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The health of the Canadian economy relies on the development and operation of a vigorous resource sector. As the country forges into the 21st century, eyes are increasingly turning to Canada’s north as a storehouse of resources ranging from oil and gas, to gold, diamonds and other mineral deposits from the Yukon to Ontario’s Ring of Fire and east to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Harnessing the power of the north will offer significant economic benefits to Canada, but whether the north achieves its true potential depends on what we choose to put back into it.
Traditional business models have largely treated northern communities as transportation hubs, supply depots and sources of short-term labour. Offers of employment and economic stimulus of local businesses provide obvious temporary benefits. However, resource companies are becoming more concerned with how the wealth generated by development of northern resources is shared with northern communities, whether those communities have equity in local projects, and what’s left behind once those projects draw to a close.