Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

February 17, 2009 12:00 ET

Federal Government Continues to Support and Enhance Polar Science

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2009) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian and Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians announced today a series of logistics, training and capacity building projects to sustain Canada's commitment to polar science.

"By supporting these projects, the Government of Canada is ensuring a strong legacy for International Polar Year," said Minister Strahl. "The organizations receiving funding today will contribute to the long-term success of polar research in Canada and foster greater understanding of the North, a key component of the government's Northern Strategy."

The investments include more than $1.25 million for upgrading polar research facilities and building training and educational projects.

The organizations and projects receiving funding are:

- Nunavut Research Institute

- Government of Nunavut Emergency Measures Office

- Sirmilik National Park

- Nunavut Arctic College

- Contrast Between the Poles project

- Learning in Nunavut Through our Earth project

- Circumpolar Young Leaders Program.

International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 marks the largest-ever international program of scientific research focused on the Arctic and Antarctic regions, with thousands of scientists and researchers from more than 60 nations participating. The Government of Canada committed $156 million to enable Canadian participation in IPY.

Today's announcement supports the Government of Canada's integrated Northern Strategy that will strengthen Canada's Arctic sovereignty, protect the North's environmental heritage, promote social and economic development and improve and devolve northern governance.

This release is also available on the Internet at



As part of its International Polar Year (IPY) program, the Government of Canada has allocated more than $1.25 million to fund logistics, training and communications projects.

These projects will enhance northern research facilities through support for researchers, promote IPY and raise awareness about the benefits of conducting research for Northern communities and foster greater understanding of the importance of the polar regions within Canada and abroad.

The projects listed below include training, communication and outreach initiatives, as well as funding for new logistics projects in support of Arctic research and emergency preparedness.

Logistics, Search and Rescue Projects

Nunavut Research Institute

The Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) provides logistical support to licensed researchers who use Iqaluit as the base for their research. There has been a rise in the number of researchers using Iqaluit as a staging point for their research during IPY 2007-2008. To accommodate the high demand, NRI has received $223,000 to upgrade laboratories, purchase mobile equipment supplies and health and safety equipment.

Government of Nunavut Emergency Measures Office

The Government of Nunavut has been allocated $287,000 to purchase nine Argo Avengers. The Avenger is an all terrain vehicle that can be fitted with a track for use in snow or muskeg. The Avenger is amphibious, allowing it to cross the many small lakes and streams on the tundra. These vehicles will be stationed at various locations throughout Nunavut to place and monitor fuel caches and support members of local Search and Rescue teams.

Sirmilik National Park

A significant safety issue for researchers in Sirmilik National Park and the surrounding area is the presence of polar bears and the hazards associated with working in their habitat. To help protect the safety of the researchers, $164,000 has been allocated to Parks Canada to increase local availability of equipment, integrate traditional knowledge and technological expertise into a training program and build the capacity of local people to assist in all aspects of polar bear safety including polar bear monitoring, fence installation and education.

Training and Capacity Building Projects

Nunavut Arctic College

The Government of Canada has allocated $200,000 for a Learning Materials Centre in Igloolik. The Centre will prepare and distribute information on Traditional Inuit Knowledge and IPY research products that are culturally relevant and useful to the people of Nunavut in Inuktitut and English.

Circumpolar Young Leaders Program

$100,000 will go toward this leadership development program that provides opportunities for post-secondary students to help promote sustainable development in the North.

Communications Projects

Contrast between the Poles

A total of $80,000 is being provided for this project which will have two students from Grise Fiord travel with a glaciologist to sample ice cores at the North and South Poles. The students will take part in the Students on Ice voyage to the Antarctic and document their learning experience in a film to be shared with other students across Canada.

Learning in Nunavut through our Earth

The project will receive $200,000 to develop a cyber atlas for Nunavut. The cyber atlas is a catalogued and digitized oral history compilation that will be used to provide an interactive digital means to access spatially referenced data and create new community and web-based learning resources for Nunavut schools. This project is being developed in partnership with Carleton University.

Contact Information

  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    Minister Strahl's Office
    Nina Chiarelli
    Press Secretary
    International Polar Year Federal Program Office
    Kathleen Fischer
    Executive Director