Institut nordique du Québec

Institut nordique du Québec - Ensemble pour le Nord

Equip Yourself for northern research

Introduction to northern research and issues

May 6-10, 2019

Introduction to northern research and issues

May 6-10, 2019

Between the 49th parallel and the Canadian Arctic, there exists a world of diversity and contrasts. A world whose environment, economy, culture and population health are being disrupted by climate change, industrialization and modernization.

Discover this region and its unique features through a new five-day intensive training course offered by the Institut nordique du Québec and its collaborators. Acquire tools to facilitate your northern research, valorize your time in communities and create lasting relationships with local populations.

The course is designed and offered by passionate researchers with decades of experience working north of the 49th parallel, in conjunction with experts from northern communities. Benefit from their experience and knowledge by taking part in a training that they themselves would have liked to have had at the beginning of their career.

The North

Introduction to the essential elements that define northern regions.

Northern Issues

Presentation of the principal environmental, political, social and economic issues facing the North.

Ethical practices

Presentation of good practices for research in northern environments that both respects and benefits northern populations.

Target audience:

Training is available to graduate students and early career researchers working in northern Quebec and the Canadian Arctic or conducting research projects that have an impact on northern regions.

Note : For the most part, the training will be conducted in French. Mentors who are more comfortable speaking in English may choose to do so.


Registration is now closed.

Additional information:

  • The training will take place on the Université Laval campus and in Wendake from May 6 to 10, 2019;
  • Lunches are included throughout the training as well as coffee breaks;
  • Transportation to and from Wendake is included in the registration fee.

Course Plan

Note: The majority of the program will be presented in French.

Monday, May 6

The changing natural environment: land, ocean, cryosphere

Leader: Michel Allard, Université Laval
Room: 1456, Pavillon Charles-De Koninck, Université Laval

08h30 - 12h00

Mentor: Louis Fortier (Institut nordique du Québec)

Research infrastructure in the Canadian Arctic

  • Regional and global challenges
  • Key international, national and regional organizations
  • ArcticNet
  • The Institut nordique du Québec
  • The prospects for the next five years

Mentor: Martin Fortier (Sentinel North)

The Sentinel North program

  • Objectives
  • Structure and projects
  • Opportunities

Mentor: Mickael Lemay, ArcticNet

Integrated Regional Studies (IRIS): vehicles for interdisciplinary synthesis, popularization and influence of public policies. Aquired knowledge, assessments, impacts.

  • Nunavik et Nunatsiavut
  • Nunavut
  • Innuvialuit
  • Hudson Bay
  • International: Baffin Bay

13h30 - 17h00

Mentor: Jean-Éric Tremblay (Québec-Océan)

Arctic Oceanography

  • Physical changes in the Arctic Ocean
  • Services provided by northern marine ecosystems
  • Exploitable resources
  • Proven or probable consequences of the change
  • Challenges for coastal communities
  • Example of multidisciplinary projects and innovative approaches

Mentor: Michel Allard, Université Laval

Permafrost and terrestrial environments

  • Definitions
  • Impact of climate change
  • Ecosystem transformations
  • Infrastructure and communities
  • Ongoing Canadian projects
Tuesday, May 7

History, governance and political issues facing the North

Leader: Thierry Rodon (Northern Sustainable Development Research Chair, Université Laval)
Room: 1456, Pavillon Charles-De Koninck, Université Laval

08h30 - 12h00

Mentor: Thierry Rodon (Northern Sustainable Development Research Chair, Université Laval)

Modern history, treaties and governance

Mentor: Hélène Boivin (Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation)

Research Ethics in an Indigenous Context

  • Example of Mashteuiatsh

13h30 - 17h00

Mentor: Réal McKenzie (Innu Nation of Matimekush Lac John)

Contemporary nothern issues

  • Indigenous guardians
  • Caribou decline
  • Mining projects in northern Québec
  • Presevation of indigenous languages

Mentors: Paul McCarney (Nunatsiavut Government); Megan Dicker (Young Indigenous Leader - Nain)

Cultural and political issues in Nunatsiavut

Wednesday, May 8

Indigenous culture and contemporary societal issues

Leader: Caroline Hervé (Université Laval)
Room: 1456, Pavillon Charles-De Koninck, Université Laval

