Author: Published under the authority of the
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development and Federal Interlocutor for
Métis and Non-Status Indians
Date: Ottawa, 2010
PDF Version (267 Kb, 1 Page)
Inuktitut - PDF Version (312 Kb, 1 Page)
Canada is a Northern nation. The North is a fundamental part of our heritage and our national identity, and it is vital to our future. In July of 2009, Canada’s Northern Strategy: Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future was published. The paper elaborates on the Government’s overarching vision for the North, and the Government’s significant activities in the region, including major investments made as a part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The Northern Strategy is bolstered by a robust Arctic foreign policy, which guides the Government’s international efforts for the region.
The Government of Canada has worked closely with Territorial and Aboriginal leaders, Northerners and partners in the circumpolar Arctic to ensure the North achieves its full promise as a vibrant region within a strong and sovereign Canada.
Canada’s Northern Aboriginal peoples enrich our heritage. In August 2010, the Government of Canada issued an apology to Inuit families who were relocated to the High Arctic in the 1950s. The Government paid tribute to their courage and perseverance in the face of suffering and hardship, recognizing their contribution to a strong Canadian presence in the High Arctic.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that a strong and prosperous North helps shape the future of our nation. CanNor, the new economic development agency for the North, was established in August 2009 to help ensure a stronger, more dynamic economy for Northern families and businesses, by empowering Northern workers and businesses to benefit from the abundant resources and opportunities in the North. The Government also committed to help support economic growth and provide opportunities for Northerners by streamlining the regulatory regime and removing barriers to private investment, unlocking the resource potential in Canada’s North without compromising Canada’s commitment to environmental protection.
A vibrant Northern economy requires safe, healthy and prosperous communities. That is why the Government established Nutrition North Canada in May of 2010. Nutrition North Canada will help alleviate the costs of shipping healthy foods by air to isolated northern communities and encourage healthy eating. At the same time, the Government extended the Territorial Health Sustainability Initiative in Budget 2010 to consolidate recent progress in reducing the reliance on outside health care systems and medical travel.
Over the past year, the Government has taken concrete action to protect and conserve the magnificent environment and unique wildlife of Canada’s Arctic. The Nahanni National Park Reserve was expanded to more than 30,000 square kilometres, ensuring a vital and unique ecosystem and UNESCO World Heritage Site is protected for future generations. The Government launched a $5 million feasibility study as part of the creation of a new national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound, at the eastern entrance to the “Northwest Passage.”
The Government also established the Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area. This area covers approximately 1,800 square kilometers of the Mackenzie River Delta and estuary in the Beaufort Sea, and is home to one of the world’s largest summering populations of beluga whales.
The Government has taken concrete measures to improve shipping laws and regulations, including amendments to the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act to enforce Canada’s stringent environmental laws and shipping regulations up to 200 nautical miles offshore. To improve Canada’s ability to detect ship-source pollution, the Government made important enhancements to the National Aerial Surveillance Program.
The Government of Canada is committed to safe and sustainable economic development in Canada’s North. In order to gather new information vital to the future management of the Beaufort Sea, the Government will undertake a multi-stakeholder initiative. The Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment will sponsor regional environmental and socio-economic research in the interest of sustainability.
Canada’s North has some of the most innovative, consultative approaches to governance in the world, which reflect the unique opportunities and circumstances of Northern communities. The Government will continue to work with all of its Northern partners to advance practical, innovative and efficient governance models.
At the same time, Canada takes its role as a global leader on Arctic issues seriously. In March of this year, Canada hosted a meeting of Arctic Ocean coastal States (Canada, the United States, the Russian Federation, Denmark and Norway) to help to facilitate a constructive, forward-looking discussion among states with shared interests and authorities for the responsible management of areas of the Arctic Ocean.
Canada is taking a robust international leadership role in shaping the stewardship, sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic region. In August 2010, the Government released a Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy, setting out the actions the Government is taking to promote Canada’s interests in the North. In Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy, the first and most important step towards recognizing the potential of the Arctic is the exercise of our sovereignty over the Far North.
Effectively exercising Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic includes maintaining a strong presence in the North and enhancing our stewardship of the region. That is why Canada conducts three major sovereignty operations in the North each year, Operations Nanook, Nunalivut and Nunakput. In 2010, Operation Nanook, the largest of the three operations, allowed the Canadian Forces to practice with the US Navy and Coast Guard, as well as the Royal Danish Navy in order to address contingencies with our neighbours in the event of an Arctic emergency.
Canada is enhancing its presence in the North through initiatives such as the establishment of an army reserve company in Yellowknife and the expansion and modernization of the Canadian Rangers. The Government will further enhance Arctic capabilities by continuing with projects such as the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships and the Coast Guard’s new icebreaker. This year saw the Canadian Forces land a CC-177 Globemaster III at Canadian Forces Station Alert, a landmark for the Government’s strategic airlift capability in the North.
In July 2010, Canada introduced new mandatory requirements for foreign and domestic vessels of a certain size to report information such as identity, position and destination to the Canadian Coast Guard if travelling through Canada’s Arctic waters. To facilitate the safe management of marine traffic in the Arctic, the Government also committed to provide strategic meteorological information and navigational data in key Arctic zones. This effort will allow Canada to promote the safe navigation of vessels, keep watch on vessels carrying pollutants, fuel oil and dangerous goods, and respond quickly in the event of an accident.
This year, the Government provided support for the next phase of the RADARSAT project. The RADARSAT Constellation Mission is a system of three advanced remote sensing satellites which will provide the Department of National Defence with daily coverage of Canada’s landmass and ocean approaches from coast to coast to coast.
Science and technology form an important foundation for Canada’s Northern Strategy and provide the knowledge necessary for sound policy and decision-making. Canada made one of the largest single contributions of any country to International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 which provided the opportunity to undertake an intensive study of issues currently facing the polar regions. Canada will host the final event to wrap-up International Polar Year, the “From Knowledge to Action” Conference in Montreal, Quebec in 2012.
To secure the legacy of IPY and affirm the importance of Arctic science for Canada, the Government committed to establish a new, world-class research station in the Arctic. The Canadian High Arctic Research Station will be a year-round, multidisciplinary facility, exploring the cutting-edge of Arctic science and technology issues. In August 2010, it was announced that the Station will be located in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
Considerable work is being undertaken to ensure the Station is built. In Budget 2010, the Government committed $18 million to carry out important pre-construction design work on the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. In addition, a further investment of $85 million was provided for the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund for much needed upgrades to key research facilities across the North.
The Government of Canada has a clear vision for the North and is taking concrete action to ensure the region achieves its rightful place within a strong and sovereign Canada. For a complete report of Canada’s progress on the Northern Strategy, please visit the Government of Canada website.