Research Regulators


Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Wildlife Division (ENR Wildlife)

Research studies on any vertebrates (including migratory birds and species at risk, but excluding fish and marine mammals) or wildlife habitats anywhere in the NWT require a Wildlife Research Permit under the NWT Wildlife Act.

Permits are issued by the regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Wildlife Division for studies conducted in only one region, or by the Yellowknife ENR office for studies conducted in multiple NWT regions.

If your study involves handling animals, you must also submit an Application to Handle Wildlife to the Chair of the NWT Wildlife Care Committee (NWT-WCC).

Information about the application processes, and contact information for the regional ENR offices, are available online at the ENR website:

For more information:

Information Coordinator
Wildlife Division
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 873-7760


Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC)

Under the NWT Archaeological Sites Regulations, any research in archaeology requires a NWT Archaeologists Permit.  Applications for a permit are submitted to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (PWNHC) in Yellowknife. Information about the Archaeologists Permit and applications can be obtained at the PWNHC’s website at .

For more information:

Territorial Archaeologist
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
Government of the Northwest Territories
P.O. Box 1320
4750-48th Street
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2L9
Phone: (867) 873-7688
Fax: (867) 873-0205


Aurora Research Institute (ARI)

Research in the NWT that does not fall under Wildlife or Archaeological legislation requires a Scientific Research Licence under the NWT Scientists Act. This licence is obtained through the Aurora Research Institute (ARI) in Inuvik. You can only apply for a Scientific Research Licence via ARI’s online system, the Portal to Online Licence Applications for Research (POLAR).

To apply for a Scientific Research Licence, complete and submit your online application by logging in to POLAR at For more detailed information about the scientific research licensing process, go to ARI’s website for a copy of Doing Research in the Northwest Territories - A Guide for Researchers Applying for a Scientific Research Licence, or contact:

Manager, Scientific Services
Aurora Research Institute
P.O. Box 1450
191 Mackenzie Road
Inuvik, NT
X0E 0T0
Phone: (867) 777-3298, ext.32
Fax: (867) 777-4264


Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

For scientific studies involving marine or freshwater life, including fish, marine mammals (except polar bears - see Wildlife Research Permit), aquatic invertebrates (including their eggs, spawn, embryonic, larval and juvenile stages) and other biota such as benthos and plankton, a licence is required from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Every researcher or individual who intends to fish for scientific purposes is required to have a licence, including any researchers employed by federal, provincial or territorial governments. Other oceanographic research projects may also require a licence from DFO, depending on the scope of the study and the potential disturbance to or incidental capture of aquatic life.

In addition to the DFO licence, the research project also requires a Scientific Research Licence issued by the Aurora Research Institute, before work in the NWT begins.

Licences for the entire territory are issued by the DFO office in Yellowknife. This office issues licences for the Northwest Territories and Yukon North Slope, and adjacent marine waters.

Biologist, Fisheries Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Suite 301-Diamond Plaza
5204-50th Avenue
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 1E2
Phone: (867) 669-4920
Fax: (867) 669-4940


Parks Canada Agency (PCA)

A Research and Collection Permit (RCP) is required to conduct any archaeological, natural or social science research or collection activities in national parks, national park reserves, national marine conservation areas, national historic sites, and/or the Pingo Canadian Landmark.

RCP applications are submitted through a national online system at

The RCP system website also contains information regarding the permitting process, guidelines, the research coordinators and their contact information, and other relevant information.

If your work will exceed certain thresholds, Parks Canada may also forward the application to agencies such as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) for review.

In addition, regulatory approvals and other pertinent licences or permits, as directed by Parks Canada, must be in place before the RCP will be granted.


Environment Canada - Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS)
Migratory Birds and Species at Risk Research

Researchers who wish to study any migratory bird designated in the Migratory Birds Convention Act may also require a Migratory Birds Scientific Permit. In addition to migratory birds, studies involving fauna listed as Species at Risk (SAR) may require a SAR permit.

