Canada’s Arctic Disputes: Cooperative Bridges, Foggy Futures

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



International Disputes, Ocean Governance, Arctic, Canada


Four Canadian international disputes in the Arctic are reviewed. They are: the Beaufort Sea boundary; the legal status of the Northwest Passage; ownership of Hans Island and location of the boundary in the Lincoln Sea between Canada and Greenland; and disagreement over the scope of legislative and enforcement jurisdiction bestowed by Article 234 of the UN Law of the Sea Convention.

Following a discussion of the four areas of conflict and the cooperative arrangements that have been forged to help calm international relations, the chapter explores the “foggy future” reality. When and how the Beaufort Sea boundary, Northwest Passage status, ownership of Hans Island and the location of the Lincoln Sea boundary will be resolved remains uncertain. Whether Article 234 will raise further international tussles over its use to justify unilateral shipping measures in the Arctic by coastal States, particularly Canada, is also unclear.