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Northern Development Ministers Discuss the Importance of Collaboration in Northern Regions
MONTRÉAL, Sept. 8, 2017 – The federal, provincial and territorial ministers representing Canada’s northern jurisdictions gathered this week in Montréal, Québec, to take part in the Northern Development Ministers Forum (NDMF).
Mr. Pierre Arcand, Government of Québec’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord chaired the 2017 Forum, whose theme was “The Importance of Collaboration in Northern Development.”
“Establishing a concerted approach to northern development in each jurisdiction ensures that progress can be made in a sustainable way, that respects both communities and the environment,” said Minister Arcand. “I’m satisfied with the work accomplished during the Forum and pleased that together we are able to create conditions conducive to the successful development of Canada’s northern regions, to the benefit first and foremost of the local population.”
Access to affordable, clean, and reliable energy is vital for the economic prosperity of the North. Since northern communities rely on diesel, it is crucial to find alternatives to ensure their self-sufficiency in terms of energy and to mitigate environmental risks. During the Forum, the Ministers approved a report on innovative heating sources for northern communities and learned more about the main sustainable energy production projects in Canada’s North.
A panel also provided a platform for Ministers to discuss the availability of statistical data on the North. Regional and local information relevant to understanding the cost of living and working in various regions in the North, as well as assessing the feasibility and impact of development projects, is often limited and difficult to consolidate. Ministers took the opportunity to identify solutions and next steps for facilitating better access to this data.
A group of experts addressed the employment capacity gap, training, labour retention and transferable strategies essential to the sustainable development of the North. A best practices supplement highlighting solutions for sustainable development of northern economies guided the discussion and Ministers had an opportunity to engage with the expert panel on how to address employment capacities and underutilized local labour in light of economic opportunities in northern jurisdictions.
Lastly, the northern development ministers laid the groundwork for the 2018 Forum, which will be hosted by the Government of Canada. Ministers mandated senior officials to examine government service delivery in remote northern communities, to look at growing the digital economy in rural and remote northern communities, to look at business and community resumption in the context of natural disasters and to continue to explore the different aspects of inclusive economic growth in Northern Canada. They invited them to present their conclusions next year.
The Northern Development Ministers Forum, established in 2001, provides federal, provincial, and territorial ministers representing Canada’s North with an opportunity to advance common interests and raise awareness of northern issues and accomplishments.
Observations by Ministers
“We are indeed pleased to have chaired the Forum in Québec this year and to have shared our achievements with its members. Sustained collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial governments is unquestionably contributing to the success of our northern projects. In our capacity as responsible for northern development in our respective jurisdictions, we must also work together to obtain results in a spirit of respect for the principles of sustainable development. The meeting has been productive and very inspiring. Equipped with new tools, the Québec government will continue to roll out the Plan Nord, a key strategy.”
Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord, Québec
“The Government of Canada is truly committed to working with northerners, provinces and territories to develop and implement innovative ideas and policies that will lead to a sustainable and prosperous North. We are looking forward to hosting the meeting next year building upon the important work of the Forum in realizing the incredible opportunities in a rapidly changing North and Arctic region. I look forward to working closely with members to set a theme and location that reflects our shared leadership in achieving inclusive and diversified economies that will bring long-lasting benefits to Indigenous and northern communities and to Canada. ”
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Canada
“Canada’s North plays a vital role in building a diversified, resilient economy all Canadians can count on. This year’s forum provided an important opportunity for collaboration – identifying ways we can pool our data and resources to evaluate and implement initiatives that promote economic growth and diversification to benefit northern communities.”
Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations, Alberta
“The Northern Development Ministers Forum provides an excellent opportunity for all Provinces and Territories to collaborate on northern development. Many opportunities exist in the north, which is why the Manitoba government is working to develop a Northern Manitoba economic development strategy called Look North, which will focus on building the partnerships needed to attract new companies, assist entrepreneurs and facilitate expansion of existing businesses to provide quality jobs and create long-term solutions for a stronger economy in the region. Our government is committed to long term development strategies through strategic investments and partnerships to improve social and economic development.”
Eileen Clarke, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations, Manitoba
“As always, this forum provides an opportunity for us to learn from one another, and exchange ideas and strategies to encourage successes to the unique challenges found in the North. Nunavut looks forward to continued collaboration with our partners in fostering sustainable development to benefit Nunavut and all Northerners.”
Monica Ell-Kanayuk, Minister of Economic Development and Transportation, Nunavut
“Northern development is a priority for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, for me personally as an Inuk from a Northern community, and for all leaders who assemble at this conference to advance the best interests of remote and rural northern communities. We have explored workforce development, clean and reliable energy, and community sustainability, and I look forward to having these discussions guide our efforts to address specific challenges and create benefits for northern residents.”
Randy Edmunds, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier and Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Affairs,Newfoundland and Labrador
For further information: The media may contact: Guillaume Lavoie, Communications Officer, Société du Plan Nord, Tel.: 418-643-1874
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