Northern Contaminants Program

Northern Contaminants Program

The Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) was established in 1991 in response to concerns about human exposure to elevated levels of contaminants in wildlife species that are important to the traditional diets of Northern Aboriginal peoples. Early studies indicated that there had been a wide spectrum of substances such as, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), heavy metals, and radionuclides. Many of these substances had no Arctic or Canadian sources but were still reaching the Arctic ecosystem in unexpectedly high levels.

The program’s key objective is to work towards reducing and where possible, eliminating contaminants in traditional and country foods, while still providing information that assists individuals and communities in making informed decisions about their food use.

The Dene Nation was awarded funding under the Northern Contaminants Program National and Regional Coordination envelope.  These funds were set by NCP Secretariat for our responsibilities under the human health blueprint development, monitoring blueprint development, social and cultural review of proposals, as well as for health projects, monitoring projects, etc.  Projects were identified by NCP Secretariat as relevant to Denendeh.

The funding enabled Dene Nation to participate in the national and regional coordination and management of the NCP review, consultation, and development of programs.

Our primary role in this regard was attending to the business of the Management Committee and maintaining NCP standards of responsible research in Denendeh. Dene Nation participated in both face to face meetings of various project teams as well as email and phone contact. We attended the blueprint planning meetings and responded to emails and other forms of communication relevant to NCP projects and blueprints.

More information on the Northern Contaminants Program can be found here:


Indigenous Partners
Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN): James MacDonald
Dene Nation: Trevor Teed
Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada: Eva Kruemmel
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK): Eric Loring

Federal Partners
Environment & Climate Change Canada, Air Quality Research Division: Stewart Cober
Environment & Climate Change Canada, Aquatic Contaminants Research Division: Jean-Francois Bibeault
Environment & Climate Change Canada, Ecotoxicology & Wildlife Health Division: Bruce Pauli
Health Canada, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch (HECS): Cheryl Khoury
Health Canada, Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB): Zoe Gillespie
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) – Indigenous Services Canada: Ben Linaker
Fisheries and Oceans Canada: Bronwyn Keatley
POLAR Knowledge Canada: Adam Houben

Territorial/Regional Government Partners
Yukon Government – Environment: Marc Cattet
Yukon Government – Health: Brendan Hanley
Northwest Territories Government – Environment and Natural Resources: Brett Elkin
Northwest Territories Government – Health and Social Services (HSS): Alan Torng
Nunavut Government – Environment: David Oberg
Nunavut Government – Health: Wanda Joy
Nunavik Government – Environment: Monica Nashak
Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Servies (NRBHSS): Marie Rochette
Nunatsiavut Government – Environment: Rodd Laing
Nunatsiavut Government – Health: Michele Wood

Regional Contaminants Committees
Yukon Contaminants Committee (YCC): Ellen Sedlack / James MacDonald
YCC’s CIRNAC Support Person (Observer): Ellen Sedlack
Northwest Territories Regional Contaminants Committee (NWTRCC): Tim Heron / Shannon O’Hara
NWTRCC’s CIRNAC Support Person (Observer): Emma Pike
Nunavut Environmental Contaminants Committee: Andrew Dunford / Jean Allen
NECC’s CIRNAC Support Person (Observer): Jean Allen
Nunavik Nutrition and Health Committee (NNHC): Marie Rochette
Nunatsiavut Government Research Advisory Committee (NGRAC): Liz Pijogee

Academic Partner Organizations
ArcticNet: Leah Braithwaite

NCP Secretariat
Manager – NCP Secretariat: Sarah Kalhok

Chair of the NCP Management Committee
Director, Northern Science and Contaminants Research: Sarah Kalhok