Northern Contaminants Program


The Northern Contaminants Program (NCP), co-ordinates Canada's action on northern contaminants, including Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs), both nationally and internationally. The NCP is a multi-disciplinary initiative, funded by the Government of Canada, addressing health, science and communications issues related to contaminants in Canada's Arctic. It was established in 1991 through the Government of Canada's Green Plan and Arctic Environmental Strategy (AES).

The NCP is managed by a committee chaired by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and is comprised of four federal government departments (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Health Canada, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada), the territorial governments (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, the Yukon) and representatives of Northern Aboriginal organizations including Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC), Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), Dene Nation and the Council of Yukon First Nations.

Phase I of the Northern Contaminants Program (1991-1997) is summarized in the Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report (available in hard copy and at http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/NCP/index_e.html. Phase II of the Northern Contaminants Program (1998-2003) emphasizes quantifying risks and focussing research on the effects of contaminants on human health. A second Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report, expected by the end of 2002, will focus on health issues relevant to all northern consumers of country foods, including Quebec and Labrador Inuit.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) is the circumpolar environmental monitoring activity of the Arctic Council. It produced two major assessment reports on pollution in the Arctic in 1997 and 1998 (Available in hard copy and at www.grida.no/amap) Canada is a major contributor to AMAP, through the Northern Contaminants Program. The secretariat for AMAP is located in Oslo, Norway. A second AMAP assessment report will be published by fall 2002.

Information generated by the NCP and AMAP was used in alerting the international community about the POPs issue and compelling other countries to take part in the negotiations leading to the global POPs agreement.