CAMBRIDGE BAY, NU, Aug. 21, 2019 – New knowledge of the Arctic is vital to addressing the unique challenges of climate change in Canada’s North and strengthening the resilience of northern communities. Science and Indigenous knowledge working together is key to developing the evidence-based policy that will help enable Northerners and all Canadians adapt to today’s conditions and plan for the future.
Today, residents of the Arctic community of Cambridge Bay; Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; the Honourable Jeannie Ehaloak, member of the Executive Council of Nunavut and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Cambridge Bay; Her Worship, Pamela Gross, Mayor of Cambridge Bay; and David J. Scott, President and Chief Executive Officer for Polar Knowledge Canada, together marked the official opening of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus. The new facility is designed to facilitate inclusive collaboration between scientists and Indigenous knowledge holders.
With state-of-the-art features that enable Canadian and international researchers to perform in-depth scientific analysis without leaving the Arctic, and its welcoming spaces for discussions and knowledge exchange, the CHARS campus symbolizes a new chapter in Canada’s polar leadership.
The CHARS campus, which further enhances Canada’s pan-northern network of research facilities, is integrated into the community of Cambridge Bay and was developed in close consultation with residents. Inuit Knowledge informed its design, its architecture incorporates many references to Inuit culture, and Inuit art is a prominent feature of the Main Research Building.
As a place where Indigenous Knowledge is recognized as being fundamentally important to our understanding of the Arctic, the CHARS campus offers a rich, collaborative environment for the creation of new knowledge that is needed to address the issues that Northerners and Canadians have identified as important in the context of a rapidly changing Arctic.
“Together, Arctic science and Indigenous Knowledge help us better understand the unique challenges presented by the Arctic environment and climate change. The Canadian High Arctic Research Station will strengthen Canada’s leadership in Arctic science, research and innovation and respect in Indigenous knowledge. It will be a focal point for research, will help foster knowledge-sharing and build partnerships across the North, and will strengthen innovation and economic growth in the North.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“The Canadian High Arctic Research Station provides scientists from across Canada and around the world with a world-class Arctic research facility to conduct cutting edge Arctic research year-round in Canada’s Arctic, in collaboration with local Indigenous people. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the work of our outstanding scientists and researchers in all fields.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade
“The Canadian High Arctic Research Station is now officially open to Arctic scientists from across Canada and around the world, and to the community of Cambridge Bay. I’m extremely proud of the historic opening of this facility, in the heart of the North, that will host a wide range of vitally important research activities.”
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
“The CHARS is a hub for research for Arctic scientists from across Canada and around the world, and is also open to the community of Cambridge Bay. I’m extremely proud of the historic opening of this facility, in the heart of the North, that will host a wide range of vitally important research activities.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
“This innovative new facility offers tremendous opportunity for new collaborations that will expand the reach of Canadian polar research. We’ve had a lot of interest from organizations from across Canada and around the world who are excited about the opportunities the CHARS campus offers. The campus also provides a fantastic opportunity to give young northerners a chance to explore science—to see what science looks like as a career, here in the Arctic. Polar research directly affects Northerners, and it makes sense that they’re part of it, from the ground up. The opening today brings us closer to a future where more Northerners are involved in all aspects of research.”
David J. Scott
President and Chief Executive Officer, Polar Knowledge Canada
The CHARS campus, operated by Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR), is designed and built to optimize innovation in Arctic science and technology, to welcome visitors, and to provide local, regional, national and international researchers with the logistical support and technical services they need to create new knowledge.
The CHARS campus is becoming a world-class hub for innovative science and technology in Canada’s North and is part of the network of national and international research infrastructure across the circumpolar North.
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, working closely with Public Services and Procurement Canada, led the design and construction stages of the CHARS campus.
Public Services and Procurement Canada is providing project management and procurement services for the design and construction of the CHARS campus, the headquarters for POLAR. LEED© Gold Certification is being pursued for the project.
Shared Services Canada (SSC) outfitted this cutting-edge research campus with the best connectivity, communication and collaboration technologies, including strong networks, modern satellite communications, high-speed Wi-Fi, and reliable telephony and videoconferencing. SSC looks forward to a continued partnership with POLAR to maintain and modernize the campus IT infrastructure.
The official opening of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, opens a new chapter in Canada’s polar research leadership
The Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus is a world-class Arctic research facility that brings an enhanced level of research and analytical capability to Canada’s North. The state-of-the-art research labs and technological facilities will provide the necessary space, equipment and analytical capability for researchers and visiting scientists to conduct science in the North.
The CHARS campus consists of the three main components:
Main Research Building: This building includes research labs, centres for technology development and knowledge sharing, office space, and spaces for teaching, training, and community engagement.
Field and Maintenance Building: This building serves as a technical support building and includes spaces such as a maintenance garage and equipment storage.
On-campus accommodations: Two triplex accommodation buildings are available to accommodate approximately 45 visiting scientists and researchers.
The CHARS campus project is a $204 million investment from the Government of Canada for the architectural design, construction, equipment, and furniture for the campus. In addition, there was an investment of $46 million for the implementation of the initial 5-year Science and Technology Program.
Planning and construction
Extensive consultations and discussions with the community of Cambridge Bay began in 2010, and continued throughout construction, which began in 2014.
The design of the CHARS campus was inspired by consultations with Hamlet Council members, the local CHARS Steering Committee, elders, youth and others, and input from Indigenous, academic, industry, territorial and government stakeholders from across the North, as well as the results of an assessment of the scientific requirements for the facility.
The architecture incorporates many references to Inuit culture including features inspired by the Inuit snowhouse (iglu), and by the historical use of natural copper by the Inuit of western Nunavut to make tools. Inuit art is a prominent feature of its interior, and the facility includes areas available for public use and community events.
This state-of-the-art facility will optimize innovation in arctic science and technology, welcome visitors, and provide researchers with the accommodation and technical services they need. The campus can support a wide range of research needs – from ecosystem monitoring, to DNA analysis – and where Indigenous Knowledge is recognized as fundamentally important to the creation of new knowledge.
The CHARS campus is designed for Gold-level certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. LEED-inspired features include such elements as solar panels to facilitate the testing of photovoltaics in the Arctic, low-flow plumbing fixtures, innovative wastewater and waste management, light pollution reduction, energy conservation technology, and other features.
Construction of the CHARS campus provided:
Almost 246,000 hours of Inuit employment, valued at over $8 million;
Skills development activities worth more than $800,000; and
Over $65 million in construction contracts to firms registered with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
POLAR’s Inuit Employment Plan directs its staffing and capacity building efforts to increase representation of Nunavut Inuit across all job groups and levels, as required by Article 23 of the Nunavut Agreement. Inuit staff are currently involved in all of POLAR’s functions such as: field operations, research, administration, partnerships, and knowledge management and engagement.
Polar Knowledge Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/polar-knowledge.html
Canadian High Arctic Research Station: https://www.canada.ca/en/polar-knowledge/CHARScampus.html
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada – Northern Affairs: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100035280/1529103307517
Public Service and Procurement Canada: https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/comm/index-eng.html
Shared Services Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/shared-services.html
Providing IT to the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Campus: https://www.canada.ca/en/shared-services/campaigns/stories/providing-it-canadian-high-arctic-research-station-campus.html
For further information: media may contact: Matthew Dillon-Leitch, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-934-2302, RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca; Media Relations, Polar Knowledge Canada, 613-402-4897, firstname.lastname@example.org; Media Relations, Public Services and Procurement Canada, 819-420-5501, email@example.com; Media Relations, Shared Services Canada, 613-670-1626, Ssc.media-medias.SPC@canada.ca