New protections for High Arctic to boost climate change resiliency and create opportunities for Inuit

In Canada’s North, rising sea levels and thinning sea ice caused by climate change threaten the lives, cultures, and identities of Inuit – and the survival of the species their communities depend on. That is why the Government of Canada is taking action to address these threats, support new economic opportunities for Inuit, and exceed our goal to protect 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Premier of Nunavut, Joe Savikataaq, and President of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), P.J. Akeeagok, today announced the first step in the creation of a long term protected area in Canada’s High Arctic Basin – the new Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area. They also announced the completion of the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area through an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement.

Together, these areas cover more than 427,000 square kilometres, which is larger than Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, nearly 14 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas will be protected – exceeding our target of protecting 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020.

The Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement supports Inuit stewardship of Tallurutiup Imanga and Tuvaijuittuq. It also creates economic development opportunities in local communities, including Inuit training and employment, through $55 million in Government of Canada funding.

In addition, the Government of Canada is investing in infrastructure for communities in the Tallurutiup Imanga area. These infrastructure investments – which include funding for the construction of harbours and a training centre – total approximately $190 million over seven years.

The Prime Minister also underlined that the government is committed to upholding Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. The government has made significant investments in the Canadian Coast Guard and Navy, so we have greater capabilities to defend Canada’s national interests.

The Government of Canada is working to support a healthy Arctic, fight climate change, and advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples by recognizing their unique relationship with traditional lands and waters and expertise in their management. We will continue to work closely with Inuit communities and Northern partners to determine how best to protect our Arctic marine areas for the benefit of all Canadians.