Backgrounder - Inuit Relations Secretariat

The Inuit Relations Secretariat is the federal government's focal point for Canada's Inuit
More than 45,000 Inuit men, women and children call Canada home. Nearly all Inuit reside in one of four regions, covering roughly forty percent of Canada's land mass. The regions are subject to comprehensive land-claims agreements reached between Inuit representatives, provincial and territorial governments and the Government of Canada: Inuvialuit in the western Arctic, Nunavut in the eastern Arctic, Nunavik in northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut in Labrador.

A generation ago, most of Canada's Inuit lived off the land and had little contact with mainstream society. Today's Inuit, however, face a variety of unique social and economic challenges. For instance, although the Inuit population is growing at a rapid rate, few Inuit have access to adequate health, educational, social and economic opportunities available to most Canadians.

Addressing the unique needs of Canada's Inuit
The Inuit Relations Secretariat was created as a response to Inuit representatives who advocated for a focal point to address Inuit-specific issues within the Federal Government. Housed within Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Inuit Relations Secretariat is the federal government's primary point of contact for Inuit governments, organizations and individuals, ensuring their distinctive voices are heard by agencies and departments of the federal government. The Inuit Relations Secretariat also gathers and dispenses information, advice and expertise on Inuit matters, and improves the coherence, relevance and effectiveness of federal programs and policies that affect Inuit. Two units within the Inuit Relations Secretariat—Outreach and Liaison, and Research and Policy Development—are responsible for fulfilling these core duties.

Reaching out
The Outreach and Liaison unit coordinates the Government of Canada's relationships with Inuit organizations and with partners in provincial and territorial governments, and organizes and supports meetings and inter-departmental committees to address Inuit issues. By building bridges and fostering partnerships between Inuit groups and various departments and levels of government, the Inuit Relations Secretariat helps ensure that the distinctive interests and needs of Canada's Inuit are properly reflected in federal policies and programs.

Finding answers
The Research and Policy Development unit develops and shares information, advice and expertise on Inuit matters with other agencies and departments of the Government of Canada. By analyzing existing and proposed federal policies and programs, the unit helps ensure initiatives deliver planned results and makes certain that all Inuit communities benefit fully and fairly from federal services.

Translating commitment into action
The Inuit Relations Secretariat is a vivid demonstration of the Government of Canada's commitment to a renewed relationship with all Inuit. As such, Inuit representatives, organizations and individuals are encouraged to contact the Inuit Relations Secretariat at Les Terrasses de la Chaudière, 10 Wellington Street, Gatineau Quebec, K1A 0H4. For more information, call (819) 934-6456.