08h30 - 12h00

Mentors: Caroline Hervé (Université Laval); Evie Mark (Inuit Cultural Liaison, Artist)

Inuit culture

  • The Inuit territory
  • Family and education
  • Subsistence activities
  • Food sharing and cooperation
  • Religious dynamics

13h30 - 17h00

Mentors: Mélanie Lemire (Université Laval); Marie-Josée Gauthier (Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services); Mona Belleau (Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services); Annie Baron (Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services)

Contemporary social issues - health and wellbeing

  • Environmental contaminants, food and health
  • The general health situation in Nunavik

Mentors: Aleashia Echalook (Qarjuit Youth Council), Charlotte Goulet Paradis

Contemporary social issues - youth

  • Youth network
  • Informal education
  • Mental health
  • Generational issues
  • Advocating for youth
  • Funding for youth projects in Nunavik
Thursday, May 9

Building collaborative projects in the North: a challenging and satisfying journey!

Leader: José Gérin-Lajoie, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Salle Communautaire Kondiaronk, Wendake

08h30 - 12h00

Mentors: José Gérin-Lajoie, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Hilda Snowball, Administration régionale Kativik; Gwyneth A. MacMillan, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Allyson Menzies, Université McGill; Geneviève Dubois, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Representative of the Wendake community

Interactive introductory activity and welcome by Wendake elder

Collaborative research in the North for the benefit of all: co-construction approaches

Workshops on the following topics:

  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Participatory action research (PAR)
  • Consultations
  • Complementarity of local and scientific knowledge
  • Mutual knowledge transfer and learning
  • Communication and feedback on results
  • Ethical and long-term vision

13h30 - 17h00

Mentors: José Gérin-Lajoie, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Hilda Snowball, Administration régionale Kativik; Gwyneth A. MacMillan, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières; Allyson Menzies, Université McGill; Geneviève Dubois, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Cases studies in collaborative research

  • Presentation of the IMALIRIJIIT and NUNAMI SUKUIJAINIQ projects
  • Work on various case studies in sub-groups
  • Plenary poster presentations
  • Roundtable discussion
Friday, May 10

Coordination and mangement of northern research projects

Leader: Michel Allard, Université Laval
Room: 1456, Pavillon Charles-De Koninck, Université Laval

08h30 - 12h00

Mentor: Michel Allard, Université Laval


Mentors: Denis Sarazin, Université Laval; Christine Barnard, Université Laval

Practical elements common to all research projects, logistics

  • Permits (Nunavik, Nunavut, Parks Canada)
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Registration in the Mobility Residence Register (UL)
  • Risk analysis
  • Preparatory safety courses (snowmobile, ATV, boat, firearms, VHF, first aid, TDG
  • Hiring guides
  • Food - Northern, Arctic Consultants, etc
  • Personnel and cargo transport - agreements with airlines, charter flights
  • Funding (ArcticNet, CEN, QO, PFSN, etc)

Mentors: Denis Sarazin, Université Laval; Christine Barnard, Université Laval

Network of CEN and INTERACT Infrastructure

  • CEN Networks (SILA & Qaujisarvik)

Mentor: Anissa Merzouk, ArcticNet

Preparation for a mission aboard the CCGS Amundsen

Mentor: Joannie Ferland, Ministère de l'environnement et lutte contre les changements climatiques, Québec

Example of an international project

  • GreenEdge (Qikiqtarjuaq, NU)

13h30 - 17h00

Mentor: Marc André Ducharme, Centre d'études nordiques

Example of a scientific and community project on Permafrost

  • Needs and demands of Inuit communities
  • Use of a specific and local issue of concern to establish a real scientific research programme
  • Use of research to train young people in practice, with the supervision and culture of elders
  • Creation of an outreach strategy in the community (pilot project in Nunavut
  • Introduction to the technical aspects of permafrost studies
  • Support a regional development project (adapted infrastructure in a park) and local economic activities (tourism)
  • The pedagogical transfer of basic knowledge and understanding about climate, permafrost and the environment
  • The willingness to train local autonomous stakeholders

Mentors: Julie Fortin, CiÉRA; Aude Therrien, Northern Sustainable Development Research Chair

Example of research projects in Cree territory and on the North Shore

Mentor: Colline Gombault, Amundsen Science

Preparation of a data managemnet plan for a field campaign

  • Preparation of a management plan
  • Presentation of Arctic databases
  • Upcoming Québec Ocean data management training

Mentor: Pauline Pic, APECS Canada


  • The organisation, training, support for students

Meet the Mentors

A multidisciplinary team of mentors who share a strong commitment to the North. During this training, experienced researchers will share their knowledge, observations and reflections on the North in support of the next generation of researchers and their preparation and implementation of field campaigns in the North.

