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Engagement at the Nunavut Economic Development Association

October 20, 2018 – Edmonton, Alberta

The Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan Secretariat met with representatives from the Nunavut Economic Development Association in Edmonton, Alberta. During the session, participants identified the following challenges to economic development faced by communities:

  • The displacement of family members involved in the mining industry
  • Environmental concerns related to the mining process
    • There are concerns about proper mine reclamation after closure
    • Mining activities can contaminate the environment and pose the risk of polluting waterways
  • Employment
    • A lack of certainty in the mining industry creates challenges for the workforce
    • Employment is limited and there are not enough opportunities for an employee to move up
    • Policies need to be developed to ensure that Indigenous communities are considered for procurement opportunities
  • Community and Capacity Building
    • Economic Development Officers bear the weight of the demand to respond to community issues with mining
    • There is a lack of financial support for municipalities to deal with the population growth and infrastructure costs associated with mining activities in communities
  • Culture
    • There is a lack of respect for Inuit miners and their language of choice
    • Mining activities disrupt Indigenous harvesting activities
    • Traditional knowledge is not valued by mining companies

Representatives participated in a discussion about potential actions that jurisdictions could take to address aforementioned issues, including:

  • A national strategy for capacity building must take into account the unique experiences of different communities
  • Indigenous Youth Scholarships should include training opportunities for individuals who do not attend  formal post-secondary institutions
  • Prioritize the delivery of heavy machinery training
  • A share of profit from mining activities should flow back to the community
  • Government and communities should support individuals who participate in educational courses
  • Infrastructure challenges must to be addressed