Government of Canada requests research proposals to address northern contaminants and plastic pollution

News release

December 15, 2023 — Gatineau, Quebec — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The hunting and harvesting of fish, wildlife and marine mammals play a vital role in the communities and traditional ways of life of Northerners and Indigenous Peoples.

In the North and Arctic of Canada, these local food sources face exposure to long-range contaminants, including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals like mercury, and microplastics, among others. This is a concern for the health of the people who consume them, prompting the federal government to work with local partners and communities to address these concerns.

Today, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor, announced the launch of the annual call for proposals for research and monitoring projects of contaminants originating from other parts of the world. These contaminants are transported through air and sea currents to the North and Arctic.

As part of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern Contaminants Program, beginning in 2024–2025, $1,005,000 will be available for projects for three consecutive years. This investment will support new projects related to human health, environmental and community-based monitoring and research, and associated public outreach initiatives.

Applicants have until February 13, 2024, to submit their proposals. Projects selected for funding will be announced in summer 2024.


“Increasingly, Inuit and all Northerners are witnessing unpredictable and rapid changes in marine and terrestrial environments. Contaminants from sources around the world enter northern ecosystems and can impact the health of wildlife and residents. Research supported by the Northern Contaminants Program aims to identify such contaminants in order to help Northerners make informed food choices and, ultimately, support global actions to reduce sources of pollutants.”

The Honourable Dan Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

Quick facts

  • The Northern Contaminants 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 2023–2024 project year, 57 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 between Indigenous and territorial governments and organizations, university and community-based researchers, and federal science-based departments.

  • The program communicates its findings and project results through several means, including the program’s website, workshops and outreach activities with stakeholders in Canada’s North, and through Government of Canada publications.

  • The Northern Contaminants Program is inclusive of First Nations, Inuit and Métis residing in northern and Arctic areas.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Carson Debert
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Dan Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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