Key Priorities for the North at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
The Government of Canada, through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, works closely with territorial and Aboriginal leaders, Northerners and partners in the circumpolar Arctic to ensure that the North achieves its full promise as a vibrant region within a strong and sovereign Canada. The Department of National Defence, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Health Canada, Public Safety and Transport Canada, contribute to the development of the North's resources, land and environmental management.
Canada's Northern Strategy provides a vision for the North, including the investments and activities the Government will undertake in the North. The Strategy is bolstered by a robust Arctic foreign policy, which guides Canada's international efforts for the region.
Key Priorities for the North
The Government has a vision for a new North and is bringing that vision to life – for the benefit of all Canadians. To meet the challenges and opportunities of a changing North, the Government has a comprehensive Northern Strategy and is taking concrete action in five priority areas:
- Exercising our Arctic sovereignty;
- Protecting our environmental heritage;
- Promoting social and economic development;
- Improving and devolving Northern governance; and
- World-leading Arctic science and technology.
Exercising our Arctic sovereignty
To facilitate the safe management of Arctic marine traffic, the Government of Canada is investing $35 million to provide strategic meteorological and navigational data in key Arctic zones. These measures will allow Canada to promote the safe navigation of vessels, to keep watch on vessels carrying fuel oil, dangerous goods, and potential pollutants, and to respond more effectively in the event of an accident.
Protecting our environmental heritage environment
The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canada's northern ecological heritage. Through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, the Government will continue to remediate and monitor sites for which it is responsible, including high priority sites such as Giant Mine and Faro Mine in Northern Canada. Building on work to date, Budget 2011 provided an additional $68 million over the next two years for this work.
In 2007, under the Health of the Oceans Panel initiative, $60 million was invested over five years to protect Canadian waterways from shipping pollution. This initiative provided 19 remote communities with enhanced marine pollution control equipment in 2010. Concrete measures have been taken to improve shipping laws and regulations, including amendments to the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act to enforce Canada's stringent environmental laws and shipping regulations up to 200 nautical miles offshore.
Promoting social and economic development
From 2010-2015, over $125 million will be invested in the territories through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. This funding supports programming designed to link training to labour market demand and to help ensure Aboriginal Northerners can fully participate in the growing Northern economy. Budget 2011 invested a further $9 million over two years to expand adult basic education programming to increase employment opportunities for Northerners.
Nutrition North Canada is a market-driven program which helps make nutritious, perishable foods accessible to Canadians living in isolated northern communities. The Government of Canada is providing $60 million per year to Nutrition North Canada. This includes $1.53 million (2010-2011) and $2.9 million (2011-2012) to deliver nutrition promotion and education initiatives for isolated northern communities eligible under the program.
In July 2011, the Government announced it had accepted bids of $534 million for oil and gas exploration in the Central Mackenzie Valley, and bids of $2 million for oil and gas exploration in the Beaufort Sea and Mackenzie Delta.
In February 2012, the Government delivered on its Budget 2011 commitment to expand adult basic education programming across the three territories. CanNor is investing $27 million over five years to ensure that more Northerners can access training opportunities and directly benefit from jobs and economic development opportunities, in sectors such as mining, construction and tourism.
CanNor's Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program focuses on strengthening the key sectors of the territories, economic diversification and encouraging Northerners' participation in the labour market. The Economic Action Plan renewed its funding in 2009 at $90 million over five years.
Improving and Devolving Northern Governance
Through land claim and self-government agreements, Aboriginal communities are developing made-in-the-North policies and strategies to address their unique challenges and opportunities. The Government of Canada will continue to work with all of its Northern partners to advance practical, innovative and efficient governance models.
- In February 2011, the Government signed a historic agreement with the Teslin Tlingit Council, a self-governing First Nation in Yukon. The Teslin Tlingit Council Administration of Justice Agreement allows the First Nation to administer, enforce and adjudicate its laws in its traditional way.
- The devolution of land and resource management is an important part of building the future of the North. In April 2003, Yukon became the first territory to take over land and resource management responsibilities, putting decision-making squarely in the hands of Yukon citizens.
- In early 2011, an Agreement-in-Principle for the transfer of land and resource management responsibilities to the Northwest Territories was signed. Preliminary discussions toward a final agreement have begun.
World-leading Arctic science and technology
The role of science in supporting the activities of the Government of Canada in the North continues to grow. Mapping the Arctic Ocean floor is a key step in preparing Canada's submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, seeking international recognition for the full extent of Canada's continental shelf. A Government of Canada scientific research team is maximizing mapping efforts and identifying Arctic seabed resources. Scientific and technological innovations such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles - designed and manufactured in Canada - have been deployed to collect water depth data that will help determine seabed shape in remote areas.
Since 2009, CanNor has invested over $10.6 million for a broad spectrum of geosciences programs in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut through the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development. Canada's investment of $100 million (2008-2013) in the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals program will provide the knowledge private-sector exploration firms need to make investment decisions, as well as to inform land-use decisions such as the creation of parks and other protected areas.
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