Minister of Foreign Affairs to participate in Arctic Council meeting 

News Release

May 10, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada is committed to the Arctic and its people. To advance this goal, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced today that she will participate in the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, on May 11, 2017. Indigenous Permanent Participants attending the meeting are the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), the Gwich’in Council International (GCI) and the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC).

At the Arctic Council meetings, Canada will work to advance the following objectives with other Arctic nations:

  • Supporting strong Arctic communities, including advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and addressing mental wellness, education, and resilience to climate change;
  • Building a sustainable Arctic economy, to ensure long-lasting jobs;
  • Incorporating Indigenous science and traditional knowledge into decision-making;
  • Conserving Arctic biodiversity through science-based decision making.

Recent advancements include Canada’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan that will provide investments in northern coastal communities, such as making Arctic resupply operations faster, safer and more efficient. Investments of over $400 million will go to reducing communities’ reliance on diesel.

This year’s ministerial meeting is an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of the Council over the past two years and to discuss and agree to concrete next steps for the Council as Finland takes over the Chairmanship.

While in Fairbanks, the Minister will meet with representatives of the Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations and with foreign ministers from other Arctic countries.


“The Arctic Council is an important vehicle that supports peaceful cooperation. We are pleased to work with our neighbours and partners—the other Arctic countries and Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic—to build sustainable northern economies and take action to protect the Arctic environment for the benefit of Northerners and all Canadians.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Congratulations to the Arctic Council members for their leadership on improving the quality of life of northern Indigenous Peoples. We are grateful for their invaluable work with Arctic Communities to achieve lasting solutions to environmental, social and economic challenges based upon science and traditional knowledge.”

- The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Quick Facts

  • The Arctic Council was established in Ottawa in 1996 with the Ottawa Declaration. Canada was the first Chair of the Arctic Council from 1996 to 1998 and again from 2013 to 2015. The Chair of the Council rotates among the member countries every two years.

  • The Council’s member states are Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America.

  • The Arctic Energy Fund seeks to provide energy security in communities north of the 60th parallel, including Indigenous communities.

  • In the Arctic, the Oceans Protection Plan will also improve the northern operations of Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program to increase effectiveness for detecting oil spills.

  • Canada is currently co-developing a renewed Arctic Policy Framework with Northerners, Territorial and Provincial governments and First Nations, Inuit and Métis People that will replace Canada’s Northern Strategy.

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