The Canadian North, remote, vast and sparsely populated as it is, has emerged in the early 21st century as a key pillar of Canada’s economic growth. The region’s concentration of resource potential is unparalleled: whether mineral, oil and gas, fishing or hydro-power resources, the North is often seen as Canada’s great untapped frontier. Interest in the region’s potential is not new; exploration and extraction in the Canadian North dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. What has changed is the scale on which projects are being planned, and the geographic range within which they are envisioned. Accelerated environmental change, increased global demand and advances in resource extraction technology have redefined the accessibility of Northern resources.
Industry is not alone in its interest in the riches of the North. For the most part, Federal and Territorial Government bodies and agencies have expressed support for more and better resource development. The dominant requirement of governments is that Northern resources be developed sustainably and that benefits be shared equitably among stakeholders; they believe and intend that resource projects will generate employment and business opportunities, provide a reliable revenue source and build Northern capacity as a way of reducing North–South socio-economic disparities.
Northern development is also anticipated to generate opportunities for all Canadians. A variety of technologies are needed to improve environmental safety and efficiency of Northern resource operations. Canadian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can and should look northward for these opportunities. Understanding the political, regulatory and social systems of the North, which differ significantly from those of the South, is critically important to business success in the Territories. Recognizing that this information, specifically relevant for Southern businesses, can be limited, LOOKNorth is developing a series of territory-specific overviews to guide and support businesses interested in expanding their potential northward.
These overviews will be published as they become available.
Download LOOKNorth's Nunavut Overview.