July 9, Nunavut Day, is an event to mark the official birth of Canada’s newest territory in 1999. Nunavut officially split from the Northwest Territories and became a Canadian territory on April 1, 1999. However, April 1 did not have any real meaning for the people of Nunavut. As a result, Nunavut Day celebrations were moved to July 9 in 2001 and have remained on that date since then.
It is officially recognized as a holiday for all Government of Nunavut employees. Government offices are closed. Employees of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the regional Inuit associations celebrate Nunavut Day each year on July 9th with a paid holiday. Note that employees in the private sector do not get the day off with pay because it is not recognized by the Nunavut Labour Standards Act as a public (statutory) holiday. It’s up to individual employers to decide if their staff get Nunavut Day off.
Many events are arranged on Nunavut Day. These include:
- Communal meals, including pancake breakfasts and barbecue.
- Speeches by local leaders.
- Traditional games and dances.
- Presentations of policies and initiatives to stimulate Nunavut’s cultural and economic sustainability.
- Competitions to increase the awareness of Nunavut’s history among young people.
First Reference Inc. Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor