The Government of Canada is committed to working with its partners to ensure that resource development enhances the well-being and socio-economic outcomes for Northerners. Challenges such as skilled labour shortages; low literacy and numeracy levels; housing availability; and safety and security issues can affect the ability of some northern communities to participate in this growing economy.
NPMO has launched a significant collaborative initiative to foster capacity building for northern communities by promoting community readiness around the increasing number of major resource development projects. The goal is to promote the full involvement of Aboriginal people in resource development projects taking place near their communities through an approach that:
- assesses community willingness to undertake readiness work together;
- identifies strengths and gaps within the community; and
- adopts a whole-of-government approach to aligning and sequencing activities and initiatives, with industry investments and project plans.
Beginning with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between CanNor and an Aboriginal organization or territorial government, community readiness is a multi-step, community-based planning process that is meant to help empower communities to begin to take a more active management role in managing the impacts from resource development. NPMO works with Aboriginal partners to develop joint implementation plans/frameworks to advance community readiness activities ahead of resource development projects being put into operation so that communities are well prepared to manage project impacts. These efforts combine cooperative governance and the gathering of community-based evidence to inform these plans. To date, four MOUs have been signed:
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association with respect to Cooperation for the Coordination and Management of Major Projects in the Qikiqtani Region
- Memorandum of Understanding between CanNor and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association with respect to Cooperation for the Coordination and Management of Major Projects in the Kitikmeot Region
- Memorandum of Understanding between CanNor and the Department of Executive, Government of the Northwest Territories with respect to Cooperation for the Coordination and Management of Major Projects in the Northwest Territories
- Memorandum of Understanding between CanNor and the Department of Economic Development, Government of the Yukon on Cooperation to Support Resource and Community Development in Yukon
MOUs are a key step in the community readiness process as they facilitate CanNor's efforts to foster a sustainable and dynamic northern economy by serving as a mechanism that confirms the parties' commitment to advance resource development.
This approach ensures that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of a project and its implications on a community, how development activities and government initiatives will be aligned, and how the community readiness work will be evaluated. The community readiness initiative is designed to ensure that communities gain maximum benefit from northern development projects.