Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada

May 14, 2008 13:28 ET

Natural Resources Canada: Government of Canada Takes Important Steps to Advance Canada's Northern Strategy

GATINEAU, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced significant new investments in research projects that will further advance the Government of Canada vision and strategy for the North.

The ministers announced a new $25-million investment that includes $20 million for seabed mapping and related work to support Canada's submission on the outer limits of its continental shelf and an additional $5.2 million for projects associated with International Polar Year (IPY).

"These are major financial commitments that will bring new research and information about our Arctic, which in turn will lead to new economic and social opportunities for northerners and all Canadians," said Minister Lunn, "They are about turning potential into prosperity."

"Our government is following through on the Prime Minister's commitment to create a strong and prosperous North," said Minister Strahl. "Our clear and bold vision, set out in our integrated Northern Strategy, is the most forward-thinking and results-oriented approach for the North since the early 1960s."

Budget 2008 provided $20 million over two years for data collection and legal work for the development of Canada's submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for the purpose of establishing the limits of the extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. This funding allocation has been doubled to almost $40 million over four years to ensure Canada's best efforts in presenting an effective submission in support of its case.

"This investment highlights the government's commitment to securing international recognition of Canada's sovereign rights in the North," said the Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. "Completing seabed mapping in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans will enable us to deliver a strong submission to withstand any future challenges from neighbouring countries."

Canada has until 2013 to submit proof of the outer limits of its continental shelf to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Three federal departments, Natural Resources, Fisheries and Oceans, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade, are working together to present Canada's case to satisfy these requirements.

"Completing the mapping of Canada's extended continental shelf and making our submission to the UN will reaffirm Canada's ability to explore and exploit its natural resources over 1.75 million square kilometres of its extended continental shelf - an area about the size of the Prairie provinces," said the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The ministers also announced $5.2 million to support projects related to IPY communications and training. The projects will help explain IPY research to Canadians, increase awareness of issues involving Canada's Arctic and build capacity to conduct northern research.

The ministers made the announcement at an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Polar Continental Shelf Project, which has built an international reputation for its work to support researchers working in the extreme climactic conditions of the Far North. The Polar Shelf plays a very significant role in the provision of land-based field research on behalf of Canada's northern science community.

IPY is the largest-ever international program of scientific research focused on the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Canada is a global leader in this important international initiative, with the largest new investment of funds for polar research and training of the participating countries.

For more information on the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, visit

For more information on International Polar Year, visit


The Government of Canada has announced new funding for research projects in the North. The $25-million investment includes $20 million for seabed mapping to determine the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf and an additional $5.2 million for projects associated with International Polar Year.

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at

Contact Information

  • Medias: Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Bernadette Murphy
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister
    Indian and Northern Affairs, Gatineau
    Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Josee Bellemare
    Press Secretary
    General public:
    Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EDT
    TTY: 613-996-4397 (teletype for the hearing-impaired)