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Sustainable fisheries, marine safety, and protection of the marine environment are of critical importance to Arctic communities. In 2018, Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced the creation of stand-alone Arctic Regions to advance reconciliation, partnerships and collaboration with Inuit, First Nation and Métis Nation organizations and governments, provinces and territories and other partners.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced an important milestone: the Department’s Arctic Regions’ boundary. DFO and Coast Guard Arctic Regions developed these regions in partnership with the people they serve; this important decision will lead to stronger programs and services to better meet the unique needs of our Arctic communities.

Reconciliation and collaboration are key Government of Canada priorities, which is why Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard’s Regions have engaged extensively across the Arctic with Inuit, First Nations, and Métis Nation organizations and governments; provincial and territorial governments; industry; academia; other federal departments; and environmental non-governmental organizations. This collaborative engagement has served to inform the development and boundary of the new Regions, ensuring all rights holders can move forward together.

The Arctic Regions of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard consist of the Yukon North Slope, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, Hudson Bay and James Bay. This boundary includes all of Inuit Nunangat, which was an important principle identified in our engagement with partners.

A number of important initiatives are already in place in the Arctic Regions, including the hiring of community engagement coordinators (CECs) working directly with communities and the public to support the implementation of the Arctic Regions. These CECs are acting as a liaison between communities and the Department and they are helping us develop stronger collaborative relationships. These employees are spread out across the Arctic Regions. The Regions have also dedicated resources to Arctic employment and the equitable application of Indigenous Knowledge.

These initiatives respond to the needs and priorities identified by partners during our engagements.  As we move forward, we are committed to ensuring Inuit, First Nations and Métis peoples remain central to decision-making and policy building.

“The Arctic is a unique place and the people who call it home deserve the appropriate attention from the Government of Canada, because when we work in partnership we deliver better results. Our oceans are a precious resource, and I look forward to having conversations with Northerners about Canada’s blue economy, to hear your ideas about opportunities and challenges. Together we will also continue improving marine safety and environmental response and work to protect 25% of the ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030. This work cannot be completed without the participation from Northerners, Inuit, First Nation, and Métis peoples, and we remain committed to ensuring decisions for the Arctic are being made in the Arctic.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard 

“I am pleased to support today’s announcement of the boundary of the new Arctic Regions within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canadian Coast Guard. The boundary’s inclusion of all four regions of Inuit Nunangat formalizes and builds on the Government of Canada’s positive approach to recognizing Inuit self-determination.”

Natan Obed, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

“The recreation and development of the Arctic region to include Treaty 11 and Treaty 8 lands provides Dene not only the opportunity to jointly work with the DFO/CCG to protect Dene Treaty fishing rights and to enhance Dene water safety but to work with our Indigenous partners the Inuvialuit, Métis, Inuit, and Cree to ensure our rights are protected in the Indigenous dominated Arctic region.”

National Chief Norman Yakeleya, Dene Nation

“On behalf of Métis Nation citizens across the Homeland, I would like to thank Canada for consulting with the Métis Government in Manitoba on the creation of the new stand-alone Arctic Region. The Manitoba Metis Federation continues to invest in northern economic opportunities to support the needs of our Métis citizens living, working and harvesting in remote communities. Traditionally, Métis people have always had a presence in the north. A new Arctic Region will aid in the improvement of services and programs our citizens rely on, provide capacity within our Metis Government, and ensure Métis Nation decision making power and perspectives are at the forefront of the Arctic Region.”

David Chartrand LL.D (hon.), O.M., President, Manitoba Metis Federation

“Nih-Gee-mah-gunn in my Cree language means, “My Paddling Partner”, partnership, collaboration, helps to pave a way to success, in turn leads to many friendships. Here in our Emergency Management Services of Mushkegowuk Council were open to new opportunities with the DFO & Canadian Coast Guard Regions; in turn benefiting those that live and rely on the emergency services in north of Hudson & James Bay. “Chance Favours the Prepared Mind”.