Joint Ministerial Statement: Toward a New Arctic Policy Framework


OTTAWA (November 15, 2017) – The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following joint statement regarding the co-development of a new Arctic Policy Framework:

“Last December, as part of the United States-Canada Joint Arctic Leaders’ Statement,  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that a new Arctic Policy Framework will be co-developed with key northern partners, including territorial and provincial governments, and Indigenous peoples. The new Framework will replace Canada’s Northern Strategy (2010) and the Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy (2009), to better align Canada’s national and international policy objectives with the priorities of Northerners. The new Framework will provide overarching direction to the Government of Canada’s priorities, activities, and investments in the Arctic, with a horizon of 2030.  

We believe that through collaboration, the Government of Canada can support real, long-term opportunities to build strong communities, robust economies, and sustainable environmental practices. It is in the spirit of collaboration that we are asking for your advice in further developing this new Arctic Policy Framework. The Government of Canada will be seeking input from Northerners and other interested Canadians through an online engagement, while also partnering with provinces, territories, and Indigenous peoples to host targeted in-person sessions.

The process to develop a new Arctic Policy Framework will provide ongoing opportunities to identify issues and solutions to meet the challenges and harness emerging opportunities in the Arctic. We recognize the extensive work that has already been undertaken by our key partners in developing the priorities for their respective regions. This process will build upon – rather than replace – this important work.

The Framework will focus on the priorities and themes identified by Northerners through the work of Minister’s Special Representative Mary Simon, whose broad engagements across the North will advise the Government on the most pressing issues facing the region. These include areas like infrastructure, community well-being, sustainable and diversified economies, science and Indigenous knowledge, protecting the environment and preserving Arctic biodiversity.

Canada is committed to taking leadership on issues of importance to the North, including climate change, in collaboration with provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples and other Arctic states. We are pursuing a new international Arctic policy alongside those partners, in order to support both our domestic priorities and preserve the successful international cooperation in the circumpolar region.

As noted by Ms. Simon in her report, there is a “long history of visions, action plans, strategies and initiatives being devised ‘for the North’ and not ‘with the North’… A new Arctic Policy Framework starts with an inclusive, mutually respectful and trustful process that establishes (and keeps to) principles of partnership.” That is why we are committed to creating a new Arctic Policy Framework for the North, in partnership with the North, to reflect the needs and priorities of the North.

There is much work to be done to address the underlying conditions that cumulatively impact the well-being of Arctic people and communities. Let’s share our knowledge, expertise, skills and ideas. All Canadians benefit in Building a Strong Arctic Together! To have your say visit Toward a new Arctic Policy Framework.

We look forward to a new framework that reflects the priorities of Northerners and the Inuit, First Nation, and Metis groups that have always called the North their home.”

For more information, media may contact:

Sabrina Williams
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

INAC Media Relations
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada

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