Nunavut Tourism has highly qualified information counsellors who are pleased to provide useful toll-free information to help interested visitors properly plan their arctic adventures here.
Interested visitors to Nunavut should call the toll-free number for Nunavut Tourism (1-866-686-2888) and an information counsellor will be pleased to assist them.
The next parts of this website section provide some valuable basic information about the following important topics for all potential visitors to Nunavut:
- Contact Canada
- Access Restrictions In Nunavut
- Wilderness Expeditions
- Archaeological Sites
- Arctic Clothing
- Export Permits
- Medical Emergencies
- Communication Services
- Time Zones
Nunavut visitors from abroad should contact the Canadian High Commission, Embassy, or Consulate General in their home country for information about passport and visa requirements needed for entering Canada.
For information about what items can be brought into Canada, visitors should contact the Canada Border Services Agency. Their website (www.cbsa.gc.ca) answers most questions that people have about what can be brought into the country and provides phone numbers to reach an agent for more specific information.
Access Restrictions in Nunavut
There is a significant amount of private Inuit-owned land in Nunavut. However, boundaries are rarely marked. Access restrictions apply to visitors travelling inside the Nunavut Settlement Area, while fishing is also restricted in certain places.
Visitors are responsible for learning the restrictions that apply to the specific areas they wish to enter. This information is available at the following Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website: www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100027931
Visitors who are planning to go wilderness camping in Nunavut should contact the Inuit Land Administration Office for permit requirements in the area, at one of the following numbers:
- Qikiqtaaluk Region (867) 979-5391
- Kivalliq Region (867) 645-2810
- Kitikmeot Region (867) 982-3310
- Toll-free: 1-800-220-6581
All visitors who are planning a wilderness expedition on their own must register their travel plan (including timelines) with the RCMP detachment located nearest to their departure point — and check in with them when they return. This will make the trip much safer. While out on the land, visitors must respect all camps, cabins and fuel caches that they may come across. Visitors are not permitted to camp, or disturb anything, in archeological sites. The regional Visitor Centre in the nearest community will advise visitors of the best places to make camp and important places to be careful of.
For safety reasons, visitors are reminded that they must not litter! They should place garbage into proper campground receptacles, or pack it out. It is recommended that visitors do their cooking on a camping stove. Visitors are warned to be extremely careful wherever making a fire. They should use fire pits if they are available, or build it on rock or sand — never on moss or tundra, which can continue burning indefinitely under the surface. To report a tundra fire, visitors should contact the nearest RCMP detachment.
Polar bears and barren land grizzly bears are extremely dangerous animals! They are attracted to trails of garbage and poor camping practices. On the Nunavut Parks website (www.nunavutparks.com) visitors can read about ‘Polar Bear Safety’ from the Visitor Centre menu.
On the Parks Canada website, visitors to Nunavut should read their excellent ‘Keep the Wild in Wildlife’ pages.
It is highly recommended that visitors to Nunavut request and read the bear safety brochures — ‘Safety in Polar Bear Country’ and ‘Safety in Grizzly and Black Bear Country’ — which are available from Visitor Centres and from Parks and Wildlife Officers in Nunavut communities. If visitors experience a bear problem, they should report it immediately to the nearest Parks Officer, or to the Nunavut Department of Environment Wildlife Office.
Travelling with an experienced local guide is the safest way to avoid problems with bears!
It is illegal to disturb any archeological site and it's a federal offence to remove artifacts. Few archeological sites are marked in Nunavut, so if a visitor suspects that they may have entered one, they should treat it carefully and they must not camp there.
When visitors are properly dressed for the arctic, in multiple layers, they will enjoy their time better. Except for the short summer season in Nunavut — which is equivalent to cool spring or fall conditions in most of southern Canada, northern USA and Europe — the rest of the year requires warm, insulated clothing. Warm, insulated boots are vital, also a down-filled parka with hood, windproof outer pants, plus mittens and a warm hat. Visitors should bring sunblock lotion and good quality sunglasses, with UV protection. For the summertime, especially near the seashore, a set of breathable rain gear, top and bottom, is desirable. For hiking on rocky trails, or across the tundra, good quality footwear with ankle support is best.
