Canadian Arctic and Northern Challenge Program


Photo: Acacia Johnson for NPR

The Arctic and Northern Challenge program aims to address pressing issues impacting the quality of life of Northern peoples.

By providing both research funding and scientific expertise, the daily lives of Arctic and Northern peoples will be improved through applied technology and innovation.

According to the program plan, Canadian and international partners from Northern communities, academia, industry, government and other interested stakeholders will examine 4 research themes and 2 cross-cutting areas.

The program’s 4 research themes are housing, health, food, and water. Feedback from Northern peoples was also taken into account when selecting research themes.

Under the Housing theme, applied research is conducted and/or technology developed and applied to improve the adequacy (i.e., housing conditions do not require any major repairs), suitability (i.e., there are enough bedrooms for the size and makeup of resident households) and affordability (i.e., less than 30% of before-tax income is being spent on housing costs) of Arctic and Northern homes.

Another theme is Health. Under this theme, applied research is conducted and/or technologies are developed and applied to improve the accessibility, comprehensiveness and appropriateness of Arctic and Northern health resources.

Under the Food theme, applied research is conducted and/or technologies developed and applied to improve the accessibility, availability and quality of Arctic and Northern food resources. In an Arctic and Northern context, this includes access to traditional or country foods, which remain an important source of nutrition and energy intake for Northern communities, especially for Indigenous populations.

The 4th theme of the program is Water. This theme includes applied research and/or technology development and application aimed at improving the availability, accessibility and quality of Arctic and Northern water resources. The social, economic, cultural and spiritual well-being of Arctic and Northern communities is dependent upon water security.

The program also includes two cross-cutting themes such as Indigenous Knowledge and Capacity Building. Research projects will:

  • demonstrate how they will aim to increase Northern and Indigenous R&D capacity (individual, organisational and community), to address pressing issues confronting Northerners;
  • show how they will braid Indigenous Knowledge with the study design, data collection, project implementation, training and/or technology advancement, with at least one Indigenous Knowledge holder involved in the project.

As one of the program’s outcomes, Arctic and Northern peoples will participate in the design, governance, delivery and dissemination of applied research to address challenges identified by Northerners. Besides, the program will increase Northern R&D capacity to solve pressing issues confronting Northerners.

Source: Government of Canada