Farewell to a Pillar of Arctic Science

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On October 4th 2020, ArcticNet lost its founder, Professor Louis Fortier. From the onset of his career and his voyages in the Arctic Ocean, Louis witnessed first-hand the profound changes affecting northern environments. He devoted over 30 years of his life to studying the North, and to advocating for multidisciplinary scientific collaboration to advance our collective knowledge and elevate it to new levels. His vision brought together scientists, Inuit, people from industry, government and northern stakeholders to develop more comprehensive and holistic views of the changing North. With this dedication and constant drive, he spearheaded the development of some of the largest Arctic research programs in Canada and internationally, furthering our understanding and mobilizing knowledge to levels beyond the scientific realm. His legacy truly bridges the gap between scientists, the general public, and policy makers for the betterment of the Arctic and Canada. Major initiatives led by Louis include the International North Water Polynia (1997-1999); the international Canadian Arctic Shelf Exchange Study (CASES) (2001-2006); and the conversion of the CCGS Amundsen (2003-present) icebreaker into a state-of-the-art research vessel providing Canadian researchers and their international collaborators unprecedented access to the Arctic Ocean. We at ArcticNet owe Louis an immense debt: he was responsible for the creation of our network, ArcticNet (2003-present) which unites the strengths of scientists, engineers and managers in the natural, health and social sciences with their partners in Inuit organizations, First Nations and Métis, northern communities, federal and provincial agencies and the private sector to study the impacts of climate change in Canada's North.


His dedication and conviction of the urgency of climate change made him a stellar advocate for environmental sciences and a world-leading ambassador on the role science must play in the development of policy and adaptation strategies. For this vision and dedication to seeing it realized, ArcticNet will be forever grateful to Louis. 


Louis will be remembered for his passion, vision, devotion, drive, and inspiring energy that was felt in all those who worked closely with him. We strive to continue his vision of a connected approach.  


The Arctic research community has lost one of its great champions. He will be deeply missed.




Professor Louis Fortier was respected and beloved by a wide community. Read some of the tributes to his legacy.


Dr. Mona Nemer, Chief Science Advisor of Canada
"The world has lost a giant in climate science and Arctic research."


Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada
"He was a passionate scientist, a visionary and a friend. This is a great loss for our country." 


Steven Guilbeaut, Minister of Canadian Heritage
"I had the privilege of working with him in the fight against climate change. I remember him as a truly exceptional man."


Annie Desrochers, Journalist and Host at ICI Radio-Canada
"Louis Fortier était un excellent vulgarisateur des questions nordiques, une grande perte."


Networks of Centres of Excellence
"His passion, vision and drive brought together members of various communities to better the Arctic and Canada."


Canada Fondation for Innovation
"Canada has lost a true pioneer of Arctic research."


Les années lumière, ICI Radio-Canada
"L'héritage de Louis Fortier"


Les Grands Quénébois 2020


Quebec oceanographer Louis Fortier became a leader in Arctic research


Louis Fortier, a scientist who revolutionized Arctic research in Canada, has died


L'héritage de l’océanographe Louis Fortier sur la crise climatique en Arctique


Louis Fortier: un océanographe au long cours s'éteint


Remembering innovative Arctic research leader, RCGS Fellow Dr. Louis Fortier


Le chercheur Louis Fortier est décédé


Université Laval: le chercheur Louis Fortier est décédé


Décès du biologiste Louis Fortier


Louis Fortier, pionnier de la recherche en Arctique, s’éteint à 66 ans


Hommage à un homme d'exception


Louis Fortier: un océanographe au long cours s'éteint



Past Projects: Project Leader


The shifting pelagic ecosystem: monitoring and synthesis


Designing and Implementing the Nunavik Health Survey Qanuippitaa 2016


The Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida) Ecosystem of the Beaufort Sea: Synthesis of Decadal Records


Past Projects: Project Member


GO-Ice: Glacier-Ocean-Iceberg Dynamics in a Changing Canadian Arctic


The shifting pelagic ecosystem: monitoring and synthesis


ArcticNet Long-Term Oceanic Observatories: Continuation and Synthesis of the Existing Decadal Records of Physical and Biogeochemical Signals


Hidden Biodiversity and Vulnerability of Hard-Bottom and Surrounding Environments in the Canadian Arctic


The Arctic Cod (Boreogadus saida) Ecosystem of the Beaufort Sea: Synthesis of Decadal Records


Understanding the Effects of Climate Change and Industrial Development on Contaminant Processes and Exposure in the Canadian Arctic Marine Ecosystem: How Can we Prepare?


Arc3Bio (Marine Biodiversity, Biological Productivity and Biogeochemistry in the Changing Canadian Arctic)


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