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Archived - Minister Valcourt Announces Establishment of New Federal Organization – Polar Knowledge Canada

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June 1, 2015 - Ottawa, ON - Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today announced the coming into force of The Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act, officially establishing Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) as a new organization.

The official start of activities at POLAR marks a significant milestone that will contribute significantly to the delivery of Canada's Northern Strategy. The organization will build on the former Canadian Polar Commission's mandate to serve as Canada's primary point of contact for Arctic science.

The creation of one larger, stronger research hub for scientific research in Canada's North will be instrumental in effectively exercising sovereignty and stewardship of Canada's Arctic lands, waters and resources.

POLAR's science and technology research program will serve Canada and the world, and advance Canada's knowledge of the Arctic in order to improve economic opportunities, environmental stewardship, and the quality of life of Northerners and all Canadians.

The new organization will be headquartered at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) when it opens in 2017. Until then, construction of the Station is expected to generate up to 150 jobs, mostly locally across the North, and in more specialized sectors in other parts of Canada.

Quick facts

  • Polar Knowledge Canada merges the mandate and functions of the Canadian Polar Commission with those of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station initiative at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to form one organization.
  • On August 23, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support for the construction, equipment, and fit-up of CHARS, for the CHARS' Science and Technology Program, and support as of 2018-19 and beyond for the on-going programs and operations of the Station. On August 23, 2014, the Prime Minister participated in a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the construction phase of CHARS.


"The official start of Polar Knowledge Canada as a new organization is a significant achievement in our Government's Northern Strategy. The leadership Canada is taking in polar science and technology and in the stewardship of Canada's Arctic will benefit not just Northerners but all Canadians and the rest of the world for generations to come."

- Bernard Valcourt,
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

"Our Government is proud to contribute to projects that support a strong, sustainable and prosperous Nunavut. Inuit are already seeing the benefits of the research station through the construction, with more than 65% of the construction work tendered to date awarded to Inuit-owned or Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) registered firms. I will continue to support projects like these that directly benefit Nunavummiut."

- Leona Aglukkaq,
Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Minister for the Arctic Council

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, I'd like to express our enthusiasm at being able to bring our experiences of working, living and researching in the North to the collaboration between Polar Knowledge Canada and Northerners as we work to bring new understanding of the changing Arctic to all Canadians. These collaborations will help provide Northerners with up-to-date information needed for effective action on the issues we face every day – for economic development, environmental and wildlife stewardship, community health and well-being – and to plan wisely for the future."

- Nellie Cournoyea,
Interim Chair, Polar Knowledge Canada

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Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

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