Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links


International Polar Year (IPY) 2007 – 2008 marks the largest-ever international program of scientific research focused on the Arctic and Antarctic, with thousands of scientists from more than 60 nations participating.  In Canada, at least 1,750 researchers have been involved in 52 research projects at more than 100 research sites across the North.  Conducting research in some of the most remote corners of Canada’s Arctic, often under harsh and variable conditions, involves complex logistics and requires special attention to matters of health and safety.  To address these important health and safety issues, the Government of Canada provided $16.5 million to enhance emergency preparedness, support health and safety measures, and upgrade northern research infrastructure. 

To advise the Government of Canada Program for IPY, a Logistics Advisory Committee was established in 2006.  This committee included Northerners with expertise in the logistical, health, safety and security challenges of carrying out research in the North.

Emergency Preparedness

Eleven organizations across the North that are responsible for emergency preparedness received support from the Government of Canada Program for IPY.  Funding was used to assist with numerous initiatives ranging from the purchase of specialized health and safety equipment, to the hiring and training of additional personnel, to enhancing Canadian Coast Guard presence in Arctic waters for search and rescue.  Some of the highlights of these investments include: VHF radios and satellite phones for the NWT Emergency Measures Office, 9 new amphibious all-terrain vehicles for the Government of Nunavut, improved ice and weather information to assist IPY researchers working in the field, and additional fuel caches in the High Arctic.  In total, 210 search and rescue volunteers were trained and more than 60 Northerners were hired to improve emergency preparedness in the North during IPY and beyond.  Details about these and other initiatives are outlined in the table below.

Northern Research Facilities

Canada’s Arctic research facilities provide invaluable support to researchers working in the North.  This support takes many forms, from providing air and land transportation, communication and field equipment, accommodations and expert advice.  A number of these facilities were built for the last IPY – the International Geophysical Year in 1957-1958 – and few have received any substantial upgrades since then.  As part of IPY 2007 – 2008, northern research facilities were given much-needed upgrades and outdated and unsafe equipment was replaced.  In all, funding was provided to 18 research stations and organizations for building renovations and upgrades, training facility staff, and new field, laboratory, safety and navigation equipment.  Details about these and other initiatives are outlined in the table below.

Field Logistics

To help offset increases in costs for logistical arrangements such as travel, shipping and fuel for IPY research during the 2009 field season, additional funding was allocated to 21 different research teams. Recipients used the funding for ship time, air support, equipment, travel costs, salaries and training for students and local guides.

Northern Research Facilities

Project Title and Location Project Description
Alert Observatory
Environment Canada
Alert, Nunavut
Upgrading the heat, ventilation, cooling equipment and the electrical distribution system and improving sanitation facilities.
Aurora Research Institute
Aurora College
Inuvik, NWT
Training four northern youth as summer technicians to assist IPY researchers.
Bylot Island Field Station
Université Laval
Bylot Island, Nunavut
Providing VHF radio and a repeater station for field communications. Enhancing field safety, bear deterrent and navigation equipment. Constructing two modular buildings for laboratory, kitchen, sleeping and storage. Improving the management of environmental issues (e.g. sewage and grey water), reducing the potential for interaction with wildlife, and improving the storage of material, especially fuel.
Canadian Polar Commission
Ottawa, Ontario
Contributing to their study on Canadian Arctic and subarctic research facilities.
Centre d’études nordiques (CEN)
Université Laval
Nunavut and Nunavik
Purchasing field communications and survival equipment. Carrying out preventive maintenance and securing replacement parts for solar panels to meet greener energy standards.
Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Churchill, Manitoba
Hiring additional technicians to provide field, safety, bear monitoring, vehicle and equipment maintenance and assistance to researchers during IPY. Recertifying and training staff in the instruction and delivery of Wilderness First-Aid. Upgrading field communications equipment, fume hood and chemical storage cabinets, and firearms and ammunition storage lockers.
Eureka Weather Station
Eureka, Nunavut
Improving insulation to reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency in the accommodations building.
Labrador Institute
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Goose bay, Labrador and Newfoundland
Renovating a portion of the residence for office space to accommodate up to eight researchers, faculty and staff.
La Peruse Bay

Churchill, Manitoba
Purchasing laboratory and field safety equipment.
McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS)
McGill University
Axel Heiberg, Nunavut
Purchasing equipment for communications, navigation, field safety and transportation. Renovating building and upgrading waste management and fuel containment.
Nunavut Research Institute
Nunavut Arctic College
Iqaluit, Nunavut
Upgrading field, laboratory, health and safety, and navigation equipment and storage. Upgrading field transportation equipment. Hiring a research technician to coordinate field equipment logistics and assist IPY researchers.
Polar Continental Shelf Project
Natural Resources Canada
Resolute, Nunavut
Building on existing fuel caches in the high Arctic and establishing additional fuel caches. Hiring and training two local/Aboriginal operations/dispatch coordinators to provide communication support to researchers in the field and during search and rescue operations. Chartering an additional helicopter to provide additional search and rescue capabilities in the high Arctic in the case of an emergency. Enhancing field communications, navigation and field safety equipment. Purchasing bear deterrent equipment. Increasing helicopter and fixed wing aircraft charters to ensure that IPY researchers can meet their field work objectives.
Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)
University of Toronto
Eureka, Nunavut
Establishing an emergency communications system. Replacing the tanks that transport water and sewage at the PEARL laboratory that are over 15 years old.  Replacing transportation and power equipment.  Supporting facility operations
Quajisarvik Research Network
Nunavik Research Centre, Centre d’études Nordiques, and Umiujaq field station
Nunavik
Enhancing cold storage and field safety equipment. Upgrading transportation and power equipment. Training a local field station manager in Umiujaq to meet the increased demands during the IPY field season.
Sirmilik National Park
Parks Canada
Pond Inlet, Nunavut
Creating and delivering a polar bear safety curriculum and accreditation program that includes traditional knowledge from community members in Pond Inlet.