  • Michel Allard
    Michel Allard, Professor, Department of Geography, Université Laval
    "The North has a wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The people who live there and those who want to exploit it must be part of the solution in response to the multiple challenges posed by climate change and globalization. Researchers are no exception."
  • Caroline Hervé
    Caroline Hervé, Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Université Laval and holder of the Sentinel North Research Chair on Relations with Inuit Societies
    "To go North is to arrive on a territory inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples who know how to live in harmony with nature. This experience requires each of us to know how to relate to these people whose history and social and cultural practices are unique, rich and surprising."
  • Aleashia Echalook
    Aleashia Echalook, President, Qarjuit
  • Thierry Rodon
    Thierry Rodon, Professor, Department of Political Science, Université Laval
    "The North is too often seen as a frozen expanse populated by polar bears, caribou and a few indigenous people, yet the Northern Indigenous peoples, who have been ignored by governments and Canadians for too long and subsequently overwhelmed by inappropriate and too often harmful policies, have undertaken to regain control of their lives and territories and thus change the structures of the Canadian federation"
  • Mélanie Lemire
    Mélanie Lemire, Assistant Professor, Département de médecine sociale et préventive de la Faculté de médecine, Université Laval
    "Many of the contaminants in Nunavik are products of our way of life in the South and affect the quality of traditional Inuit food. This is an environmental injustice. Contaminant research, involving nearly 3000 Nunavik Inuit since 1992, has contributed to the implementation of the Stockholm and Minamata Conventions. These projects have directly contributed to reducing exposure to POPs, not only in the Arctic, but around the world as well! The collaboration of the Inuit in this research is therefore crucial and I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with them."
  • Jean-Éric Tremblay
    Jean-Éric Tremblay, Professor, Biology Department, Université Laval
    "The Arctic Ocean is changing at a rapid pace, opening up new opportunities and disrupting the balance of a unique and fragile ecosystem. Integrated and innovative approaches will be needed to monitor the evolution of the nutrient-rich seas of the North and the benefits they bring to local coastal communities, as well as to the biosphere and humanity as a whole."
  • Hilda Snowball
    Hilda Snowball, vice-president at Kativik Regional Government, municipal councillor at the northern village of Kangiqsualujjuaq, member of the Sukuijarvik Research Station’s scientific committee
  • Martin Fortier
    Martin Fortier, Executive Director, Sentinel North; Assistant to the Vice Rector of research, creation and innovation, Université Laval
    "The major challenges facing northern ecosystems and societies require the mobilization of many types of expertise and knowledge, beyond the borders and fields traditionally associated with northern research. The contribution of ideas, knowledge and innovations resulting from this convergence will contribute to finding concrete solutions in close partnership with the inhabitants of the circumpolar North."
  • Marc-André Ducharme
    Marc-André Ducharme, Research Associate, Centre d’études nordiques
    "Permafrost, the foundation of northern infrastructure and communities, has been experiencing accelerated degradation for more than a decade. More than ever, scientific knowledge and expertise must now be used to benefit northern Indigenous communities and support them in their adaptation to their changing environment. We must build on the collaboration between communities and research teams to share traditional and scientific knowledge."h
  • Josée Gérin-Lajoie
    Josée Gérin-Lajoie, Research Coordinator, Department of Environmental Sciences at UQTR and Centre for Northern Studies
    "Working together, sharing our knowledge, taking time and making a long-term commitment with our northern partners are the factors that will best lead to the success of common and meaningful projects for all."
  • Julie Fortin
    Julie Fortin, PhD Candidate in public communication, Université Laval
    "When travelling to the North for the first time, humility and flexibility are required. You have to accept to be "destabilized" by people, by the landscape. This also applies to research, which must be adapted to local realities. This is how it becomes meaningful."
  • Louis Fortier
    Louis Fortier, Professor, Department of Biology, Université Laval
    "With two immense inland seas, an archipelago of 35,000 islands and access to the Arctic Ocean, Canada's Arctic is a maritime territory. Under the pressure of climate change and economic development, marine ecosystems and the services they provide to northern communities and southern societies are changing"
  • Gwyneth Anne MacMillan
    Gwyneth Anne MacMillan, PhD in Biological Sciences, Université de Montréal
    "Collaborative approaches with northern communities remain under-represented among natural science scientists. In my opinion, early career researchers are a key group to consider in this type of training, as we are very involved in field work and in regular interactions with communities."
  • Allyson Menzies
    Allyson Menzies, PhD Candidate in Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University
    "Scientific research and graduate student training in Canada are moving away from models that promotes knowledge production within an ivory tower towards a model that promotes co-production of knowledge, community collaboration, and socially-informed research and training. Workshops like this are important in ensuring researchers achieve these things in an informed, respectful way."
  • Aude Therrien
    Aude Therrien, Coordinator, Northern Sustainable Development Research Chair
    « Northern Quebec is a vast territory where a significant diversity of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations live. This diversity must be taken into account before starting any project if we want to establish good relationships and meet their research needs. »
  • Denis Sarrazin
    Denis Sarrazin, Research Associate, Centre d’études nordiques
  • Pauline Pic
    Pauline Pic, PhD Candidate in Geography, Université Laval
    "APECS is a great tool for young researchers in polar studies. APECS members are involved in a very wide range of topics and form an important network in Canada and around the world"
  • Geneviève Dubois
    Geneviève Dubois, Research Professional, UQTR
    "Understanding the issues of northern territories and their communities should be a priority for those who have the privilege of conducting research there. This awareness allows us to question our practices and to better appreciate the importance of adapting and cultivating our openness to others."
  • Colline Gombeau
    Colline Gombeau, Coordinator, Amundsen Science
    "Sampling and data collection in the North often requires significant financial and logistical resources. It is therefore our duty to enhance and ensure the accessibility and longevity of this public research data, taking into account their entire life cycle, starting with the planning of collection and ending with their distribution and use."

