Land ownership

Land Ownership

In the NWT, lands are managed or owned by one of four parties:

  • Government of Canada (Crown Land)
  • Government of the Northwest Territories (Commissioner’s Land)
  • Aboriginal governments or land corporations
  • Private

The federal government owns large areas of land, including surface and subsurface rights. Individuals and companies can apply for permission to access and use resources in, or on, the ground, and must comply with relevant acts and regulations.

Through the finalization of land, resource and self-government agreements, Aboriginal governments have established rights for ownership of land and resources in defined areas. The Inuvialuit, Sahtu, Gwich’in and Tlicho now manage significant areas of land in the NWT, with a combination of surface and sub-surface rights.

Each of these aboriginal governments has established their own land administration systems to manage access by individuals and companies to their lands and resources. Boards, as institutions of public governance, provide an overarching framework for all lands in the NWT.

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