Kenojuak Ashevak, who created images such as Enchanted Owl, and Serge Guigère, the filmmaker behind Driven by Dreams (À force des rêves), were announced as winners of the $25,000 award in Montreal on Tuesday.
Other winners of the honour for achievement in the arts are Montreal sculptor Michel Goulet, Dene painter Alex Janvier and multidisciplinarian artists Tanya Mars of Toronto and Eric Metcalfe of Victoria.
Ashevak's simple, powerful images have made her one Cape Dorset's most acclaimed artists.
She was born in 1927 on Baffin Island and lived the traditional nomadic life on the land before settling Cape Dorset. She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, a companion of the Order of Canada and has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
He was placed in a residential school at age eight and recalled that crayons and paper were his way of communicating.
"I didn't understand English too well so I used to communicate through pictures," he told CBC News.