external policy influences. The results of this analysis revealed important considerations for policy development in Nunavut. Although both Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia are within close proximity and abide by the same federal legislative framework, their development stories are markedly different. Efforts at environmental policy and regulatory reform for offshore development in Canada over the last decade have predominantly been focused on minimizing state bureaucracy. The effect of centralized federal policy for offshore hydrocarbon resource development in Nunavut has not facilitated an increase in exploration in the region. Lack of territorial capacity and effective stakeholder engagement with the local Inuit population has also resulted in failed attempts to advance exploration offshore Nunavut in recent years. Policy for resource development in Nunavut, especially offshore hydrocarbon development, has to involve the people of Nunavut. Territorial capacity to increase economic development will be facilitated when the territory has the jurisdiction to administer its own lands and resources.