Research involving the killing, capturing and biological sampling of migratory birds requires a Migratory Birds Scientific Permit. Standard aerial or ground surveys of migratory birds would not normally require a Scientific Permit, unless they are being conducted within or over a Migratory Bird Sanctuary or National Wildlife Area. In this case, a CWS Migratory Bird Sanctuary Permit or CWS National Wildlife Area Permit would be required.

For studies anywhere in the NWT, application forms and the related 'Guide for Applicants' are available from the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) office in Yellowknife. Applicants must demonstrate that their proposed methods have been approved by the recognized Animal Care Committee at their home institution, or by the CWS Animal Care Committee.

Before a Migratory Birds Permit is issued, you must obtain a NWT Wildlife Research Permit.

For more information:

NWT Habitat Biologist
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
4th Floor, 5019 - 52 St.
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2P7
Phone: (867) 669-4769
Fax: (867) 873-8185

If your research will involve banding birds, you will also require a Migratory Birds - Canadian Bird Banding Permit. Information and applications are available online at the website below, or by contacting:

Canadian Bird Banding Office
National Wildlife Research Centre
Canadian Wildlife Service
1125 Colonel By Drive (Raven Road)
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0H3
Phone: (613) 998-0524
Fax: (613) 998-0458

Research in Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and National Wildlife Areas

Researchers wanting access to a Migratory Bird Sanctuary or National Wildlife Area for the purposes of scientific research require a Migratory Bird Sanctuary Permit or Wildlife Area Permit. This applies not only to biological studies, but any kind of research – including physical studies, non-intrusive activities and certain aerial surveys. This permit is required in addition to a GNWT research permit or licence, and any other applicable permits or licences.

For more information, contact the CWS office in Yellowknife (contact information above).


Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Forest Management Division (ENR Forest)

Research projects related to forest environments in the Northwest Territories require a Forest Research Licence under the NWT Forest Management Act and Regulations. This licence is required in addition to the Scientific Research Licence issued by the Aurora Research Institute.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR), Forest Management Division is responsible for issuing Forest Research Licences. Researchers are required to contact the ENR - Forest Management Division regional office in their study area to apply for this licence. Note that applications and licences are not available at the Head Quarters office in Fort Smith

The Forest Research Licence is required for studies on trees and most woody vegetation (including shrub tundra), and to certain forest ecosystem and physical studies such as carbon exchange investigations, and any similar research that will disturb forest soil. It is your responsibility as a researcher to contact the ENR-Forest Management Division to apply for a Forest Research Licence, and to check whether your research will require such a licence.

For more information contact:

Forest Management Division
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories
P.O. Box 7
2nd Floor, 149 McDougal Road
Fort Smith, NT
X0E 0P0
Phone: (867) 872-7700
Fax: (867) 872-2077


Health and Social Services Authorities (HSSA)

In addition to the requirements common to other social sciences, health research in the NWT must have approval from the affected Health and Social Services Authority (HSSA). This includes an additional review from the HSSA Ethics Review Committee (ERC) in the HSSAs where these committees are established (the Stanton, Beaufort-Delta and Fort Smith HSSAs).

Researchers are required to contact the Authority directly, submit the required documents or application, and address the concerns and comments of the HSSA.

To locate the HSSA in which you will be working, access the NWT HSS Authorities Map at

In addition, health-related research carried out by physicians may require a Medical Research Permit issued by the Government of the NWT, Department of Health and Social Services (HSS). For more information on the permit contact:

Registrar, Professional Licensing
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2L9
Phone: (867) 920-8058


Environmental Impact Screening Committee (EISC)

The Environmental Impact Screening Committee (EISC) is one of five co-management bodies established under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA). These co-management bodies are part of the resource management regime in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR). Each board serves to jointly manage resources within the ISR.

