The official opening of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, opens a new chapter in Canada’s polar research leadership

News release

Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, August 21, 2019 – New knowledge of the Arctic is vital to addressing the unique challenges of climate change in Canada’s North and strengthening the resilience of northern communities. Science and Indigenous knowledge working together is key to developing the evidence-based policy that will help enable Northerners and all Canadians adapt to today’s conditions and plan for the future.

Today, residents of the Arctic community of Cambridge Bay; Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; the Honourable Jeannie Ehaloak, member of the Executive Council of Nunavut and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Cambridge Bay; Her Worship, Pamela Gross, Mayor of Cambridge Bay; and David J. Scott, President and Chief Executive Officer for Polar Knowledge Canada, together marked the official opening of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus. The new facility is designed to facilitate inclusive collaboration between scientists and Indigenous knowledge holders.

With state-of-the-art features that enable Canadian and international researchers to perform in-depth scientific analysis without leaving the Arctic, and its welcoming spaces for discussions and knowledge exchange, the CHARS campus symbolizes a new chapter in Canada’s polar leadership.

The CHARS campus, which further enhances Canada’s pan-northern network of research facilities, is integrated into the community of Cambridge Bay and was developed in close consultation with residents. Inuit Knowledge informed its design, its architecture incorporates many references to Inuit culture, and Inuit art is a prominent feature of the Main Research Building.

As a place where Indigenous Knowledge is recognized as being fundamentally important to our understanding of the Arctic, the CHARS campus offers a rich, collaborative environment for the creation of new knowledge that is needed to address the issues that Northerners and Canadians have identified as important in the context of a rapidly changing Arctic.



“Together, Arctic science and Indigenous Knowledge help us better understand the unique challenges presented by the Arctic environment and climate change. The Canadian High Arctic Research Station will strengthen Canada’s leadership in Arctic science, research and innovation and respect in Indigenous knowledge. It will be a focal point for research, will help foster knowledge-sharing and build partnerships across the North, and will strengthen innovation and economic growth in the North.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations 

“The Canadian High Arctic Research Station provides scientists from across Canada and around the world with a world-class Arctic research facility to conduct cutting edge Arctic research year-round in Canada’s Arctic, in collaboration with local Indigenous people. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the work of our outstanding scientists and researchers in all fields.”

Yvonne Jones,

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

“The CHARS is a hub for research for Arctic scientists from across Canada and around the world, and is also open to the community of Cambridge Bay. I’m extremely proud of the historic opening of this facility, in the heart of the North, that will host a wide range of vitally important research activities.”

Steven MacKinnon

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“This innovative new facility offers tremendous opportunity for new collaborations that will expand the reach of Canadian polar research. We’ve had a lot of interest from organizations from across Canada and around the world who are excited about the opportunities the CHARS campus offers. The campus also provides a fantastic opportunity to give young northerners a chance to explore science—to see what science looks like as a career, here in the Arctic. Polar research directly affects Northerners, and it makes sense that they’re part of it, from the ground up. The opening today brings us closer to a future where more Northerners are involved in all aspects of research.”

David J. Scott

President and Chief Executive Officer, Polar Knowledge Canada

Quick facts

  • The CHARS campus, operated by Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR), is designed and built to optimize innovation in Arctic science and technology, to welcome visitors, and to provide local, regional, national and international researchers with the logistical support and technical services they need to create new knowledge. 

  • The CHARS campus is becoming a world-class hub for innovative science and technology in Canada’s North and is part of the network of national and international research infrastructure across the circumpolar North.

  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, working closely with Public Services and Procurement Canada, led the design and construction stages of the CHARS campus. 

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada is providing project management and procurement services for the design and construction of the CHARS campus, the headquarters for POLAR. LEED© Gold Certification is being pursued for the project.

  • Shared Services Canada (SSC) outfitted this cutting-edge research campus with the best connectivity, communication and collaboration technologies, including strong networks, modern satellite communications, high-speed Wi-Fi, and reliable telephony and videoconferencing. SSC looks forward to a continued partnership with POLAR to maintain and modernize the campus IT infrastructure.

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For more information, media may contact:

Matthew Dillon-Leitch

Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Media Relations

Polar Knowledge Canada

Media Relations

Public Services and Procurement Canada

Media Relations

Shared Services Canada

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