Canada’s prime minister announces launch of Arctic research program

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds to questions after making an announcement at the Yukon college in Whitehorse, Thursday August 21, 2014. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press)
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds to questions after making an announcement at the Yukon college in Whitehorse, Thursday August 21, 2014. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press)
Canada’s prime minster marked the first day of his annual northern tour with the announcement of the National Research Council (NRC) Arctic Program.

The research focus will be on technology that will ‘improve the lives of northeners’  and aid economic development in Canada’s northern regions.

“The Government of Canada is committed to harnessing science, technology and research to further develop Canada’s North and improve the lives of Northerners,” Harper said in a news release on Thursday. ” The new National Research Council Arctic Program will help improve housing, transport and resource development.”

Arctic Program research areas
  • Increasing the safety of resource development in ice-covered waters by reducing the uncertainty in ice loads, and increasing the reliability of ice management, as well as enabling the effective detection and remediation of oil under ice
  • Developing and implementing technologies that will reduce the number of incidents and vessel structural damage
  • Increasing the number of days of operational use of ice roads; Increasing the survivability rates in lifeboats
  • Increasing the performance of immersion suits in a cold and harsh ocean environment
  • Reducing catastrophic failures in urban infrastructure, and increasing energy efficiency and durability of northern housing, thereby decreasing the cost of maintenance and repairs

Harper is currently on a six-day tour of Canada’s North ending on August 26th.

Thursday’s announcement was made at the Yukon Cold Climate Innovation Centre, within the Yukon Research Centre of Excellence at Yukon College in northwestern Canada.

Upcoming stops on the prime minister’s tour include Canada’s Northwest Territories and Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian web documentary highlights Arctic science, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland inaugurates radio telescope in Arctic, Yle News

Greenland: Natural forces team up with human-caused warming to bake Greenland/Canadian Arctic:study, Alaska Dispatch

Sweden: Swedish study maps climate’s affect on reindeer migration, Radio Sweden

United States:  NASA reconnaissance aircraft begins Arctic science flights out of Alaska, Alaska Dispatch

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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