Shared Arctic Leadership Model Engagement 2016: Discussion guide

Table of contents


The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, has appointed Mary Simon as the Minister's Special Representative for Arctic Leadership. Ms. Simon will lead engagement and develop advice and recommendations on the Government of Canada's approach to a new policy vision for a Shared Arctic Leadership Model, including consideration of Arctic conservation goals.

In her own words: Message from the Minister's Special Representative

I am honoured, and deeply motivated to serve as the Minister's Special Representative for Arctic Leadership. I come from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik and was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik (northern Quebec). Over the past four decades I have made it my life's work to try to improve the socio-economic, health and educational conditions facing Inuit in Canada and internationally. Inuit alongside all Indigenous peoples of Canada have suffered from colonialism and its lasting impacts.

I see my role as the Minister's Special Representative for Arctic Leadership as a way to provide advice on how to continue advancing a northern Canadian society that:

All Canadians deserve healthy communities where our youth represent the best that is yet to come. In the North, this means ensuring that the unique culture, language, and way of life of all people is protected and empowered. This vision can only be realized if you help me by being open and honest as I fulfill my mandate.


Mary Simon


On March 10, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Barack Obama issued a Joint Statement on Environment, Climate Change and Arctic Leadership.

Through the Joint Statement, the leaders committed to developing a Shared Arctic Leadership Model, with both Canada and the United States working directly with Indigenous partners, state, territorial and provincial governments to establish new ambitious conservation goals for the Arctic based on the best available science and knowledge, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.

The Government of Canada has also committed to renewing Arctic policies and strategies in collaboration with Northern stakeholders.

As we work toward the above commitments, engagements will reflect the government's commitment to a renewed Crown-Inuit and Nation-to-Nation relationship, and will seek to establish a vision of a sustainable Arctic region, encouraging prosperity and self-sufficiency of Arctic communities and individuals. Rooted in engagement with Arctic partners, the leadership model will be informed by the best available evidence, including scientific, traditional and local knowledge.

Areas for discussion

Discussion will centre on six themes:

1. Vision for a sustainable Arctic

  • What are your hopes for the Arctic in the next 5, 10 and 20 years?
  • Can made-in-the-North conservation efforts help implement moderntreaties? Strengthen Arctic communities and governance? Enhance self-determination? Protect significant areas and species? Positively affect future economic developments? If so, how?

2. Goals for Arctic conservation

  • How can conservation meaningfully benefit Indigenous people?
  • What are the key principles and practices Canada should consider when advancing Arctic conservation both domestically and/or internationally?
  • What are the best ways to ensure that Arctic renewable and non-renewable natural resources are available to future generations of Canadians and continue to provide food security for northerners?
  • How should a Canadian Arctic conservation goal be linked to international Arctic conservation efforts?

3. Sustainable development

  • What economic sectors are important for supporting a continued quality of life in Arctic communities?
  • What do you feel is needed to help balance conservation with economic development in the North? What examples can you provide of conservation and economic development working in cooperation to benefit northerners?

4. Northern benefits and jobs

  • What does a sustainable economy look like to you?
  • What opportunities for employment and community wellness could be associated with new conservation goals?

5. Implementation of conservation measures, including marine conservation measures, in a manner that is consistent with modern treaties

  • How can rights holders, governments, and other partners better work together to ensure wildlife management and the conservation of natural resources?
  • What is needed to fully implement modern treaties in the marine regions?
  • Can land and marine use planning help to support conservation goals?

6. Potential implementation strategies

  • How can Canada better ensure that scientific, traditional, and local forms of knowledge are effectively captured and included in decision-making regarding the Arctic? 
  • What existing policies, programs, processes or strategies have been effective in conserving and protecting the Arctic, and are there changes that you would recommend?

How to participate

There are three ways to participate:

1. Send a letter to:

Shared Arctic Leadership Model: Engagement 2016
15 Eddy Street, 14E20, 14th floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H4

2. Send an email to:

3. Send a tweet using the hashtag:



Any involvement in public events shall be voluntary. A summary of what you say or write during the engagement process will be used without use of your name or any identifying factors. We are taking notes during the engagement sessions.

Reporting on what we heard

Ms. Simon will prepare a report outlining what was heard during the engagement and provide advice and recommendations. The report will be made available on the Shared Arctic Leadership Model Engagement 2016 webpage early 2017.

Date modified: