Inspired Research.

Real Impact.

Laurier Research in Canada’s North

Message from Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor on wildfires in the Northwest Territories

Northern Canada is one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth. Climate change is affecting northern ecosystems at an accelerated pace, from more intense wildfires to declining water quality, thawing ice and changes to wildlife habitats. These changes have immense impacts on all people in the North, especially Indigenous communities whose traditional ways of living are being threatened.

Researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University embrace complex challenges. Together with northern governments, Indigenous knowledge-holders and international academic networks, Laurier researchers are connecting western science with land-based practices to solve urgent problems and enhance well-being in the North. Current research priorities include:

Climate Change Adaptation

Informed by the concerns of residents, researchers are addressing ice road safety, water security, forest fires, northern wildlife biology and carbon storage.

Indigenous Environmental Stewardship

Laurier researchers are co-creating best practices for environmental and data management that affirm the role of Indigenous peoples as stewards of their ancestral territories.

Northern Food Security

In association with the UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies at Laurier, faculty and students are working with communities to build sustainable local food systems.

With a dedicated research office in Yellowknife, more than 50 research sites across Northern Canada and a longstanding partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Laurier faculty and students are on the ground, in remote communities and at the tables where decisions are made.

Through inspired research, Laurier is making a real impact in Canada’s North.

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Feature story: Confronting a Fiery Future

As wildfires intensify across the Northwest Territories, Jennifer Baltzer is working with local partners to protect forest ecosystems and surrounding communities. Read more.

"Our government doesn't have the resources to investigate all of the questions that we and our residents have.

"Our partnership with Laurier really increases the scope and reach of what we can do to address those needs."

Julian Kanigan, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories

Inspiring Conversations

Confronting Climate Change in Canada's North

In this Inspiring Conversation, held on Nov. 30, 2022, three of Laurier’s leading researchers shared their work in the Northwest Territories. Jennifer Baltzer, the Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change, discussed how intensifying wildfires are impacting forest ecosystems. Homa Kheyrollah Pour, the Canada Research Chair in Remote Sensing of Environmental Change, shared how she’s using satellite observations and smart ground-based monitoring techniques to study the response of northern lakes to the changing climate. Finally, Associate Professor Miguel Sioui explained how he is bridging Indigenous and Western knowledge to advance Indigenous environmental stewardship.


Video Gallery


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Handpicked: Stories From the Field

Season 1, episode 3: Assistant Professor Andrew Spring speaks to Chief Lloyd Chicot and Melaine Simba of the Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation about food security in northern Indigenous communities.


Research Chat

Season 2, episode 10: Laurier PhD students Gifty Attiah and Caitlyn Lyons chat about their field research in the NWT.


All Ages, All Voices!

Season 1, episode 6: Associate Professor Miguel Sioui discusses his climate change adaptation research and how he collaborates with Indigenous communities.

Make an Impact

Laurier researchers are making a real impact in Canada’s North. They are creating and sharing knowledge with residents and decision-makers to combat climate change, improve community safety and well-being, and provide new development and training opportunities for local people.

But they cannot do it alone. They rely on partnerships with governments, industries and communities, and significant funding for research equipment, resources and travel.

You can help. Join Laurier and our collaborators as we build a stronger, sustainable future for Northern Canada and our planet.