The Inuit of Northern Quebec have signed a deal with the Canadian government that will see them take ownership of 80 per cent of all islands off the north coast of Quebec.

The 15 Nunavik communities ratified the deal, called the Northern Quebec Inuit Land Claims Agreement, or NILCA. Support for the agreement was high: 4,651 voters out of the 5,999 eligible to vote approved the deal October 27.

The agreement is designed to give the Inuit more economic autonomy in the north while continuing their traditional pursuits as they look to ways to develop the islands, all of which are uninhabited.

The Quebec government was not involved in the talks because the islands were crown land and under federal jurisdiction.

The only islands that are not part of the agreement include inhabited ones like Sanikiluaq, home to 700 residents. It will remain a part of Nunavut.

The Inuit will also get $86 million in compensation and management funding from Ottawa.