Prohibition in Northern Canada

Alcohol is strictly regulated and widely prohibited in Canada's youngest territory. We went there to explore the issue of prohibition and whether it's healing or adding to the territory's social crises.

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Dec 22 2014, 3:43pm

Watch Our New Documentary About Prohibition in Nunavut

Officially founded in 1999, Nunavut is the youngest territory in Canada. It's only been two generations since Canada's stewardship of the land forced the Inuit people from their semi-nomadic way of life into a modern, sedentary one. But while the introduction of modern conveniences seems to have made life more comfortable, the history of Canada in the arctic is mired in tragedy, and the traumatic effects of residential schools and forced relocations are still being felt.

Today, Nunavut is in a state of social crisis: Crime rates are four times the national average, and the suicide rate is more than ten times as high as in the rest of Canada.

If you ask people here what the driving force behind all the problems is, a lot of them will say alcohol. Even though alcohol is completely illegal in some parts of the territory, it's been reported that 95 percent of police calls are alcohol-related.

In this new VICE documentary, we visited Nunavut to find out whether alcohol prohibition is helping or hurting the territory.