Communities First: Ensuring People-Driven Economic Development in Canada’s Arctic

The Conference Board of Canada, March 14, 2017
Recorded Webinar
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Canada’s Arctic is vast. Yet despite making up over 40% of our landmass and being home to more than 100,000 people, Canada’s north remains somewhat of a mystery to most of us. Indeed, this huge geographical area is still most commonly thought of in the same terms that were used by the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould in his 1967 radio documentary, The Idea of North: “[L]ike all but a very few Canadians … I’ve had no direct confrontation with the Northern third of our country. I’ve remained, of necessity, an outsider, and the North has remained for me a convenient place to dream about, spin tall tales about sometimes, and, in the end, avoid.”

However, as the Earth changes, so too must our attitudes towards our great northern territories. The fine print of new business development models and government policies, have tended to view the advent of human-driven climate change as the opening of an imaginary “final frontier” that is now ripe for extraction and, ultimately, exploitation.

Webinar Highlights

In this interactive and lively discussion, we will consider and examine an alternative approach to development that seeks to understand the Canadian Arctic first and foremost through its people, namely the Inuit, and argues for economic development that is truly people-driven. In this 60-minute webinar you will learn about:

  • Key demographics of the area that are vital for any individual or organization seeking to understand more about the Arctic, or anyone looking to develop business in the north.
  • The major challenges and obstacles to economic development in the region, and how to avoid these common pitfalls.
  • Successful ventures whose achievement is truly people-driven.
  • The many opportunities that exist for business development that exist in the Arctic

About Jean-François

Photo of Jean-François ArteauJean-François Arteau, Ad. E., is an international expert on Arctic issues, a founding partner of Kesserwan Arteau, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He regularly collaborates with the Henry Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA), in the capacity of Expert Adviser on Arctic issues. From 1998 to 2012, Jean-François served as the Assistant Director General and Director of the Legal Department of the Kativik Regional Government, and Legal Advisor and Executive Assistant to the President of Makivik Corporation. From 2012 to 2015, he served as Vice-President to Housing Development with the Quebec Housing Corporation, before becoming a Special Advisor to the Associate Secretary General of the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat of the Government of Quebec. Jean-François was also the Chief Negotiator for the historic Sanarrutik Agreement, as well as Assistant Chief Negotiator for the creation of a Nunavik Regional Government, which continues to inspire other Indigenous groups in Quebec to achieve their own self-determination. Through the course of his professional career, Jean-François has developed policies on environmental issues, the impacts of climate change on the Inuit way-of-life, and on access to natural resources of the region. The policies he has developed have assisted Inuit leaders in making stronger decisions, while implementing innovative initiatives and programs to help meet the challenges and priorities of Nunavik Inuit.

About Karina

Photo of Karina KesserwanKarina Kesserwan co-founded Kesserwan Arteau with Jean-François Arteau in 2016 after two years of managing her own practice. She is a graduate of McGill University’s combined Bachelor of Civil Law and Bachelor of Laws program, and holds a Certificate in Mining Law from Osgoode Hall Law School. She has pursued graduate studies in ethics and sociology and is currently writing a master’s thesis on aboriginal governance in the context of mining development. She has previously worked in a boutique law office specialized in Aboriginal law, and served as policy advisor to two Quebec Ministers responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. Her responsibilities included the Plan Nord file, negotiations on the Agreement on Governance in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory, and Indigenous-government relations. This experience has allowed her to travel extensively throughout Northern Quebec and build trusting relationships with political and social leaders of aboriginal communities. She is also familiar with Northern Ontario, having resided in Sudbury, where she lectured at Laurentian University’s Department of Law and Justice.

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