Living Off Grid in Nunavut (Should You Do It)?

Nunavut, located on Canada’s northern coast, is one of the most beautiful and one of the coldest regions in the country. When you first arrive in Nunavut, you will feel you have arrived on another planet, especially in the province’s northern parts. Although living off grid in Nunavut is conceivable, it is a different way of life than in the southern regions.

Nunavut is not a good option for off-grid living because the local climate is far too harsh, you won’t be able to cultivate anything in most of the province, and the cost of living is so exorbitant that you might as well go to Hawaii. Those that live off the land, are experienced hunters and fishermen, and don’t bother generating power.

Nunavut contains many Inuit settlements, and most live off the grid. However, some employ contemporary equipment such as snowmobiles. Snowmobiles are being replaced with dog sleds in the province’s northern regions. The main reason for this is that getting gasoline into some locations is not economically viable due to the high expenses of carrying anything in these areas.

Iqaluit is the province’s largest city, with a population of over 7,000 people, followed by Rankin Inlet (2800), Arviat (2600), Baker Lake (2000), and Cambridge Bay (1700), and Igloolik (roughly 1600). One of the issues with Nunavut is that it has a high cost of living, even though there is a great demand for qualified people such as doctors and nurses, who earn significantly more than in other parts of the country.

Should You Live Off Grid in Nunavut? 

What’s the Weather in Nunavut? 

The polar climate dominates the great majority of Nunavut, although the subarctic climate prevails in the province’s south. This means that summers are short and cold, while winters are even colder and longer. The local climate is very arid, and many people who cannot tolerate the extreme humidity of some of the southern provinces relocate here. The average summer temperature is around 50°F (10 C), whereas the average winter temperature ranges from 5°F to -104°F (-5C to -40C ).

Interested in province with less extreme temperatures? I recommend checking out Manitoba.

What Type of Crops Can You Grow in Nunavut? 

There isn’t much that can grow in Nunavut; most people produce Baffin berries, cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries. There are a few greenhouses in the southern areas where people cultivate vegetables and potatoes. Most Nunavut residents support themselves via hunting or fishing, yet as global warming progresses, hunting and fishing become increasingly difficult.

The cost of living is particularly high because everything must be imported; in certain locations, supplies arrive only once or twice a year, increasing the expense of everyday consumables. A container of orange juice, for example, costs around $14, while a steak costs roughly $55. Some locations in the south where supplies arrive once a week, yet even with such a high frequency, residents pay more for transportation than for goods.

What’s Freshwater Availability Like in Nunavut? 

There is no shortage of fresh water in much of the province; some areas in the south have tap water, and those in the north melt snow. Even accessing freshwater is difficult in this province if you reside outside the bigger cities and villages. Please keep in mind that the temperature is cold and fairly arid, which means you’ll need more water than usual; some call this province a frozen desert. The average annual rainfall in Nunavut is roughly 11′′ (288 mm), and the average annual snowfall is between 50′′ and 200′′. ( 1400mm-5000mm ).

What Kind of Wildlife is in Nunavut? 

The fauna of Nunavut is fairly diversified. Caribou, muskox, beluga, polar bears, seals, walrus, and narwhal. The narwhal appears to be a magical creature, and I guarantee that you will remember that day if you ever see one. Arctic char, northern pike, and arctic grayling are the most prevalent types of fish.

If you’re hunting or fishing, you should understand the local regulations and laws.

How to Generate Power in Nunavut? 

Solar power: Some cities and individual families generate energy from solar panels, albeit they all have at least one backup. If you intend to generate the majority of your power with solar panels in this province, you will need to do careful calculations during the winter because the days are somewhat short. Although there are no incentives for solar electricity in this province, you can still apply for the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) for Renewable Energy.

Wind power: Although some residents in the province’s south use wind turbines, Nunavut isn’t the ideal area to generate power with them. Nunavut has no wind power subsidies or rebates. Therefore your best option for lowering your carbon footprint is to use solar electricity.

Does Nunavut Have Off Grid Living Laws?

Living off the grid is legal in Nunavut; nevertheless, don’t expect it to resemble life in the southern provinces or the United States. Although you will most likely educate your children, most cities and towns have certain educational programs. You can find everything you need to know about homeschooling here.

What’s Road Access Like in Nunavut? 

The majority of the province lacks road connectivity. Many towns and localities rely on ships and planes to go around, which can be costly. Snowmobiles or dog sleds are the most common modes of transportation in the area.

What’s the Cost of Off Grid Land in Nunavut? 

If you want to buy or rent a property, you will have to pay a lot. A parcel of land is often inexpensive, but erecting anything is prohibitively expensive because everything must be flown in. The more you travel away from the southern areas, the more expensive it is to develop or buy a house.

Off grid living doesn’t have to be expensive. I recommend looking into the Northwest Territories and Yukon for cheaper alternatives.

What’s the Cost of Living in Nunavut? 

Nunavut’s life expense is exorbitant because everything must be imported, and some areas only receive supplies a couple of times each month if the weather permits. There are no shopping malls or large food stores, and the majority of the stores are small and extremely pricey. In some locations, you can order supplies online and have them delivered within a few days, but this is not an option for the great bulk of the province.

What’s the Job Market in Nunavut? 

Nunavut has a 14.6 percent unemployment rate, significantly higher than Canada’s national average of 6.9 percent. Nunavut does not produce much, and manufacturing here is extremely difficult due to shipping expenses. The minimum wage is $13, which is more than that of its adjacent province, the Northwestern Territories. Mining, fishing, hunting, and the arts are the most important industries. Tourism is growing year after year, but it will take a long time to become a big part of the local economy, owing to the high cost of coming to Nunavut.

Are There Natural Disasters in Nunavut? 

Avalanches, floods, blizzards, and landslides are the most prevalent natural disasters in Nunavut. The most prevalent are blizzards, which can linger over many days and prevent you from leaving your house.

Can You Live Off Grid in Nunavut? 

Living off grid in Nunavut is not great. You have to be a certain type of person to live here. Many people live off the grid in Nunavut, but the majority of them were born and raised in the province; outsiders will have a difficult time adjusting to the local environment.

off grid living in Nunavut

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