Nunavumi Angnait Katujiqatigigit

Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association

ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥ ᐊᕐᓇᐃᑦ ᑲᑐᔾᔨᖃᑎᒌᖏᑦ

Supporting Indigenous Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People

As part of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan, funded by Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Amautiit Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association reviewed legal protections for women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ (two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual) people.

The 2003 Nunavut Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation, among other grounds. In 2017, that Act was amended to include gender identity and gender expression.

Terminology for Sexuality, Sex, and Gender in Inukitut and English

Part of the project was to develop a glossary of terms relating to sex, gender and sexuality in English and Inuktitut. We convened a group of translators, interpreters, gender diverse individuals and subject matter experts who met three times in 2023 and together developed the glossary. We welcome feedback and look forward to expanding and improving the glossary. We will post revisions as the glossary develops.

Link to Terminology for Sexuality, Sex, and Gender in Inuktitut and English.pdf

Gender markers on Government-Issued Identification and Health Records

Not discriminating on the basis of gender expression and gender identity means allowing people to express and change their gender, including on government-issued identification documents (ID) including on birth, death and marriage certificates, health cards, drivers’ licenses and general identification.

Every other government in Canada has implemented the change to its human rights legislation, and now provides a third gender option (usually “other/prefer not to disclose”) on primary identification documents, including on birth certificates, passports and drivers’ licences. Only the Government of Nunavut has not. Every other government in Canada provides a way to change the gender markers on all its official identification documents. Only the Government of Nunavut does not.

For proper health care, health records should accurately reflect both the biological sex and current gender of a person.

We have sent a letter drawing these issues to the attention of the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Economic Development and Transportation, requesting that GN-issued ID comply with the Nunavut Human Rights Act. We also provided the Department of Health with resources related to health care records. A copy of that letter is available on request.

The Minister of Health has acknowledged receipt of the letter (March 2024) and promised a response.

Nunavut Human Rights Act and Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal

The Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal has been in operation since 2005.  In that time it has heard only two cases and published two decisions. It has been obvious since at least 2011 that the Tribunal was not fulfilling its function, but little to no action appears to have been taken. 

We analyzed the publicly available data and concluded that there are three major problems with the human rights system in Nunavut:

  • There is no agency charged with promoting or protecting human rights in Nunavut. The legislature intentionally did not establish a Commission in the Human Rights Act; it did not create an office to promote awareness of human rights or provide public information about the duties and remedies under the law. The result is that there is no real public information about human rights and remedies in Nunavut, and no monitoring of human rights in Nunavut or of the Human Rights Tribunal. We recommend the creation of a Human Rights Commissioner.
  • Second, the process that the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal uses is completely different than the process set out in the Human Rights Act and the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure. The process that the Tribunal uses is not in compliance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. We recommend that the Tribunal comply with the applicable legislation and the Rules, and have provided detailed schedules to assist.
  • Finally, the lines of accountability and reporting between the Tribunal and the Government of Nunavut, and within the Tribunal operation, need to be clarified and properly observed.

Link to Executive Summary of the Report on the Nunavut Human Rights Act and the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal.pdf


This project was made possible by funding from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan, funded by Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

We are grateful to those who gave their time, knowledge and experience to participate in consultations:

In Iqaluit:
Local Interpreter/Translators
The 2SLGBTQQIA+ Community

Outside of Iqaluit:
Billy (they), a nonbinary transmasc person undergoing medical transition
Research: Rachel Kohut.
Research and writing: Margaret Hollis.