Fact Sheet: Northern Strategy

The Government of Canada is advancing an integrated Northern Strategy that will strengthen Canada's sovereignty, protect our environmental heritage, promote economic and social development and improve Northern governance.

Budget 2008 continued investments to implement the Government's vision for a new North with new measures that will protect and secure Canada's sovereignty and create more economic opportunities in the North. With these investments, the Government remains determined to make tangible, practical progress in the quality of life experienced by Northern peoples in this country.

Since its inception, there has been considerable progress made toward the four objectives of the Northern Strategy:

  1. Sovereignty - to strengthen Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, we have:

    • Expanded the Canadian Rangers program;

    • Ordered new Arctic/Offshore Patrol vessels to monitor and respond;

    • Committed to building a deep water Arctic docking and refuelling facility in Nanisivik, Nunavut;

    • Launched RadarSat-2 to provide enhanced surveillance and data gathering capabilities;

    • Held military exercises and committed to the construction of a Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre in Resolute, Nunavut;

    • Committed to completion of mapping of the underwater continental shelf to meet 2013 United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf deadline; and

    • Committed to the construction of a polar class icebreaker to increase Canadian presence in the Arctic.

  2. Environmental Protection – to protect our environmental heritage in the North, we have:

    • Set aside land for the expansion of conservation areas, national parks and marine protected areas;

    • Supported International Polar Year research focussed on climate change impacts, especially the human dimension;

    • Committed to the establishment of a world class Arctic research station to be on the cutting edge of environmental science and resource development; and

    • Established northern research as a priority of university granting councils.

  3. Economic and Social Development – to encourage economic and social development in the North, we have:

    • Provided $300 million for affordable housing in the territories;

    • Set aside $500 million for a socio-economic trust for communities affected by the construction of the Mackenzie Gas Project;

    • Launched the Regulatory Improvement Initiative to respond to the need for an efficient and effective regulatory regime able to respond to mounting development pressures;

    • Committed to the construction of a commercial fishing harbour in Nunavut to support the emerging commercial fishery in that territory;

    • Provided $34 million for geological mapping, primarily in the North to support the exploration and development of mineral resources; and

    • Provided increased deductions in Budget 2008 for northern workers;

  4. Governance – To devolve and improve Northern governance in the territories, we have:

    • Increased the Territorial Funding Formula for territorial governments;

    • Committed to the completion of devolution of provincial-type responsibilities for land and resource management to the Northwest Territories and to begin the devolution process with the Government of Nunavut;

    • Continued negotiations toward settlement of remaining outstanding Aboriginal land claims and negotiations for the establishment of self-government arrangements; and

    • Provided $28 million for the strengthening of Nunavut financial management capacity.

Looking to the future, the federal government is working on broadening and deepening the Northern Strategy, particularly the people dimension. Possible activities for the coming year include:

  • Enhancing the marine regime for Arctic shipping;
  • Options for regulatory improvement in the North;
  • Expanding broadband connectivity in the NWT and Nunavut;
  • Advancing devolution in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories; and,
  • Engagement on the Northern Strategy with northerners, stakeholders, Aboriginal groups and the Canadian public.
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