Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic
It is hard to believe that we are writing the sixth annual issue of the ReSDA newsletter. This issue provides updates on a few new research projects and highlights of some completed projects. It summarizes some of the key discussions from the 2016 Annual ReSDA workshop in Ottawa. This was the largest gathering of ReSDA network members and included various government representatives to help us evaluate and shape the policy recommendations from this work. We want to thank all of the people who participated and shared their knowledge, experiences, research linkages and ideas to support the final activities of the ReSDA project. Information from the various sectors will help us in the final reporting. We will document some of the best practices and policy implications for the various topics examined by the network. We always welcome additional feedback or suggestions that might support this work to provide an inclusive and comprehensive summary.
ReSDA is now in its seventh year of operations and many of our network members are completing their research, writing reports and papers and presenting final results at various events. We will be holding a final workshop in Whitehorse on October 18-20, 2017. This will provide final results, policy alert briefs and some smaller workshop sessions to share tools, methods and experiences in northern social science research. Some of the details of the workshop are provided in this newsletter or on the ReSDA website (resda.ca/Whitehorse2017). This will be an opportunity for community members, researchers, partners, government and private sector groups to engage in discussions on this research, the implications of the results and ideas for future directions.
We continue to share information on network activities through various means including the website, Facebook page, You tube channel, meetings and other events. We are putting together a results issue of the Northern Review so we are hoping for many papers to be published in the open access journal. Finally, the ReSDA Atlas site now has a new location and can be found at resda.yukoncollege.yk.ca.
Inside this issue
The past year has been an extremely active one for ReSDA. Perhaps the most important work was the preparation of a proposal for a second phase of ReSDA – Social Innovation for Sustainability in Arctic Resource Development, or SISARD. To prepare for this proposal we had meetings with partners in many areas of the Canadian North. The proposal was submitted in February. Unfortunately, we have now been informed that the proposal was not accepted in this year’s competition. At the same time, SSHRC has extended ReSDA’s funding for another year which means we can apply again February 2018. Initial indications are that this is what people would like to do and as a result it is something we will be talking about at the Whitehorse workshop.
We have been quite active in knowledge sharing activities with continued work on plain language summaries, video clips on our You Tube channel, and presentations and meetings with partners in various communities in the Canadian North. We have also been active internationally through our active participation in ArcticFROST’s 2016 Workshop in Vienna, the UArctic Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, the 2017 Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences in Toronto, and most recently, the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences in Umea Sweden where ReSDA was invited to participate in the opening plenary.
This year has also been one where we have been quite active in preparing our research results for publication in various academic venues. A book based on our gap analysis reports should be published within the year. We are organizing another special edition of the Northern Review and we have been asked to prepare a special section based on our research for the Canadian Journal of Development Studies.
Finally, as described elsewhere in this newsletter, three new subprojects have been started over the past year dealing with housing, waste management, and well-being indicators.
We look forward to seeing many of you at the workshop in Whitehorse where we will be discussing the findings of on-going research projects but also discussing options for the future in terms of social science and humanities research dealing with resource development in the Arctic.
Presentations and Publications
The International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS) is a conference put on once every three years by the International Arctic Social Sciences Association. It aims to gather researchers from all over the world to share ideas and findings related to social science research in the Arctic. ICASS IX was held at Umeå, Sweden June 8-12, 2017 under the theme of “People & Place.” At this event, a number of the researchers presented on ReSDA and related research topics. You can read the abstracts for some of these presentations at the ICASS IX site at www.trippus.se/eventus/userfiles/83289.pdf. The opening plenary was a panel on Extractive Resource Development and Sustainability in the Arctic. Chris Southcott began the discussions by sharing details on the ReSDA network activities. This session was recorded and is available for viewing on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW-Pm-d4l4M.
ReSDA researchers Chris Southcott, Frances Abele, David Natcher & Brenda Parlee’s article, “What do we need to know about extractive resources in the North?” was featured in the October 2016 issue of Northern Public Affairs.
“A guide for mobile mine workers” by Gertrude Saxinger and Susanna Gartler’s as well as “Food security and mining in Nunatsiavut” co-authored by Suzanne Mills were featured in the April 2017 issue of Northern Public Affairs. All Northern Public Affairs magazines are open access and can be found at http://www.northernpublicaffairs.ca/index/magazine/.
ReSDA research was shared through presentations at Yukon College and Aurora College. In November 2016, Chris Southcott gave a presentation on ReSDA at the Yellowknife Campus of Aurora College. In March 2017, Gertrude Saxinger and Susanna Gartler did a presentation at Yukon College on the Labour Mobility and Community Participation in the Extractive Industry project that is being done in the Yukon.
