News Release

The Special Senate Committee on the Arctic

New Senate committee looks to the future of the Arctic

May 7, 2018

Ottawa – A new Senate committee wants to support sustainable development in Canada’s Arctic to benefit its communities and without compromising its unique geographic and ecological characteristics.

The Special Senate Committee on the Arctic has been formed as the federal government maps out a long-term vision for Canada’s North. Committee members’ work will help to guide government policy and decision-making as a new Arctic Policy Framework is developed, which will become its long-term vision for the Arctic until 2030.

The committee will be hearing from northerners to identify key priorities for the region, along the six themes identified by the federal government, which include: Arctic peoples and communities, economic development, infrastructure, protecting the environment and biodiversity, Arctic science and Indigenous knowledge, and the Arctic in a global context.  The first study will begin with a focus on infrastructure concerns and how these relate to economic development.

The Arctic committee has a mandate to consider the significant and rapid changes to the Arctic, and their effects on the region’s inhabitants. The committee is planning fact-finding missions to Arctic communities to hear directly from the people whose lives will be affected by the government’s planned framework.

The Senate authorized the committee to study the region’s issues until December 2018. The committee plans to work expeditiously to complement the government’s work in developing a long-term vision for the Canadian Arctic.

Quick Facts

  • Unlike a standing Senate committee, a special Senate committee exists for only a limited time.
  • The Special Senate Committee on the Arctic, in its study, will use the same parameters that the federal government is using to develop Canada’s Arctic Policy Framework. It will apply to Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the Nunatsiavut region in Labrador, the territory of Nunavik in northern Quebec, and northern Manitoba, including Churchill.


“Northerners face unique challenges every day. We hope that this committee will serve as a vehicle to address these complex issues and to propose a way forward. Our committee’s time is limited, which, in a way, reflects the urgency Canada faces in addressing the issues facing the Arctic.”

- Senator Dennis Patterson, Chair of the committee

“Time is of the essence for Canada’s Arctic. It is going through an unprecedented transformation as a result of climate change and pressure to extract its immeasurable natural resources. This is all happening at a time that the once-remote region is suddenly becoming more accessible.”

- Senator Patricia Bovey, Deputy Chair of the committee

Associated Links

  • Visit the committee’s homepage.
  • Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #ARCT.
  • Sign up for the Senate’s eNewsletter.

For more information, please contact:

Sonia Noreau
Public Relations Officer
Communications Directorate
Senate of Canada
613-614-1180 |