Government of Nunavut business plan sheds light on economic challenges
October 13, 2012
The 2012-2015 Government of Nunavut outlines economic challenges and government goals.
Some salient features of the plan are noted below:
- Nunavut has Canada’s youngest and one of the fastest growing populations, totaling 33,322 in 2011. The proportion of people under 20 years is roughly twice as high in Nunavut as the rest of Canada.
- The rate of violent crime is roughly 5 times higher in Nunavut than the rest of Canada. It is mostly attributable to abuse of alcohol.
- In 2011, commodity prices continued to recover from their recession-low attained in March 2009. This led to a 40% rise in mineral exploration spending in Nunavut.
- Nunavut has excellent petroleum potential. Current estimates place its conventional undiscovered resources at 25 percent of Canada’s conventional crude oil resources and 34 percent of Canada’s conventional natural gas resources. No exploration is underway in Nunavut at the current time.
- On average for July to September 2011, the number of employed people in Nunavut was estimated at 11,700. The labour force participation rate was 55.9% while the unemployment rate was estimated at 17.2%. In September 2011, the employment rate was 46.1% for Inuit and 90.1% for non-Inuit.
- The creation of the Nunavut Territory in 1999 with its Inuit majority (84%) provides a unique opportunity to safeguard one of Canada’s strongest Aboriginal languages.
- For all educational attainment indicators, except trades and college, Inuit Canadians aged 24-64 are significantly behind non-Aboriginal Canadians. Overall, just 31% of Inuit Nunavummiut reported that they have some post-secondary education compared to 61% of non-Aboriginal Canadians.
- Nunavut is one hundred percent reliant on imported fossil fuels for all of its energy. In 2009-10, the GN imported 171 million litres of fuel. The three major uses of fossil fuels in Nunavut are transportation (64 million litres), heating (63 million litres), and electricity generation (44 million litres).
- Air transportation is the only year-round means to access communities, other regions and the rest of Canada. There are no roads between communities in Nunavut. All Nunavut communities depend on access to the sea for annual re-supply and participation in traditional harvesting.
- Released in October 2010, it revealed details of a known shortage of housing for Nunavummiut:
• 35 % of Nunavut homes are overcrowded;
• 23% of Nunavut homes are in need of major repairs;
• Approximately 4% of the population (1,220 individuals) is “homeless” - living
temporarily in another person’s dwelling.
- The survey found that almost half of occupied dwellings were below housing standards, meaning they were either crowded or in need of major repair or a combination of both.
The challenges for Nunavut are numerous and pressing. Investments are needed in the housing sector, port and energy production infrastructure. Education and skills training of Nunavummiut is critically important.
With several large development projects on the horizon the Inuit of Nunavut are poised to take advantage of a stronger economy.