Minister of Justice
Minister of Health
Minister responsible for Immigration
Email: PaulOkalik [at] sinaamla [dot] ca
Paul Okalik was elected to represent the constituency of Iqaluit Sinaa in the fourth Legislative Assembly of Nunavut on October 28, 2013 with the priorities of improving early childhood and post-secondary educational outcomes, culturally relevant mental health services and private homeownership affordability.
Born and raised in Pangnirtung, then Northwest Territories, Paul Okalik’s lifelong commitment to the self-determination of Inuit began with early interactions with governments. As a teenager, he went to Frobisher Bay for residential school. In the early 1980s, Mr. Okalik accepted the challenge of negotiator with the Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut. He negotiated with the Government of Canada towards the historic signing in 1993 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.
Mr. Okalik earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in political science and Canadian studies from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.) from the University of Ottawa. He was called to the Northwest Territories Bar on February 12, 1999, months before the creation of Nunavut.
Shortly thereafter, Paul Okalik was elected by the consensus of the Members of the Legislative Assembly to serve as the first Premier of Nunavut and Minister of Justice. He served in these positions from 1999-2008. In the first term, while touring communities, Mr. Okalik witnessed school children studying in hallways and broom closets. He acted immediately to build schools in all communities. In both terms, he and the Members of the Legislative Assembly worked to enshrine Inuit rights, customs and language into territorial legislation, such as the Inuit Language Protection Act and the Family Abuse Intervention Act which is based on diversion, a more culturally relevant form of justice.
Between 2008 to 2011, Mr. Okalik served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. In this capacity, he introduced the Order of Nunavut Act, which was the first Private Member’s Bill to be passed by the Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Okalik has been an active supporter and volunteer with the Iqaluit Soup Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Okalik is fluently bilingual in Inuktitut and English, and continues to work on his French proficiency.