Canadian Polar Commission Legacy

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Polar Knowledge Canada builds on the legacy of federal government action on the need for better knowledge of the North. Government-commissioned studies nearly 30 years ago led to the establishment of the Canadian Polar Commission in 1991 to strengthen Canada’s ability to meet its polar knowledge needs. Issues recognized at the time included Arctic air pollution, climate change, and contaminants in the food chain, issues which are even more relevant today. The current Northern Strategy continues to address these issues in a broadened context.

The Canadian Polar Commission served Canadians by monitoring, promoting, and disseminating knowledge of the polar regions; contributing to public awareness of the importance of polar science to Canada; enhancing Canada's international profile as a circumpolar nation; and recommending polar science policy direction to government. Among its notable accomplishments are its successful promotion of international polar science coordination and cooperation through the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and the International Committee on Arctic Research; its contribution to the successful effort to include the human dimension of polar science as a theme of International Polar Year 2007-2008; its 2008 evaluation of northern research infrastructure (Beacons of the North) which influenced the eventual decision of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to support the renovation and upgrading of many of the facilities (the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund), and its reports on the State of Northern Knowledge (2014) and the State of Environmental Monitoring in Northern Canada (2015). Polar Knowledge Canada will build upon and further develop the Canadian Polar Commission’s legacy of polar knowledge engagement, coordination, and mobilization.