Mary Simon to Lead Engagement on a New Shared Arctic Leadership Model as the Minister's Special Representative

News Release

August 5, 2016 – Ottawa, ON – Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Canada’s Arctic is a vast and beautiful part of the world. As we plan for the future of the Arctic region it is important to ensure the multitude of interests and uses of the Arctic are considered, particularly for those Canadians who make it their permanent home.

Today, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, announced the appointment of Mary Simon as the Minister’s Special Representative (MSR) responsible for leading engagements and providing advice to the Government of Canada on the development of a new Shared Arctic Leadership Model.

As a distinguished former diplomat and life-long Inuit leader, Ms. Simon’s expertise will help inform Canada’s policy on the implementation of commitments made in the US-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership. This work will include reviewing Arctic policies and strategies, and providing advice on potential new conservation goals for the Arctic.

Ms. Simon’s work will reflect renewed Inuit-to-Crown and Nation-to-Nation relationships, and will be grounded in a vision of sustainable development of the Arctic region, taking into account engagement with other Arctic partners and informed by the best available evidence and scientific knowledge, traditional and non-traditional alike.


“For more than four decades, Ms. Simon has been a leader advancing Indigenous rights not only here in Canada but around the world. Her extensive expertise will help inform Canada’s Arctic policies. This open and collaborative engagement is an important first step in working with our partners to strengthening the biodiversity of the Arctic while planning for the sustainable economic and social development of the region for generations to come.”

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

“Mary Simon is an authority on Arctic issues, having been involved in the creation of the Arctic Council. I look forward to supporting her work in implementing the commitments of the US-Canada Joint Statement and promoting the Shared Arctic Leadership Model. ”

The Honourable Stéphane Dion,
Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The Shared Arctic Leadership Model is a very important aspect of the future of the Arctic and its people. I see it as an opportunity to give clear focus on the needs, realities and deep opportunities within northern communities when planning the future of the Arctic region.”

Mary Simon,
Minister’s Special Representative, Shared Arctic Leadership Model

Quick facts

  • Today’s announcement reaffirms the commitment made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama on March 10, 2016 in the US-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership.
  • The MSR will be engaging with Indigenous governments, Inuit, First Nations and Métis representative organizations, territorial governments, and other key stakeholders.
  • The engagement will explore six themes:
    • a vision for a sustainable Arctic
    • goals for Arctic conservation
    • sustainable development
    • implementation strategies
    • northern benefits and jobs
    • implementation of terrestrial and marine conservation goals in a manner consistent with land claim agreements

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Sabrina Williams
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

Media Relations
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

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