Climate Change and the proposed Canadian Northern Corridor


  • David Fawcett
  • Tristan Pearce
  • James D. Ford



The Canadian Northern Corridor is a concept for a multi-modal (road, rail, pipeline, electrical and communication) transmission corridor through northern Canada. This paper reviews scientific evidence about potential impacts of climate change in northern Canada and implications for future corridor development. The results show that climate change impacts are already being experienced through northern Canada and are expected to continue and potentially worsen in the future. Permafrost thaw, sea ice melt, extreme weather events, and changes in coastal processes (e.g. sea level rise, erosion), among other impacts, threaten the construction, maintenance, and operation of infrastructure within the corridor. Climate change impacts are likely to affect the feasibility and costs of some infrastructure, and create on-going challenges to operations. Climate change impacts are highly localized and a disturbance at one chokepoint in the corridor could compromise the operation of the whole corridor. More research is needed to examine climate change impacts at local scales to understand the characteristics of the physical environment and how it is changing, as well as how existing human activities may conflict with the corridor. Efforts are needed to engage relevant Indigenous peoples, Indigenous organisations, and local communities early in corridor discussions to identify if a corridor is desirable and relevant to them, and whether it can be developed in a manner that sustains livelihoods, culture, health, and well-being.






Research Papers