Canada’s far north has become a rapidly changing area. The region is part of the country’s heritage, identity and future. It is a place that is being shaped by the impacts of climate change, the growth of Aboriginal institutions and Northern and Aboriginal governments. However, there are gaps in our knowledge of the region and we must work to close those gaps.
Strengthening social infrastructure
The Government of Canada has proposed a Norstrat plan to strengthen social infrastructure in the Canadian North as part of its northern strategy. The Strategy will help Canadian communities build new transit systems and service extensions. It will also support clean economic growth.
The Strategy is based on the principle that critical infrastructure activities should be carried out across all levels of society. It will include mechanisms to facilitate collaboration between federal, provincial and territorial governments and critical infrastructure sector partners. The Strategy will also recognize the responsibility of local authorities, owners and operators of critical infrastructure.
The Fall Economic Statement proposes an additional $81 billion through 2027-28. This money will allow the Government to fund strategic investments in transportation projects and trade projects, including transportation infrastructure that supports the needs of rural and northern communities.
The Strategy also includes the creation of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. This bank will provide innovative funding for infrastructure projects, through loan guarantees and equity investments. This will transform the way infrastructure is planned and delivered across the country.
Addressing gaps in our knowledge of the region
The Canadian Arctic and North are important crossroads for the country and the world. This region is also a hotspot for science, but there is still a lot of work to do to address the knowledge gaps.
The government is working to close the gaps between the region and the rest of Canada and reshape the region to meet the needs of the people. This includes fostering opportunities for diversification and innovation, promoting access to markets and supporting existing economic activities. It will include measures to build capacity and to prevent crime and other social challenges.
The federal Government of Canada continues to engage Indigenous peoples. In the final report, Special Representative of Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Mary Simon noted that “shared leadership” is an important component in achieving the goals of the Arctic and North Policy Framework.
The next phase of the framework co-development will focus on governance, investment strategies and Indigenous approaches. It will also include the review of legislative impediments to progress.
Recognizing and advancing the vision and interests of Inuit, First Nations and Metis peoples
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Closing the gaps between the region and the rest of Canada
The Government of Canada sees a future for the Arctic and Northern region that is inclusive and prosperous. A whole-of-government effort is necessary to leverage domestic and international policy levers. The Government of Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework provides a vision of this future. In this vision, Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous citizens are united to build a stronger region.
Despite the potential of the Arctic and North, many of its residents have been left behind. Inequalities in income and opportunities continue. Health care and transportation are two longstanding challenges. Access to formal education and employment opportunities are a significant barrier for local participation in the workforce.
The Government of Canada’s Arctic and Northern Framework is a bold step in addressing these longstanding challenges. It will help realize the potential of the region. The Framework addresses key issues of education, community infrastructure, employment, and health. The framework is a 10-year plan. The implementation process will include a wide range of actions.
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