Nunavik is a region of Quebec that is 2500 km North of Montreal. It occupies a large landmass (660,000 km²) within the tundra and sub-boreal regions above the 55th parallel.
Nunavik covers an area that is equivalent to one-third the area of Québec.
The rights of Nunavik Inuit to the offshore were not fully recognized when the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was signed in 1975. It took many years of research, advocacy and negotiation by Nunavik Inuit to achieve formal settlement of Nunavik Inuit rights in the marine region and the offshore.
On December 1, 2006, Makivik Corporation – the rights-holding body for Nunavik Inuit – and the Government of Canada signed the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA). This land claims agreement was established to address the ownership and management of the marine region around northern Quebec. The NILCA established three Institutions of Public Government (IPG): the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB), the Nunavik Marine Region Impact Review Board (NMRIRB) and the Nunavik Marine Region Planning Commission (NMRPC). Each IPG has a unique and complimentary role in the management, conservation, development and utilization of land, marine and wildlife resources.
The Agreement came into force on July 10, 2008, following the adoption by Parliament of Canada of the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act (S.C. 2008, c.2). This Agreement is a modern treaty and is constitutionally protected within the meaning of section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982.
The NILCA addresses the use, ownership and management of lands, waters, shorelines and resources in parts of James Bay, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay (the Nunavik Marine Region or NMR), as well as a portion of northern Labrador and an area offshore of Labrador. It established Nunavik Inuit sole or joint ownership over 80% of the islands in the NMR, totaling over 5,340 km2.