Average Temperature of Nunavut Communities (in degrees Celsius)
Export Permits are required for the removal of any animal part from Nunavut, including frozen wild meats purchased from a store. Visitors will need a Wildlife Export Permit if they wish to export legally killed game, a gift of meat from a hunter, legally purchased meat, untanned furs and raw hides, ducks or geese, antlers, skulls, teeth, bones or any other parts of wildlife. Certification is required before exporting some species, including any parts of the animal, from Nunavut. Species that may require certification include birds of prey, grizzly bears, polar bears and muskoxen. Wildlife Export Permits are available at the Department of Environment offices in most communities. There is no fee for a Wildlife Export Permit. For more information, visitors should contact the Nunavut Department of Environment at (867) 975-5900 or visit their website.
Visitors are also required to be fully aware of all the import regulations of their home country before purchasing any animal products in Nunavut. Some countries, including USA, have severe restrictions on marine mammal products like sealskin and ivory, including arts and crafts made from these materials.
Restrictions on importing and consuming alcohol in Nunavut are determined by the local plebiscite. Rules vary between communities. Possession of alcohol is prohibited in some places and restricted in others. Visitors should check with the RCMP for the rules. Visitors to Nunavut must never leave leftover alcohol behind. Trading alcohol for anything is illegal!
Liquor enforcement by community
Restricted amounts available:
- Arctic Bay
- Baker Lake
- Cambridge Bay
- Cape Dorset
- Chesterfield Inlet
- Clyde River
- Hall Beach
- Pond Inlet
- Repulse Bay
- Resolute Bay
- Coral Harbour
- Gjoa Haven
- Whale Cove
- Bathurst Inlet
- Grise Fiord
- Rankin Inlet
For more information please visit www.finance.gov.nu.ca
If any visitor needs medical attention when visiting Nunavut, they should contact the local Health Centre. Iqaluit has a very well equipped hospital and all smaller communities have Health Centres staffed by specially trained nurses. The regional centres of Cambridge Bay and Rankin Inlet have community doctors. There are dentists in some communities.
Air ambulance (Medevac) services, when required, will be arranged by the local Health Centre or hospital. The Nunavut Health Care Plan does not cover the cost of ground, marine, or air ambulance service for non-residents. Visitors will be billed for these costs, which can be expensive, but may be covered by their personal insurance. Visitors are advised to check the terms of their medical coverage before leaving home.
If a visitor is a Canadian citizen requiring medical services in Nunavut, then they must present their provincial or territorial health plan identification card at the Health Centre or hospital. Most costs will be covered and billed directly to their own health plan, or visitors can claim the expenses back later, usually within 6 months.
If a visitor is not Canadian, then they are advised to check with their private, national or state health insurance provider before leaving home as to exactly what coverage will be afforded to them when travelling abroad. Short-term policies to cover medical emergencies and related ambulance or air transport costs are available through most travel agents, but usually these plans must be purchased before departure date.
Most things in Nunavut cost twice as much as they do in southern Canada. Banking services exist in the regional gateway centres of Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay. Visitors will find an ATM in most Nunavut communities at the local Co-op or Northern Store. Some of these stores will also cash cheques. VISA is the most widely accepted credit card, although other cards may be honoured too. Most Nunavut stores provide credit card sales service plus ATM cash withdrawal service. Visitors should also bring along some Canadian currency, especially if they are arriving on a Sunday as stores and banks may be closed. If visitors are arriving from outside Canada, it is best to convert their currency at home, or in Canada before arriving in Nunavut. Airports in southern Canadian cities offer foreign exchange services.
Telephone service is direct dial in every community of Nunavut. In the smaller communities, pay phones are limited to a few locations. Visitors should check for telephone service at their hotel. Prepaid Calling Cards are available at various stores. Some remote communities and wilderness lodges in Nunavut offer HF radio or satellite phone service. Mobile phone service is available in select communities. Bell Canada is the only satellite service provider. International mobile phones won't work unless linked to Bell Canada. The area code for all parts of Nunavut is 867.
Internet service is limited in Nunavut and slower than elsewhere. Wi-Fi service is uncommon. Visitors to Nunavut should not plan to spend much time on the internet.
Nunavut has three time zones. The Qikiqtaaluk region (except for the community of Resolute) operates on Eastern Standard Time. Kivalliq plus most of Kitikmeot is on Central Standard Time, as is Resolute.
The Inuktitut word for 'arrival time' is 'tikiuti' —