Northerners are on the frontlines in Canada’s efforts to fight climate change. The Government of Canada is taking important steps to help protect northern communities by working in collaboration with territorial, Indigenous, and community partners to monitor and manage the impacts of climate change in the North and Arctic.
In Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, sea ice is melting at an alarming rate resulting in an eroding shoreline. This is threatening homes and other vital infrastructure. The community has been working to protect residents and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change despite the challenges of COVID-19. The Government of Canada continues to work with Government of the Northwest Territories, Indigenous partners such as the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, and Indigenous and northern communities. In Tuktoyaktuk, Elders, youth, scientists and others are documenting changes to identify solutions to address the pressing need to adapt to the impacts of climate change and increase community resiliency.
Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, announced that Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Climate Change Programs are providing more than $5.5 million in support of climate change adaptation and clean energy initiatives in the community of Tuktoyaktuk. $3.6 million is specifically going toward the hamlet and the Government of Northwest Territories in support of Tuktoyaktuk’s coastal erosion mitigation efforts, including the relocation of residents to a safer and longer-term living area and the final structural design of measures to protect the shoreline.
Other climate change related projects funded in the community include the use of SmartICE monitoring technology to provide data-driven insights into sea-ice thickness and local ice conditions in near real-time, the production of a youth documentary on climate change impacts, the development of a locally-managed climate monitoring program, and the addition of more solar power on buildings to further help the community reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
Since CIRNAC’s Climate Change Programs were introduced in 2016-2017, the Government of Canada has supported 579 distinct projects with investments of more than $105 million across the North.
“Climate change continues to affect our daily lives and our environment and Northerners are seeing the effects, first-hand, in the melting sea ice, coastal erosion, and record high temperatures. By working directly with territorial, Indigenous, and community partners, the Government of Canada is supporting community resilience and leadership to face the dramatic challenge of climate change. Tuktoyaktuk continues to show unity and determination to find solutions. The community is a leader in managing coastal erosion and is a source of knowledge that they can share with other northern communities facing similar climate change challenges. The Government of Canada remains a strong supporter of these locally-led efforts and will continue to be there as they work to protect and preserve their community for future generations.”
The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs
“I have seen the impact coastal erosion is having in Tuktoyaktuk and appreciate the deep concern the Inuit and all northern Canadians have about their future in a world of climate change. Through the Investing in Canada plan, our government is supporting hundreds of local solutions to protect Canadians from the impacts of climate change and improve quality of life for our children and future generations. Investments in resilient infrastructure like the climate change adaptation and clean energy initiatives announced today will help to protect and preserve northern communities now and into the future.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, P.C., M.P.
Minister Infrastructure and Communities
“Climate change is a reality in the North that requires joint action and innovative solutions from all levels of government so we can have resilient, sustainable communities for our people. The Government of the Northwest Territories has been working with the community of Tuktoyaktuk to help creatively solve some of the difficult challenges facing them, and we appreciate the support of the Government of Canada to help us implement some solutions. By working together at the local, territorial and federal level, we are addressing the coastal erosion issues and continue to work as partners to address the community’s needs.”
The Honourable Caroline Cochrane,
Premier of the Northwest Territories
“Since the 1970’s, the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk has witnessed the rapid deterioration of our peninsula which has threatened our homes and our livelihoods. As a community, we decided to tackle the problem head on and together we implemented a suite of adaptation measures aimed at protecting our community while preserving Inuvialuit culture, and traditions essential for a successful and sustainable future. Thanks to our residents, federal, territorial and industry partners, we are now in a position to share our knowledge and experiences with other communities threatened by critical coastal erosion due to climate change.”
His Worship, Mayor Erwin Elias
Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories
Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program has contributed $4.5 million toward protecting Tuktoyaktuk’s shoreline
Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program has contributed $517,720 to develop a locally-managed program to monitor climate change impacts in Tuktoyaktuk
Northern REACHE Program is providing $475,000 over two years to support the installation of 51 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic systems on four hamlet buildings
These three funding programs fall under the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities