Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Indigenous, federal, territorial and provincial partners gathered in Yellowknife today to discuss priorities and next steps in the implementation of Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework (the Framework) at the third annual Arctic and Northern Policy Framework Leadership Committee meeting.
In addition to serving as an opportunity for leaders to discuss the Framework implementation, Arctic and northern defence and security, and critical minerals in the North, today’s meeting also provided an important forum for partners to identify immediate priorities as well as longer-term priorities in areas such as infrastructure and housing, health and wellness support, climate change and education.
The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs; the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources; and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Bryan May, joined other committee members at the meeting, which built on the collaborative outcomes of the previous Leadership Committee meeting in December 2021.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence highlighted the Government of Canada’s commitments to modernize NORAD, conduct a defence policy update, and pursue a distinctions-based, nation-to-nation approach to Indigenous engagement. He underscored how recently announced NORAD investments will enhance the Canadian Armed Forces capabilities to detect, deter and defeat aerospace threats in the Arctic and the North. These investments will also provide new opportunities to deepen National Defence’s northern, territorial, and Indigenous partnerships as we work together to advance shared objectives.
The Minister of Natural Resources provided an update on the ongoing work to develop Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy. The Minister noted that Framework partners’ perspectives, participation and feedback on the Strategy are essential. By increasing the ability of Indigenous peoples to meaningfully participate in resource management and benefit from its development, the Critical Minerals Strategy will advance key priorities of the Framework, including in relation to Indigenous self-determination and economic reconciliation.
The Minister of Northern Affairs also attended a portion of the Northwest Territories Council of Leaders meeting between territorial Indigenous leadership and the Government of the Northwest Territories.
The Arctic and Northern Policy Framework sets out a long-term, strategic vision that guides the Government of Canada’s activities and investments in the Arctic to 2030 and beyond and better aligns Canada’s national and international policy objectives with the priorities of Indigenous Peoples and Arctic and northern residents.
Canada will continue to work with partners across the North and Arctic to ensure that federal priorities, activities and investments in the Arctic continue to align with the priorities and needs of Northerners.