Government of Canada requests research proposals to address northern contaminants and plastic pollution
February 6, 2023 — Ottawa, Ontario — Crown−Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Together, with Indigenous partners, scientists are assessing the presence of contaminants and plastics pollution in Northern and Arctic communities. These partnerships will lead to solutions to reduce the presence of contaminants in local food sources, including traditionally harvested country foods integral to Indigenous culture and food security in the North and Arctic.
Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, announced the launch of the 2023-2024 call for proposals for research and monitoring of contaminants that originate in other parts of the world and are transported through air and sea currents to Canada’s North and Arctic. This includes work pertaining to so-called “forever chemicals” or persistent organic pollutants and mercury, as well as microplastic and other plastic pollution in the North.
As part of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern Contaminants Program, $2,665,000 is available in 2023-2024 for new projects related to human health, environmental and community-based monitoring and research, and related public outreach initiatives, with over $850,000 identified for activities contributing to Canada’s Plastics Science Agenda.
Applicants have until March 8, 2023 to submit their proposals. Projects selected for funding will be announced in summer 2023.
“Together, with Indigenous partners, scientists are assessing the presence of contaminants and plastics pollution in Northern and Arctic communities. These partnerships will lead to solutions to reduce the presence of contaminants in local food sources, including traditionally harvested country foods integral to Indigenous culture and food security in the North and Arctic.”
The Honourable Dan Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor
The Northern Contaminants Program supports the research and monitoring of contaminants that are transported to the Arctic through atmospheric and oceanic processes from other parts of the world, including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals (particularly mercury), and other contaminants of concern for Arctic regions, such as microplastics.
These research projects are increasing knowledge about the levels of long-range transported contaminants in traditionally harvested foods and their potential impacts on animal and human health. They are also addressing knowledge gaps related to plastics pollution in Canada’s North and Arctic.
The program has an annual budget of approximately $5.1 million, including $1 million per year until 2026-27 as part of the Government of Canada’s initiatives on plastic waste and pollution reduction. In the 2022–2023 project year, 54 projects were selected for funding from the Northern Contaminants Program.
Proposals for funding are subject to a thorough technical and social–cultural review process conducted in coordination with subject-matter experts and northern and Indigenous members of regional committees in Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut.
Projects are carried out through partnerships among Indigenous and territorial governments and organizations, university and community-based researchers, and federal science-based departments.
The Northern Contaminants Program is inclusive of First Nations, Inuit and Métis residing in Northern and Arctic areas.
For more information, media may contact:
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dan Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and CanNor
Crown−Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
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