A Role for Inuit: How northern communities can inform and influence the dynamics of offshore oil and gas development in Nunavut [graduate project].
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Climate change and declining ice cover, as well as socio-political and economic incentives, are increasingly attracting corporate attention towards the Canadian North. Oil and gas companies have renewed their interests in extracting these offshore hydrocarbon resources, and are now seeking and receiving exploration licenses to begin their search for oil throughout Nunavut’s offshore. In the Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, seismic surveying for oil and gas is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2016, leaving the government with a limited time frame to create and establish legislation that will define the role Nunavummiut in these developments. The Nunavut government is the only Canadian legislation that has publicly promised to incorporate local Inuit perspectives and knowledge into all aspects of its operations, including oil and gas. Valuable information about the territory’s socio-economic and natural environment is embedded within Inuit knowledge, and can serve to inform policy development for the industry. Within the current context, can Inuit knowledge be effectively incorporated in the development of an offshore oil and gas policy? This research will look at the potential means to bring community members and knowledge holders to the decision0making table, and the effectiveness of these processes within offshore oil and gas development in Nunavut.