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Archived - Harper Government Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Canada's Arctic Research Potential

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The Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act was introduced as part of Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 (Bill C-43) in the House of Commons on October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014 - Ottawa, ON - Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Located in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut CHARS will provide a year-round facility for world-class science and technology in Canada’s Arctic. The Station will include research labs, centres for technology development, a knowledge sharing centre, and facilities for teaching, training, and community engagement.

Today in the House of Commons, the Government of Canada introduced the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act to establish the governance structure for a new, world-class science and technology research facility.

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) will be merged with the Canadian Polar Commission (CPC) to create one larger, stronger research hub for scientific research in Canada’s North – strengthening Canada’s position as a world leader in cutting-edge research in the Arctic. CHARS will build on CPC’s existing mandate and its efforts to bring together industry, academic, Aboriginal, northern governments, and international stakeholders and leverage their expertise, experience, and resources.

CHARS will not only promote Canadian sovereignty and stewardship of Canada’s Arctic lands, waters and resources, but it will also support the local economy by generating employment and service contracts in the region. Through its research, capacity building and outreach activities, CHARS will provide Northerners with the skills and job experience they need to better participate in the labour force.

The proposed legislation is yet another significant step towards the opening of CHARS by 2017.

Quick facts

  • First announced in 2007 as a key component of Canada's Northern Strategy, CHARS will be operational in 2017.
  • The CHARS mandate is 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.
  • CHARS scientists will undertake, support, and promote science and technology research focused on four priority areas: resource development; exercising sovereignty; environmental stewardship and climate change; and strong and healthy communities.
  • On August 23, 2012, the Prime Minister announced support for the construction, equipment, and fit-up of CHARS, as well as for the CHARS' Science and Technology Program.  The Prime Minister also announced support as of 2018-19 and beyond for the on-going programs and operations of the station.
  • On August 23, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper participated in a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the construction phase of CHARS, which is expected to take three years. The steel structure for one of the first buildings on the CHARS campus has already been erected. Work will continue in Cambridge Bay throughout the winter.
  • Science and Technology research undertaken at CHARS will allow people to better understand and protect the northern environment and contribute to the development and diversification of northern economies.


"Our Government is committed to gaining a deeper understanding of Canada’s North with a view of improving the well-being of Northerners. Once passed, the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act will give Northerners a stronger voice in Arctic science at home and around the world."

- Bernard Valcourt,
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

"The Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act will go a long way in strengthening our research potential and will allow us to better protect the Arctic environment and contribute to economic growth in Northern communities. This legislation is a clear demonstration that our Government is committed to ensuring that communities in Canada’s North are strong, prosperous, and secure."

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

"The Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) is a key element of Canada’s Northern Strategy, which recognizes that sound decision-making requires world-class Arctic science and technology in Canada’s Arctic."

- Dr. Martin Raillard,
Chief Scientist of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station

"The Canadian Polar Commission has been very successful in raising awareness in Canada and around the world of the opportunities to create the new knowledge that Northerners need to prosper in our changing world, and is looking forward to join forces with CHARS to create an even stronger new organization."

- Nellie Cournoyea,
Vice-Chairperson of the Canadian Polar Commission and Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Associated links


Erica Meekes
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

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