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October 3, 2017 – Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Natan Obed agreed to a joint workplan, consistent with the renewed spirit of reconciliation evidenced by the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee process. Minister McKenna and President Obed discussed the importance of implementing Inuit land-claim agreements and taking coordinated action at the regional, national, and international level to ensure Inuit Nunangat is sustainable and resilient as climate change threatens Inuit communities.

Together, they committed to a joint workplan to advance shared priorities on environmental issues between Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Environment and Climate Change Canada, while respecting and supporting the diverse needs and interests that exist across Inuit Nunangat – our Inuit lands and waters.

The Minister and the President agreed on the shared priorities of

  • Jointly implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change throughout Inuit Nunangat
  • defining Inuit involvement in Indigenous guardians programming
  • exploring new solutions – like Indigenous protected areas – in order to maintain healthy oceans and healthy coastal communities
  • coordinating an approach in reviewing environmental-assessment processes
  • providing collaboration and support on managing wildlife issues
  • ensuring meaningful and effective engagement of Inuit at the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 23

The voices of Inuit will be critical in implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and in meeting our Canadian Biodiversity targets. In keeping with the commitment made in December 2016 by Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obed, the Minister and the President confirmed that they will soon be establishing the Government of Canada-Inuit Table on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The table will allow the federal government to collaborate with Inuit on shared priorities such as finding solutions to help Inuit communities reduce their reliance on diesel by moving to cleaner, more sustainable solutions; addressing the impact of pricing carbon pollution on Inuit communities, and identifying partnership opportunities related to Inuit Priorities for Canada’s Climate Strategy.

This joint work plan provides a model on how to pursue joint priorities with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. The Minister and the President will meet quarterly to discuss progress on advancing these shared priorities.

“From thawing permafrost to increasing wildfires, the impact of climate change is clear. This reality is especially clear for Inuit Nunangat, which is warming at a greater rate than the rest of the planet. Temperatures are warmer. Ice is thinner. It forms later and melts sooner. Permafrost is disappearing. Animals are changing their habits. We also recognize that Inuit communities face unique circumstances: these include high costs of living and energy. That’s why our government is committed to taking action on environmental issues and climate change and working with Inuit communities to help them adapt to the worst impacts they are already seeing.‎‎ I am pleased that today we have enhanced our collaboration with President Obed and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami on environmental issues, and I am committed to working with Inuit in a way that reflects Inuit interests, needs, perspectives, and priorities.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Inuit Nunangat, our Inuit lands and waters, spans 35 percent of Canada’s land mass and 50 percent of Canada’s coastline. Establishing this first joint work plan is part of an overall direction that recognizes the importance of an Inuit Nunangat policy space driven by Inuit priorities. This approach strengthens Inuit self-determination and advances reconciliation by ensuring that federal policies and funding allocations recognize Inuit as one people with one culture, who have diverse arrangements for governance. I have called on the federal government to establish departmental work plans with Inuit; I am pleased to see Environment and Climate Change Canada become the first federal department to engage with ITK in this practical approach.”

– Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Quick Facts

  • The Arctic is the fastest-warming place on earth, with the average temperature increasing by about 3.5 °C since the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Canada and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami recognize that Inuit and Inuit Nunangat communities are among the most vulnerable to climate change. Inuit Nunangat is of significant importance in our national response to climate change.
  • Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is the national voice for CanadianInuit.
  • The Government of Canada-Inuit Table on Clean Growth and Climate Change will address the realities and considerations of Inuit and will ensure inclusive and meaningful engagement to inform action on the implementation of the framework and broader climate change and clean-growth priorities.

Media Enquiries

Patricia D’Souza
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
[email protected]
613-238-8181 (office)
613-292-4482 (cell)

Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
[email protected]

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free)
[email protected]