Below are some key pieces of legislation which pertain to the management and conservation of polar bears in Newfoundland and Labrador
Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement
Under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement (LILCA), Labrador Inuit have the exclusive right to harvest, throughout the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (LISA), the Total Allowable Harvest (TAH) of Polar Bears established for Newfoundland and Labrador. In the case that a TAH of Polar Bears is established for Canada, Nunatsiavut Beneficiaries are entitled to an equitable share of that TAH and have the right to harvest Polar Bears that may be taken in the LISA. The Inuit of Labrador have outlined in their final land claim document that a conservation-oriented and precautionary approach are priorities in the decision-making that relates to or directly affects wildlife and their habitat in the LISA.
Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act
The Polar Bear is listed as Vulnerable under the Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act. This listing does not confer direct protection to this species or its habitat, but requires the creation of a management plan by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and allows for the development of additional regulations for the protection of Polar Bears and their habitat, if deemed necessary.
Newfoundland and Labrador Wild Life Act
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the polar bear is managed under the Wild Life Act, which provides authority to the Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources for the management of this species, including the setting of seasons and quotas. Labrador Inuit are the only group with rights to harvest Polar Bears in the province and the Nunatsiavut Government administers the hunt through the issuance of communal license to its members.
Canada National Parks Act
Polar Bears and their onshore habitat in Labrador are protected in both Torngat Mountains National Park and Akami-uapishku / KakKasuak / Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve. Under the Canada National Parks Act, Parks Canada provides protection of important maternal denning and coastal summering areas within the parks and prohibits wildlife harassment and non-Indigenous Polar Bear hunting. Impact and Benefits Agreements respecting each park have been signed between Nunatsiavut Government and Parks Canada and establish frameworks for cooperative management of each park. These agreements allow Polar Bear hunting in the parks by beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement within the regulations and quotas set by the Nunatsiavut Government for the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area. They also include provisions related to emergency kill of Polar Bears, including prevention and safety, compensation, implications for the Nunatsiavut Polar Bear quota, and a requirement to make reasonable efforts to preserve the hide and meat of any emergency kill for use by Inuit.