Canada and the Arctic region
The North covers 40 percent of Canada’s territory and is home to more than 120,000 inhabitants, of whom more than half are Indigenous.
Working with domestic and international partners, Canada advances its international Arctic interests at the Arctic Council and other international forums where Arctic issues are considered. We also work closely with our seven Arctic neighbours and increasingly some non-Arctic states as many of our respective policies directed to the region are complementary. These partnerships enable us to promote a unified and all-inclusive voice on issues important to Northerners. Canada’s priorities related to the Arctic include addressing climate change, renewing relations with Indigenous Peoples, management of the Arctic Ocean, and supporting sustainable economic and social development through evidence-based decision-making.
The Government of Canada also supports Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations in Canada to improve their capacity to fully engage in the activities of the Arctic Council. Canadian Indigenous Peoples are represented at the Arctic Council through three Permanent Participants: Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), and Gwich'in Council International (GCI).
Almost all Canadian federal government departments with a mandate to work in Canada’s North contribute expertise, knowledge, and human and financial resources to Canadian priorities at the Council. A number of these also play a direct leadership role in the Council’s Working Groups and Task Forces.
The Arctic Council is the leading multilateral forum through which Canada advances its Arctic interests internationally. Canada was the first Chair of the Arctic Council from 1996 to 1998, and again from 2013-2015.
The Council was established in Canada in 1996 with the Ottawa Declaration. In celebration of the Council’s 20th anniversary, Canada was pleased to re-commit to the Declaration’s principles in a joint statement by Ministers of the Arctic States: the Arctic Council: A Forum for Peace and Cooperation.
Government of Canada:
Specific areas of interest: