Canada stands at the forefront of the changing Arctic environment, with major territorial claims in the area. It also has large populations situated within its Arctic region and an increased international trade and military presence. Several key motivators have influenced Canadian Arctic policy, including climate change, increased foreign presence and international strategic pressure.
While Canada’s budget and resources create the realistic probability of hampering strategic initiatives, Canada will seek to expand its influence. It will seek to secure its Arctic region, expand its international scope, and integrate native groups into Canadian Arctic policy.
Key Judgement 1
Canada is highly likely to expand its economic and strategic influence in and around its Arctic region.
- With arctic ice melting faster than predicted estimates and arctic temperatures rising twice as fast as global averages, Canada will very likely be forced to expand its coverage of new shipping lanes in the North West Passage and combat expanded foreign state presence in the region.
- Infrastructure to support both civilian and military assets in the arctic region is planned to begin via the Canadian Northern Corridor, which will require accompanying security expansion.
- Co-redevelopment of the aging North Warning System with the US will facilitate expanded infrastructure and personnel in the Arctic. Updated systems will aim to begin establishing full domain awareness beyond Canada’s domestic territory.
- Governmental Arctic reports indicate a plan to expand icebreaker fleets, corridor mapping, search and rescue capabilities and fighter staging grounds. Additional training of Canadian Rangers in drone capabilities indicates intention for an expanded military footprint within Canadian Arctic policy.
- Defense budgets can potentially limit these pursuits, as Canadian defense budgets have only changed marginally and are still below NATO standards.
Key Judgement 2
Canada is highly likely to foster international dialogue and cooperation with other Arctic Council and NATO countries for Arctic stability.
- Canadian Arctic policy will seek cooperation with NATO, the Arctic Council and observer states. Despite potential for increased security and civilian oversight, these plans are likely to go ahead.
- Canada will attempt to pursue closer dialogue with China, an Arctic observer state. This is done to understand Chinese intentions in the region as it increases its presence.
- Canada is likely to pursue bi-lateral cooperation with the UK, given the UK’s substantial naval capability and desire to form closer defense partnerships with non-EU nations.
Key Judgement 3
Canada is almost certain to continue to consult with and tightly integrate native peoples into Canadian Arctic policy.
- As it expands its coverage of the Arctic region, Canada will involve First Nation peoples at every level given their large presence in the region.
- Usage of divisions such as the Canadian Rangers and Junior Rangers, both Inuit and First Nation majority brigades, will be integral in integration of native peoples into Canadian Arctic policy.
- Further integration of native peoples is planned, with specific focus on the Coast guard and greater Coast Guard presence in the Arctic.
Intelligence cutoff date: 13th of December, 2021