As the global restoration economy advances, a “remediation economy” is proposed to revitalize indigenous lands in Canada

On January 12, 2023, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) in canada announced that it is working with the federal department of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) to determine the viability of a remediation-based economy in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

They are seeking to determine how to best position NWT residents and businesses to keep the revitalizing economic benefits from remediation activities in the territory.

This approach to economic revitalization was first documented in the groundbreaking 2002 book, The Restoration Economy, and most recently in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity.

Together with the Government of Canada, the GNWT is working to understand the extent and full potential of economic opportunities that may arise from the remediation of non-renewable resource projects in the future.

It is estimated that as many as 500 sites need remediating in the NWT; at a cost of nearly $4.8B over the next 30 years. Labor projections indicate that as-many-as 700 Full-time Equivalent Positions will be required every year for the next 15 years.

What kinds of trades are available in the NWT? When and how many employees will be needed? Where in the Northwest Territories will these projects be located or based?

Answering these questions and others will help the GNWT and CIRNAC better understand the steps and government supports that are needed to position northern and Indigenous companies to compete and benefit from opportunities in the remediation sector.

Photo courtesy of GNWT

Based on this information and current engagements with NWT residents, the GNWT will put its own planning and investment in place and identify a series of “next steps” to guide NWT residents and businesses hoping to pursue opportunities created by remediation activity in the NWT.

GNWT has launched online survey to help determine if—and how—the existence of a viable remediation economy can benefit NWT residents and businesses.

The feedback from the engagement will help the GNWT and the federal government better understand the steps and government supports that are needed to position Northern and Indigenous companies to compete for and benefit from opportunities in the remediation sector, and to plan and take action to realize this potential, leveraging existing programs where possible.

NWT residents and business owners are being encouraged to complete surveys now available on the GNWT’s Have Your Say engagement platform.

Photo (courtesy of Dominion Diamond Corporation) shows the Ekati mine, 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife.

Watch 50-minute video recording of remediation economy presentation.

Take the survey.

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