Delivering a training program to researchers, community members and Parks staff.

Training a technical pool of approximately 50 local bear monitors during IPY and beyond
through an accreditation program.

Purchasing bear deterrent equipment.
Torngat Mountains National Park
Parks Canada
Nain, Labrador
Increasing the availability of safety equipment and storage space.

Hiring a base camp science coordinator, a medical safety officer, and five Inuit youth to assist IPY projects as part of an accreditation program with the University of the Arctic

Training 24 polar bear monitors through accreditation program in collaboration with Sirmilik National Park.
Walker Bay Research Station
Government of Nunavut
Kitikmeot, Nunavut
Repairing a research cabin damaged by a Grizzly bear, replacing destroyed equipment.

Upgrading the facility in terms of safety and upgrade power supply with wind and solar.
Yukon College
Whitehorse, Yukon
Purchasing communication, navigation, field safety, bear deterrent, and transportation and power equipment.

Emergency Preparedness Projects

Project Title and Location Project Description
Aurora Research Institute
Aurora College
Inuvik, NWT
Developing a field safety guide for the NWT using new and existing regional information.

Purchasing and providing researchers with the necessary communications equipment for field work.   

Hiring a technician to make daily safety checks with researchers in the field, as well as a coordinator for logistical support
Canadian Coast Guard
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Enhancing search and rescue presence, safety and evacuation requirements.
Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary
(Central & Arctic)
Providing marine search and rescue training to Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers in communities in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Canadian Ice Service
Environment Canada
Operationalizing improvements in Northern weather forecasts and providing additional ice and weather information during IPY.

Provide historical sea ice information and enhanced near-real-time ice information for 10 IPY marine based research projects

Improve the coverage and accuracy of Canadian Arctic weather models and the frequency of the model runs for enhanced weather information, crucial for all field activities and SAR events in Canada’s north
Arctic Weather Centre
Environment Canada
Operationalizing improvements in Northern weather forecasts and providing additional ice and weather information during IPY.

Provide historical sea ice information and enhanced near-real-time ice information for 10 IPY marine based research projects

Improve the coverage and accuracy of Canadian Arctic weather models and the frequency of the model runs for enhanced weather information, crucial for all field activities and SAR events in Canada’s north
Canadian Meteorological Centre
Environment Canada
Operationalizing improvements in Northern weather forecasts and providing additional ice and weather information during IPY.

Provide historical sea ice information and enhanced near-real-time ice information for 10 IPY marine based research projects

Improve the coverage and accuracy of Canadian Arctic weather models and the frequency of the model runs for enhanced weather information, crucial for all field activities and SAR events in Canada’s north
Emergency Measures Office
Government of the Northwest Territories
Yellowknife, NWT
Purchasing VHF radio systems with repeater stations and high speed Ethernet satellite systems for 5 regional centres in the NWT.
Emergency Measures Office
Government of Nunavut 
Iqaluit, Nunavut
Increasing ground search and rescue capabilities in Nunavut through the testing of amphibious all-terrain vehicles strategically housed in various Nunavut communities for use by members of local search and rescue teams.
Polar Continental Shelf Project
Natural Resources Canada
Resolute, Nunavut
Building on existing fuel caches in the high Arctic and establishing additional fuel caches.

Hiring and training two local/Aboriginal operations/dispatch coordinators to provide communication support to researchers in the field and during search and rescue operations.

Chartering an additional helicopter to provide additional search and rescue capabilities in the high Arctic in the case of an emergency.
Quttinirpaaq National Park
Parks Canada
Iqaluit, Nunavut
Replacing satellite phones with Iridium pagers to make Parks staff available 24 hours-a-day to park users in the event of an emergency.

Replacing the HF base-station radio in the Lake Hazen camp and purchasing one for the Ward Hunt Island camp.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
G Division
Yellowknife, NWT
Distributing additional Iridium satellite phones, laser flares and GPS units to RCMP detachments in the regions of IPY activity.  These phones are to be available to community volunteers during search and rescue events.

Training six RCMP officers in small vessel operations and winter survival.  In turn these officers are training two search and rescue managers in the 19 NWT communities in which IPY activities are anticipated.

Bringing community search and rescue managers to Yellowknife for a Search and Rescue Conference in 2010.

Establishing two remote site command posts to mount coordinated RCMP operations in remote locations through a turnkey approach in providing tents, heat, generators and alternate communications that are designed, packaged and stored for efficient transport in whole to an incident site.
Yellowknife Search and Rescue Society
City of Yellowknife
Yellowknife, NWT
Assisting the RCMP with search and rescue of missing or lost persons in the NWT.

Building an inventory of equipment sufficient to equip two three-person “hasty teams” to rapidly deploy in emergencies.  Equipment includes items for temporary shelter, navigation and medical evacuations.
Yukon Emergency Measures Organization

Yukon Government

Whitehorse, Yukon
Providing basic search and rescue training in four Yukon communities as well as “Train the trainer” instruction to address future training requirements.

 

Logistics Resources