Canada and the Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum that works to promote the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development in the Arctic region. The Council has successfully developed a common agenda among Arctic states and Indigenous Permanent Participants. Decisions are taken based on the consensus of members. The Council serves as a foundation for strong, responsible and cooperative governance of the region.

Affiliate institutions

The Arctic Council comprises the eight Arctic States: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States.

A unique feature of the Arctic Council is the involvement of six international Indigenous peoples’ organizations as Permanent Participants:

Our history with the Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is the leading multilateral forum through which Canada advances its interests internationally. It was established in Ottawa in 1996 with the Ottawa Declaration. Canada was the first Chair of the Arctic Council from 1996 to 1998, and again from 2013-2015. The Chair of the Council rotates among the member countries every two years.

Through the Canadian International Arctic Fund we provide funding to the Canadian Permanent Participants (Arctic Athabaskan Council; Inuit Circumpolar Council; and Gwich’in Council International) so that they may participate in Arctic Council activities.

The work of the Arctic Council is supervised and directed by ministers of the Arctic member states, who are supported by the Senior Arctic Officials.

Canada actively participates in the work of the Arctic Council. This work is carried out in six expert working groups:

Canada is also represented on Task Forces – areas of work set out by the Arctic Council Chairmanship.

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