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City of Iqaluit gets approval to prioritize land leases to Inuit residents and citizens with more than two years of residency

Iqaluit city hall with sign
The City of Iqaluit is now in a position to offer land leases to Inuit residents of at least two years as a priority group, followed by other residents who have lived in the city for a minimum of two years. NNSL file photo

Nunavut's territorial legislators have given approval for the City of Iqaluit to lease land on a priority basis to Inuit residents of at least two years, followed by other citizens who have resided in the city for a minimum of two years.

"The city has been pursuing the power to ensure that Inuit and Iqaluit residents have an advantage in the competitive and land leasing process since 2018. However, this has not been possible to do so as the (Cities, Towns and Villages) Act currently does not provide the city with this authority," Community and Government Services Minister Jeannie Ehaloak explained to her peers in the legislative assembly on March 16.

Ehaloak added that land administration bylaws are among the few municipal bylaws that require ministerial approval. She also pointed out that Iqaluit is the only Nunavut municipality that falls under the Cities, Towns and Villages Act. The territory's 24 other municipalities are covered by the Hamlets Act.

MLA John Main asked whether any other communities have expressed interest in having similar rules apply to their land administration.

Ehaloak replied that there have been none, and she noted that Iqaluit is the only municipality that charges property taxes.

"In all other municipalities, they are funded by the territorial government. Their land
leases are done through either yearly land leases with members or they have equity
leases, and they can’t charge taxes to any of their residents," the minister said.

About the Author: Derek Neary

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