Louis Fortier

Louis Fortier

Professeur titulaire, Département de biologie, Université Laval

« Avec deux immenses mers intérieures, un archipel de 35,000 iles et un accès à l’Océan Arctique, l’Arctique canadien est un territoire maritime. Sous la pression des changements climatiques et du développement économique,les écosystèmes marins et les services qu’ils procurent aux communautés nordiques et aux sociétés du sud sont en mutation. »

Professeur en océanographie au Département de biologie de l’Université Laval, Louis Fortier est aussi titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada sur la réponse des écosystèmes marins arctiques au réchauffement climatique, responsable scientifique du brise-glace de recherche Amundsen, directeur scientifique du réseau de centres d’excellence ArcticNet et directeur scientifique de l’unité mixte internationale Takuvik.

Sa contribution à l’avancement et à la vulgarisation des connaissances sur le Nord et le monde arctique est, depuis longtemps, exceptionnelle, et cela lui a mérité de nombreuses marques de reconnaissances importantes, telles que :

  • « Scientifique de l’Année 2004 » de Radio-Canada.
  • « Personnalité scientifique » de La Presse et Radio-Canada en 2005 ainsi qu’en 2008.
  • Officier de l’Ordre du Canada en 2007, et l’année suivante, soit en 2008, Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec.
  • Prix Armand-Frappier du Québec pour excellence en recherche et développement de la recherche en 2010.
  • Et en 2013, Médaille du Gouverneur général pour la nordicité.

Par son expérience, M. Fortier insuffle une expertise indéniable à l’INQ. Impliqué depuis des décennies dans la recherche nordique de tous les horizons, il est à même de cristalliser au sein de l’INQ l’expertise de pointe des nombreux chercheurs québécois actifs sur le territoire nordique depuis plus d’un demi-siècle.


Institut nordique du QuébecSentinelle NordQuébec OcéanCentre d'études nordiquesChaire de recherche sur le développement durable du NordChaire de recherche sur les relations avec les InuitsAPECS

Photo credits: header photo : Andréanne Beardsell; northern region photo: Mafalda Miranda; northern issues photo: Sophiane Béland; ethical practices photo: Joanie Saint-Onge