If your research takes place on land or water in, or adjacent to, the ISR, you have to contact the EISC to determine whether or not your project will require screening for potential environmental impacts. Note that you have to contact the EISC directly, and that their application and submission process is separate from those of other regulators.

After you contact the EISC, and if it requires that your research project goes through environmental screening, the Secretary to the EISC will provide you with the information required to complete a project description and make a submission.  You need to submit your application at least 45 days prior to their next scheduled meeting date in order to be placed on the agenda for that meeting.

You will find more information about the EISC and the screening process at the web address below, and you may direct your questions to:

Environmental Impact Screening Committee
Joint Secretariat - Inuvialuit Renewable Resource Committees
107 Mackenzie Road, Suite 204
P.O. Box 2120
Inuvik, NT
X0E 0T0
Phone: (867) 777-2828
Fax: (867) 777-2610


NWT Regional Contaminants Committee (NWT-RCC)

All research projects addressing the occurrence of natural and/or man-made contaminants in aquatic, terrestrial or atmospheric systems should contact the NWT Regional Contaminants Committee (NWT-RCC) before conducting fieldwork. This committee serves as a means of exchanging information on contaminants between researchers, relevant organizations and programs, and Northerners.

Researchers funded by the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) follow protocols during the application process that notify the NWT-RCC, so contacting the NWT-RCC directly is not required for NCP-funded projects.

NWT Regional Contaminants Committee (NWT-RCC)
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
P.O. Box 1500
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2R3
Phone: (867) 669-2847
Fax: (867) 669-2721


Research in Nunavut

If you are planning to conduct research in Nunavut, you will require a licence or permit to do so.  Under the Nunavut Scientists Act, the Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) is responsible for issuing Scientific Research Licences. NRI does not license wildlife or archaeology research, research in National Parks and certain fisheries research. The Scientific Research Licence application process involves consultation with Nunavut community authorities and other local and regional agencies who may be affected by, or have an interest in, the proposed study.

For more information, visit the Nunavut Research Institute’s website at , or contact:

Manager, Research Liaison
Nunavut Research Institute
P.O. Box 1720
Iqaluit, NU
X0A 0H0
Phone: (867) 979-7279
Fax: (867) 979-7109

Wildlife research in Nunavut is licensed under the Nunavut Wildlife Act. The Wildlife Research Permit Application guidelines and form can be downloaded from the Nunavut Department of Environment website at .

Archaeological Research in Nunavut is licensed under the Nunavut Archaeological and Paleontological Sites Regulations of the Nunavut Act. The Nunavut Archaeology Program is responsible for the management and protection of the territory's archaeological resources. The Guidelines for Nunavut Territory Archaeology and Palaeontology Permits can be downloaded at


Research in the Yukon

Under the provisions of the Scientists and Explorers Act, all persons entering the Yukon for the purposes of research must obtain a Scientists and Explorers Licence. For information about the application process, licence requirements, required research permits, and conducting research in the Yukon, you can download the Guidebook on Scientific Research in the Yukon at

The Yukon Scientists and Explorers Act covers both social and natural sciences and applies to scientific research conducted anywhere in the territory. The exception to this is archaeological research, which is covered under the authority of the Yukon Archaeological Sites Regulations. A Yukon Archaeological Sites Regulations Permit from the Yukon government is required for all archaeological research projects in the territory, except if the research will occur in a National Park or a National Historic Site, in which case a Parks Canada Research and Collection Permit is required. A Research Permit issued under the Wildlife Act is required if the research involves the harvest or capture of any wildlife. Furthermore, a permit is required to collect and be in possession of dead wildlife or wildlife parts.

Consultation with Yukon First Nations is part of the research licensing process.

For additional information, contact:

Manager, Heritage Resources Unit
Cultural Services Branch
Department of Tourism & Culture
Government of Yukon
P.O. Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 2C6
Phone: (867) 667-5363
Fax: (867) 393-6456