Canada’s vocation as an Arctic nation has long been at the core of the Canadian identity. Canadians embrace their Northernness with pride. However, those with a deep experience in Canada’s North — whether it be social, scientific, economic, political or environmental — will be quick to point out that our sense of Canada’s Arctic identity has not always translated into serious attention to the unique issues facing the region or the needs of the people that call Canada’s North their home.

This special report brings together thoughtful commentary on a diverse array of policy issues at a time when there is growing appetite in Ottawa for a serious discussion about Canada’s Arctic policies. The economic, social and diplomatic issues brought on by climate change in the Arctic are further drawing attention to Canada’s North. Collectively, North of 60’s contributors urge us to consider the unique and complex social, environmental, economic and political circumstances that Northerners face.

This report stems from a CIGI round table, Revitalizing Canada’s Arctic Policy, held on November 27, 2015, at Carleton University — shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new Liberal Government took power and not long after Canada completed its term as chair of the Arctic Council. The round table, which was supported by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Global Affairs Canada, brought together a dozen of Canada’s leading Arctic experts.

The insights of this collection of essays and interviews provide a solid basis for further discussion in the North and across Canada for those ready to engage in shaping Canada’s future Arctic agenda.

  • John Higginbotham is a senior fellow at CIGI and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa. John’s research focuses on Arctic economic and governance development and international relations, Canada’s ties with the United States and China in global context and North American Arctic marine transportation as the Arctic Ocean melts.

  • Jennifer Spence is a CIGI fellow since 2017. An expert in Arctic and international governance and public policy, Jennifer will focus on the Arctic program at CIGI with a particular focus on infrastructure, transportation, local and regional development, and strengthened domestic and regional governance.