Quick Facts

Arctic and North Territory
Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, and Northern parts of numerous provinces, including Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Québec

Arctic and Northern Population
Approximately 150,000

Permanent Participants with Canadian constituents
Arctic Athabaskan Council, Inuit Circumpolar Council, and Gwich’in Council International

Canada and the Arctic region

Nearly 40 percent of Canada’s land mass is considered Arctic and Northern, consisting of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, and the northern parts of several provinces. Canada’s Arctic is home to approximately 150,000 inhabitants, of which more than half are Indigenous. Although Canada’s Arctic region is vast, less than one percent of Canada’s population lives there.

Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Permanent Participants who live in Canada include the Athabaskan, Inuit and Gwich’in. The Athabaskan and Gwich’in peoples in Canada live primarily in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. Inuit in Canada live in 53 communities across Inuit Nunangat – the northern regions of Canada. Canadian Arctic Indigenous peoples are represented in the Arctic Council through three Permanent Participants organizations: Arctic Athabaskan Council, Inuit Circumpolar Council and Gwich’in Council International.

Canada in the Arctic Council

Canada held the first Chair of the Arctic Council from 1996 to 1998, and again from 2013-2015. Canada’s primary priorities related to the Arctic include addressing socio-economic and cultural development, environmental protection and climate change, and strengthening relations with Indigenous peoples. Specifically, during its first Arctic Council Chairmanship, Canada’s priorities included:

  • Youth development in the Arctic, including social, environmental and economic issues affecting children
  • Developing closer partnerships with Indigenous peoples and Arctic States to address common challenges and opportunities
  • Cooperation between Indigenous Peoples and Arctic States

Throughout its most recent Arctic Council Chairmanship, Canada’s priorities included:

  • Development for the people of the North
  • Mental wellness in Arctic communities
  • Integrating Indigenous knowledge of Arctic peoples into the work of the Council
  • Environmental protection, including the reduction of black carbon and methane

Key accomplishments include:

  • Canada aided in the establishment of the Arctic Economic Council, an independent forum for business-to-business cooperation
  • Canada heavily aided in the development of an action plan to prevent oil pollution in the Arctic
  • An Arctic Council Framework for enhanced black carbon and methane emissions reductions
  • Assisted in the establishment of the open-access archive project to enhance the public’s accessibility to the Arctic Council’s work

The Arctic Council was established in Canada in 1996 with the signing of the Ottawa Declaration.

David Sproule
David Sproule
Senior Arctic Official; Director General, Government of Canada

125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0G2

Contact for press inquiries
Media Relations Office of Canada
+ 1 613 995 1874
media@international.gc.ca

Learn more

Government of Canada

Territorial Governments

Provincial Governments (that engage with Canada on the Arctic Council)

Featured projects

Red Knots. Photo: Morten Ekker

Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)

Improving the status and secure the long-term sustainability of declining Arctic breeding migratory bird populations.

Marine Biodiversity Monitoring

Working with partners across the Arctic to harmonize and enhance long-term marine monitoring efforts

Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter

Reducing the negative impacts of marine litter, including microplastics, to the Arctic marine environment.

Underwater noise in the Arctic

Providing a baseline understanding of underwater noise in Arctic regions, including ambient sound levels, underwater noise created by anthropogenic activities, and impacts of underwater noise on marin...
iStock

Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum

Facilitating an exchange of information and best practices on shipping topics like hydrography, search and rescue logistics, industry guidelines and ship equipment, systems and structure.
Water sampling in the Arctic. Photo: Steve Hillebrand/CAFF

Freshwater Biodiversity Monitoring

Working with partners across the Arctic to harmonize and enhance long-term freshwater monitoring efforts.

Circumpolar Local Environmental Observer Network (CLEO)

Our world is changing rapidly, and local observers can detect subtle changes in weather, landscapes and seascapes, and in plant and animal communities.

Local 2 Global

Circumpolar collaboration for suicide prevention and mental wellness

Arctic Children: Preschool and School Education

Providing the children of nomadic Indigenous Peoples with knowledge and skills

Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON)

SAON's vision is a connected, collaborative, and comprehensive long-term pan-Arctic Observing System that serves societal needs.
Photo: Hjalti Hreinsson

Gender Equality in the Arctic

An international collaborative project focusing on gender equality in the Arctic
Cod drying. Photo: iStock

Blue Bioeconomy in the Arctic Region

The sustainable and intelligent use of renewable aquatic natural resources, with a focus on improving utilization and creating higher-value products.
Photo: iStock / RyersonClark

One Arctic, One Health

A theoretical concept and practical approach for developing and sustaining broad interdisciplinary collaboration – to identify, prevent, and mitigate health risks in humans, animals and the environmen...

Indigenous Youth, Food Knowledge and Arctic Change (EALLU) II

Developing a sustainable and resilient reindeer husbandry in the Arctic in face of climate change and globalisation, working towards a vision of creating a better life for circumpolar reindeer herders...
Ship in the Arctic. Photo: iStock / Alexey_Seafarer

Arctic Marine Tourism: Development in the Arctic and enabling real change

Analyzing and promoting sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic.
Drone Photography by: Sara Wilde

Project CREATeS

Inviting youth to engage in a dialogue about suicide prevention by telling their own stories, supporting them to make these stories into digital stories, or short films.
iStock

Good Practices for impact assessments and engagement

Providing Arctic-specific recommendations for large-scale projects in the vulnerable and changing Arctic environment, while taking Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants into account.
iStock / zanskar

Contaminant issues: POPs and mercury

Assessing the effects of contaminants in the Arctic

Arctic Sustainable Energy Futures Toolkit

The project created a comprehensive long-­term energy planning process for socially-­desirable and economically-­feasible energy solutions for communities in the Arctic by developing an Arctic Sustain...
Arctic Council logo

Sustainable Development Goals in the Arctic

Developing tools to apply SDGs in the Arctic

Prevention, Preparedness and Response for small communities

Working with small communities to improve their safety in case of an oil spill event.
Arctic Council logo

Arctic Demography Index

Case studies on demographic change and migration in the Arctic

Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA)

Sharing knowledge and establishing professional networks related to energy resources for remote Arctic communities.
Harald Finkler

Arctic Food Innovation Cluster

Pulling together relevant people in the Arctic foods value chain for a cluster-based approach to food production and regional economic development.
Plastic litter on an Arctic coast. Photo: iStock/sodar99

Arctic Marine Microplastics and Litter

Development of a monitoring plan for microplastics and litter in Arctic waters.
Arctic Council logo

Ecosystem Status, Human Impact and Management Measures in the Central Arctic Ocean

Synthesizing relevant information on the status, trends and projected changes in the Central Arctic Ocean, human activities and pressures in the area, and the current management measures in place in o...

Mainstreaming Arctic Biodiversity

Identifying challenges and solutions for incorporating biodiversity considerations Arctic development and the Council's work
Arctic Council logo

Meaningful Engagement of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Marine Activities

Compiling and analyzing existing documents and summarize stheir main aspects, principles, and processes for engagement of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
Arctic Council logo

Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECM) Areas in the Arctic Marine Environment

An overview of the current range and understanding of international and national criteria used for identification of OECMs in the Arctic.
Arctic Council logo

Existing Waste Management Practices and Pollution Control for Marine and Coastal Mining

Identifying practices for offshore discharge of mining residuals

Solid Waste Management in Small Arctic Communities

Providing in-person and online resources to address the unique needs of Arctic communities, from planning to implementation of solid waste management practices.

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