The ReSDA Atlas site is now being hosted by Yukon College and can now be found at http://resda.yukoncollege.yk.ca. A guidebook has been created to help with navigating the site and is available at resda.ca/resda-atlas. You will also find summaries of the mine sites across the North. We will be posting the final results of the ReSDA research on the site. We welcome any additional information or other materials that you think might be relevant to post on the site.
Theme 4 – Sustainable Environments
Project Lead: Bruno Wichmann (University of Alberta )
Team members: Brenda Parlee (University of Alberta) and Todd Godfrey (M.A. Candidate, University of Alberta) and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC)
This project builds on a previous ReSDA project led by Andrey Petrov and its report on socio-economic impacts of developments in the Inuvialuit region. It seeks to develop a more detailed analysis of socioeconomic data from existing databases and data sets to understand trends of economic sustainability in the Inuvialuit Region.
The research team will also collaborate with the IRC to develop additional indicators, data collection methodologies, and tools for community-based wellbeing monitoring. The ultimate goal is to develop a tool to enable the IRC and local communities to analyze data themselves and predict how socio-economic factors influence aspects of regional sustainability. www.resda.ca/socio-economic-indicators.
Theme 2 – Sustainable Communities
Project leads: Lisa Freeman (Kwantlen Polytechnic University) and Julia Christensen (Roskilde University)
Student Assistant: Vanessa Sloan Morgan, Queen’s University
Housing insecurity has been a concern in the Northwest Territories since the mid-20th century. Chronic housing need is worsening in many settlement communities while homelessness is on the rise in urbanizing northern centres. There has been significant public concern regarding the impact that oil, gas and diamond mining industries have on accessible and affordable housing, particularly in Inuvik and Yellowknife.
With a focus on the NWT, this research aims to explore current policies on public and subsidized housing and analyze the impacts that non-renewable resource development has on affordable, private housing. It will also explore means to mitigate negative impact, which may include recommending policy collaborations between northern communities, governments, and industry as well as requirements for industry to include housing affordability plans within corporate responsibility portfolios. Read more at www.resda,ca/housing-communities-and-resource-development.
Theme 4 – Sustainable Environments
Project Lead: Catherine Keske (Memorial University of Newfoundland – Grenfell Campus )
Team members: Morgon Mills (PhD Candidate, Memorial University of Newfoundland—Labrador Institute),
Joinal Abedin (Memorial University of Newfoundland—Labrador Institute) and Student assistant: Jason Dicker (M.A. Candidate, Memorial University—Grenfell Campus)
This project is a collaboration with the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay (HVGB) to explore the impacts and opportunities associated with the waste generated by resource development, focusing on waste from Muskrat Falls. It seeks to provide a holistic economic analysis on the HVGB region’s waste management and fill a gap in knowledge on waste from resource development projects and the possible benefits from resource development.
The project’s results may help to understand the implications of waste from resource development for Northern communities more broadly, as they share challenges such as poor access to transportation and small, dispersed communities, as well as similar socio-economic, and political circumstances. This is particularly true near resource development projects and in locations that house workers associated with the projects. More details at resda.ca/waste-management-and-resource-development/
Jason Dicker is an Inuk from Nain, Nunatsiavut. He grew up on the north coast of Labrador in surrounded by Arctic wildlife and wilderness. Jason recently completed his B.A. in Environmental Studies program at Memorial University of Newfoundland—Grenfell, and will be pursuing a Masters degree in Environmental Policy at Memorial University in the fall. He is currently working as a research assistant on the ReSDA project led by Catherine Keske on sustainable waste management in northern communities in the context of resource developments. Jason has been developing a database and annotated bibliography of waste management in arctic regions of Canada. He is assisting with the development of testable research questions for data collection in the project this summer. He plans to start graduate studies in the Fall of 2017 with research that builds on previous work that assesses the human impacts of the caribou hunting ban in northern Labrador.
Todd Godfrey is originally from Penticton, British Columbia. After receiving a Bachelors in Economics from Brigham Young University, he started a Masters program at the University of Alberta’s Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology studying Resource Economics.
He is working on his thesis project with Bruno Wichmann, Brenda Parlee, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). This project seeks to better understand issues related to sustainability and wellbeing in the North.
The first component of this project is the creation of a welfare model to monitor socio-economic indicators for the IRC. This model will use a system of interrelated equations to analyze how a change in one indicator will affect another. This will help the IRC more effectively work towards sustainability in their communities.
