Minister Vandal, partners to the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework meet to discuss priorities for the North and Arctic
OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 24, 2020
OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 24, 2020 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is working in partnership with the people of the North and Arctic to develop long-term opportunities that protect Canada's rich natural environment, build healthier communities, respect the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples, and support a sustainable and dynamic economy across the North.
Today, Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, met virtually with Indigenous, territorial and provincial partners to the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework (the Framework) to determine key immediate priorities and to discuss national and regional governance approaches going forward.
Since the Framework was launched in September 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges especially in Arctic and Northern communities. Today's meeting provided an important platform for partners to identify ongoing issues related to COVID-19, including how to address the cost of goods, continuation of supply chains, health supports; housing and infrastructure, education, and connectivity.
Through Budget 2019, Canada made an initial investment of over $700 million towards Framework implementation. Framework partners are informing targeted federal investments that meet the needs of Northerners and supporting Indigenous community-based solutions to prevent, prepare and respond to the spread of COVID-19.
Under the Framework, progress has also been made on the establishment of a Task Force on Post-Secondary Education in the North, which was launched in October 2020. The Task Force will lead consultations with Northerners and develop a set of recommendations on post-secondary education in the North by Winter 2021.
Through the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework Canada will continue to work with our territorial, provincial and Indigenous partners to Build Back Better in a way that supports northern economies, as well as the social and political self-determination that underpins successful and long-lasting regional development.
These and other initiatives will continue to roll out in support of key priorities across Arctic and Northern regions thanks to collaboration with partners to the Framework and through the national and regional governance mechanisms discussed today.
"Today we re-affirm our commitment to working together toward a shared vision of the future where northern and Arctic people are thriving, strong and safe. The Arctic and Northern Policy Framework gives us a roadmap to achieve this vision, and I look forward to building on what we have achieved together over the past year to better align Canada's national and international policy objectives with the priorities of Northerners."
The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs
The Government of Canada launched Canada's Arctic and Northern Policy Framework on September 10, 2019. The Framework includes a co-developed policy statement and an International chapter, as well as a federally-developed Safety, Security, and Defence chapter. An Inuit Nunangat chapter, a Pan-Territorial chapter, and chapters developed by the governments of Northwest Territories and Nunavut, were released on the same day and outline the priorities of those co-development partners.
This collaborative work supports the Government's commitment to renewing Inuit-to-Crown, nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationships and ensuring that Northerners' needs are recognized, respected, and reflected.
Budget 2019 proposed a number of new measures totaling more than $700 million to support the Framework and complement existing efforts to strengthen Arctic and northern communities.
This includes new funding to diversify post-secondary educational options in the territories, enhance infrastructure resources to connect Northern and remote communities and support clean energy production, increase economic development programming, enable critical Arctic research, and enhance Canada's global Arctic leadership.
The September 23, 2020 Speech From the Throne referenced the intention to direct Arctic and northern investments towards areas aligned with the Framework, including toward infrastructure in Indigenous communities (public transit, energy efficient retrofits, clean energy, rural broadband, affordable housing, and regional routes for airlines).
The establishment of the Post-Secondary Education Task Force is a key priority for the Government of Canada as identified in the mandate letter for the Minister of Northern Affairs, from the Prime Minister. Nominations for the Task Force were put forward by Northern governments, Indigenous organizations and co-development partners to the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework.
The National Trade Corridors Fund is investing $2.3 billion over 11 years to strengthen the efficiency and resilience of Canada's transportation infrastructure, including $800 million in dedicated funding for Arctic and northern regions.
In April 2020, the Government of Canada announced $130 million in support for the North and Arctic for health supports, Nutrition North Canada, Harvesters Support Grant, support for businesses and maintaining essential airline services through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, $685 million has also been announced through the Indigenous Community Support Fund, which helps Indigenous communities and organizations prevent, prepare and respond to COVID-19.
Additional COVID-19 pandemic support measures include funding through the Safe Restart Agreement, Safe Return to Schools and funding to maintain airline services.
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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada