Pierre Béland, Merrell-Ann Phare and Henry Lickers take oaths of office as IJC Canadian Commissioners


At a meeting of the International Joint Commission (IJC) yesterday, Commissioners Pierre Béland, Merrell-Ann Phare and F. Henry Lickers made a solemn declaration to faithfully and impartially perform the duties assigned under the Boundary Waters Treaty.

Pierre Béland was appointed as Chair of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission. Merrell-Ann Phare and Henry Lickers were appointed as Canadian Commissioners. All were appointed by Her Majesty on the recommendation of the Governor-in-Council, effective May 9, 2019, for a four year term.

The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.


Sarah Lobrichon         613-992-5368        Lobrichons@ottawa.ijc.org

Frank Bevacqua         202-736-9024        Bevacquaf@washington.ijc.org


                                                                                    Biographies of IJC Canadian Commissionners

Pierre Béland is a scientist in environmental biology and toxicology, best known as an expert on the conservation of beluga whales. He was a founder and research scientist with the St. Lawrence National Institute of Ecotoxicology, an NGO dedicated to research and education on toxic compounds in estuarine ecosystems.

Dr. Béland has published three books, numerous scientific and popular articles, has hosted a TV series on the environment, and participated in several documentary films. He served for ten years as a Commissioner for BAPE, the Quebec environmental assessment Board. He has chaired public hearings for various agencies such as Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Energy Efficiency Agency, Telus. Previously he headed the Fisheries Ecology Research Center with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and was a paleoecologist with the National Museum of Nature. From Sept 1995 to Sept 1998, Dr. Béland was one of three Canadian Commissioners (and Acting Chair) with the International Joint Commission. 

Until recently he owned and managed a company manufacturing equipment for research and management of aquatic and marine ecosystems. His most recent duties were as a Director of AquaForum, whose AquaHacking Challenge is a Canada-wide competition for graduate students and innovators aiming to create start-ups in the field of water technology and the blue economy.

Dr.  Béland holds a BA and a BSc from Laval University (Quebec City), and a PhD from Dalhousie University (Halifax). He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at ORSTOM Centre, New Caledonia, and at the University of Queensland, Australia. He resides in Montreal, QC; he is fluent in French and English and proficient in Mandarin.


Merrell-Ann Phare is a lawyer, writer, strategist, negotiator and relationship-builder who worked extensively in and with indigenous organizations on environmental, land, water, rights and governance issues. She, along with 10 First Nation Chiefs, was the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), a national First Nation charitable environmental organisation.

As Chief Negotiator for the Government of the Northwest Territories, Ms. Phare lead the negotiation of transboundary water agreements in the Mackenzie River Basin and the creation of Thaidene Nene, a national and territorial park in the east arm of Great Slave Lake.

She is the author of the book “Denying the Source: the Crisis of First Nations Water Rights” and co-author of “Ethical Water”. She is a member of the Forum for Leadership on Water, Smart Prosperity's Leadership Council, and is a recipient of Canada's Clean 50 Award. She served as legal counsel and advisor to a number of First Nation and Metis governments and organizations. 

Ms. Phare holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (Environmental) Bachelor of Laws, Master of Law (Aboriginal Water Rights and International Trade Law) from the University of Manitoba a Master of Fine Arts (Creative Writing) from University of British Columbia.   She resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

F. Henry Lickers, a Haudenosaunee citizen of the Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan.  He has been Director of the Mohawk Council for 32 years and is now the Environmental Science Officer, for the past six years.  Throughout his career, Mr. Lickers has been instrumental in incorporating First Nation’s people and knowledge into environmental planning and decision making.

Prior to his appointment as IJC Commissioner, Mr. Lickers was a member of the IJC's current Great Lakes Science Advisory Board (SAB) since 2014. Mr. Lickers also served as a SAB member from 1987-91 and 1997-2000.   He has been principle investigator on the EAGLE (Effect on Aboriginal in the Great Lakes Environment) Project and the Naturalized Knowledge Systems Project and the First Nations’ Community Health Indicators Project. Henry has been Director Ontario Professional Foresters Association, Scientific Co-Chair of The Haudenosaunee Environmental Taskforce, Vice President of the Board of Directors, St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences and a member of the Board of Directors for the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

The recipient of a number of awards recognizing his lifelong service to the St. Lawrence River, and service to many environmental and government organizations over his career, Mr. Lickers was given an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the State University of New York Syracuse.

He holds a Bachelor of Science (Biology and Geography) and undertook graduate studies at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and was a Trent University Ph D. Elder Council member. He resides in Akwesasne, Ontario.