The second component of this project uses quantitative methods with data from multiple Government of Canada sources to analyze the effects of mines on the number of alcoholic drinks individuals consume. It finds a positive relationship between mines and alcohol consumption; individuals closest to mines consume the most additional alcoholic drinks and the effect decreases as individuals get farther from mines. This project is anticipated to be completed in August 2017. More details on the project at www.resda.ca/socio-economic-indicators/
Ottawa Workshop Highlights
Highlights of the Sixth Annual ReSDA Workshop
Ottawa, ON | October 2016
This workshop focused on presenting research findings and identifying ways in which they can be used to create positive, meaningful change through empowering communities and influencing policies.
Key discussion points included:
- Community inclusion in developing wellbeing indicators and monitoring is essential for long-term community self-sustainability;
- Exploration of technologies to collect and share traditional knowledge;
- The best mode of distributing rents and royalties can differ between communities, but collective investments have been the most sustainable;
- Resource development has affected Indigenous participation in subsistence activities in various ways, particularly due to new time constraints that are distributed unevenly among different members of society;
- It is essential to provide information to the mining workforce, to allow both new and older workers to cope and adapt to issues;
- We need to revisit our understandings and approach to Indigenous wellbeing and settler-Indigenous community relationships.
Recommendations by presenters and participants included:
- Focus on how the benefits from resource development can be put towards renewable ideas, sectors, local enterprises or joint-venture companies, and institutions for long-term growth;
- Conduct more localized case studies, e.g. lessons from Muskrat Falls or resource impacts on caribou populations in Ungava Peninsula;
- Continue efforts to share information with communities in plain language;
- Increase efforts to Indigenize research approaches and engage with communities on projects aimed at meeting their needs;
- Bolster communities’ ability to come up with their own education and understanding of wellbeing and big-picture issues; and
- Devote more attention towards engaging youth and including their voices.
Workshop details, presentations and final report available on the website at www.resda.ca/ottawa2016.
Upcoming Events and Knowledge Sharing Projects
We are pleased to announce that there will be a final ReSDA results issue of the Northern Review. This will be published in the Spring 2018. We are currently seeking contributors to the issue so please contact the ReSDA office if you are interested in sharing your research by providing a paper. This edition, as with all other issues of the Northern Review, will be available through Open Journal Systems hosted by Simon Fraser University. You can find details of past and current issues at www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/research/pages/the_northern_review.
Each year ReSDA organizes an annual research workshop based on a central theme. These have been held in various locations and primarily in northern regions. Previous workshops have been held in Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Iqaluit, Happy Valley Goose Bay and Kuujjuaq. The details and reports from each of these workshops are available at www.resda.ca/workshops. Last year’s workshop was held in Ottawa to allow for greater opportunity and input of those who are directly connected to policy and governance in the resource sector. This year will be the seventh ReSDA workshop, which synthesizes the work that has been done. We would like to provide opportunities for focused group sessions that target some of the specific areas addressed in the ReSDA network. Some of the session topics include:
- Community well-being, indicators and monitoring
- Economics, environments and agreements
- Policy directions
- Indigenous involvement and research partnerships
- Food security, subsistence and support
- Education and Entrepreneurship and more….
Details are posted with a draft agenda and background information. Please contact the ReSDA coordinator if you are interested. Registration details can be found on the ReSDA website at www.resda.ca/whitehorse2017.
ReSDA is dedicated to finding ways of making information from our research projects more accessible. Two new knowledge sharing projects we have started are one- to two-page project summaries and a Facebook photo series featuring researchers and their projects.
Summaries for projects can be found on their respective ReSDA webpage. The Facebook posts can be seen either on the ReSDA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReSDA.ca or on the ReSDA website at www.resda.ca/facebook-posts/. Our goal is to increase awareness and the accessibility of our research, so please feel free to share these projects with whomever may be interested!
The Coordination Team
Pitseolak Pfeifer is the Nunavut Coordinator for ReSDA for the summer of 2017. Born and raised in Iqaluit, he has been an active member of the Inuit community in Iqaluit and in Ottawa for over 25 years as an Inuit advocate, community consultant and researcher, and contributor to Arctic and Indigenous programs at postsecondary institutions. Pitseolak is pursuing a M.A. in Northern Studies at Carleton University.
He will be working on ReSDA related activities in Nunavut and is a point of contact for those working in this region.
You can reach him at :
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1
ReSDA Coordination Office
Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 5K4
NWT Northern Coordinator
Aurora Research Institute, Aurora College
Box 45, Fort Smith, NT X0E 0P0
Labrador Northern ReSDA Coordinator
Labrador Institute, MUN
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL A0P 1E0
Tel: 709 896 6394
Fax: 709 896 2970