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Archived - The Canadian High Arctic Research Station

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The Government of Canada is committed to improving the quality of life of Northerners to better understand the North, and to exercise sovereignty over Canadian territory. As global interest in the North increases, Canada is taking a leadership role in shaping the stewardship and responsible development of the Arctic and has articulated a clear vision for a strong and prosperous North through its Northern Strategy.

On August 23, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $142.4 million over six years (beginning in 2012) for the construction, equipment, and fit-up of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) and an additional 46.2 million over six years (starting in 2012) for the CHARS Science and Technology Program.  The station’s Science and Technology Program will be phased in beginning in 2012. 

The Prime Minister also announced that an additional $26.5 million per year has been set aside, as of 2018-19, for the on-going program and operations of the station.

CHARS, which will be located in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, will play a key role in delivering on the priorities of the Northern Strategy by strengthening Canada’s position as a global leader in Arctic science and technology.

The objectives of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, which is targeted to be operational in 2017, are to:

  • Develop and diversify the economy in Canada's Arctic;
  • Support the effective stewardship of Canada's Arctic lands, waters, and resources;
  • Create a hub for scientific activity in Canada's vast and diverse Arctic;
  • Promote self-sufficient, vibrant, and healthy Northern communities;
  • Inspire and build capacity through training, education and outreach; and,
  • Enhance Canada's visible presence in the Arctic and strengthen Canada's leadership on Arctic issues.

Benefits of CHARS for Northerners and Canadians
The construction and future operations of CHARS will deliver direct benefits for Cambridge Bay and the surrounding area in terms of employment and service contracts. As the Science and Technology Program is phased in, it will provide Northerners with skills and experience to better participate in the labour force, from mining and energy, to natural resource and wildlife management, and to health and life sciences. It is estimated that the construction of the station will generate up to 150 jobs locally, across the North and in more specialized sectors in other parts of Canada. 

The Station will also contribute to the development and diversification of Northern economies. Canada needs to know its North in order to effectively exercise sovereignty and stewardship of Canada's Arctic lands, waters and resources. CHARS will anchor a year-round research presence in Canada's Arctic to serve Canada and the world.

The Station is mandated to undertake and broker science and technology focused on solutions in four priority areas: 

  • Resource development
  • Exercising sovereignty
  • Environmental stewardship and climate change
  • Strong and healthy communities

Partnerships with Aboriginal, academic, government, and industry collaborators, both domestically and internationally, will be fundamental to the Station's success. 

A key goal for CHARS is capacity building for Northerners and Aboriginal peoples in particular. Academic institutions in the North such as Nunavut Arctic College, which has a campus in Cambridge Bay, territorial governments, industry, and organizations representing northern Aboriginal peoples are well placed to contribute to the S&T Program while strengthening Northern participation in and leadership of Arctic science and technology. Relationships will be developed with southern academic institutions to determine opportunities for partnership such as joint research projects, the establishment of field courses, and academic postings at CHARS.

Winning bidder
Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet et associés architects and NFOE et associés architectes, operating as a joint venture, have been awarded the Design Consultant contract through a competitive and transparent bidding process. Both firms have extensive experience in architectural design and construction in the Arctic – including science and research facilities – and also in the leading edge application of sustainable development practices.  The two firms, based in Montréal, Quebec, will provide full architectural and engineering design, and construction supervision services.

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