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December 2015
FemNorthNet Awarded Knowledge Synthesis Grant
FemNorthNet researchers have been awarded a SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant to deepen our understanding of the gendered impacts of resource extraction in Canada's North. We have learned about the challenges diverse women face when resource extraction projects are located in their communities and about the actions they take to mitigate negative impacts. This $25,000 grant will take our knowledge one step further. We're asking: what are governments, companies, and community organizations doing to ensure projects are evolving with a gendered, intersectional perspective?
 
A literature review and meetings with government and non-government organizations will produce information for a final report and policy issue papers that focus in on key issues with recommendations for moving forward. Jane Stinson and Deborah Stienstra kicked off this work in Ottawa on December 7 meeting with government representatives, researchers, and community organizations to share existing FemNorthNet resources. FemNorthNet is confident this project will support the creation of space for women's voices, ideas, and skills to shape more successful, less harmful resource extraction operations in northern Canada.
 
Watch for related resources on our website in 2016 at  www.femnorthnet.ca.
Image of wetlands in northern Alberta by Gord McKenna _2010_
Local Meets Global: Imagining an intersectional response to mobility and migration issues facing northern women
By Rachel Kohut and Tahnee Prior

It was with great pleasure that Tahnee and I were able to participate in the FemNorthNet webinar on migration and mobility. We left the presentation feeling slightly overwhelmed by the number of issues facing women in northern communities, but also left inspired by the depth, sincerity and passion that the presenters brought to the discussion. It is evidence-based, constructive, collaborative and intersectional dialogue like this that will foster unique solutions to complex problems, driving change in communities. 
From the experiences of disabled women in remote communities to employment mobility across northern regions to the precarious situation of indigenous women fleeing violence in communities, the webinar addressed a wide range of issues. The take away point at the beginning of the webinar was: you can't talk about women in northern communities unless you talk about how a wide range of issues intersect, diverge and, at times, collide, into one another. That is what an intersectional discussion brings to the table and anything less, misses the bigger picture... 
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Rachel Kohut is a second year law student at McGill University. Tahnee Prior is a 2015 Trudeau Scholar and PhD candidate at the Balsillie School for International Affairs. Together they recently launched a platform called Plan A to foster dialogue between women across the Arctic.
Community Updates
Thompson, MB

Vale has announced they will be shutting down the Thompson nickel smelter and refinery in 2018. From that point forward, nickel mined in Manitoba will be shipped elsewhere for processing. The shutdown is a result of Vale being unable to meet federal sulphur dioxide emissions standards at the Thompson plant as well as the falling price of nickel in global markets. A project to expand mining operations in the Thompson area has been put on hold until the price of nickel recovers.
 
In spite of regional operation closures, Vale recently renewed it's commitment to hire 100% of its workers from northern Manitoba and the Province of Manitoba is still committed to building a trades training centre in Thompson . The Industrial Skills and Trades Training Centre will host both high school and post-secondary students in an array of trades programs, including electrical and electronic technology, civil and computer-aided drafting, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, instrumentation technicians, carpentry, plumbing and facilities technicians.
Photo of the blue and white_ three-storey J.R. Smallwood Middle School in Wabush owned by Cliffs Mining Company.
J.R. Smallwood Middle School in Wabush was sponsored by Cliffs Natural Resources.
Labrador West, NL

In Wabush, the town that neighbours Labrador West, Mayor Colin Vardy is rallying residents to pressure Cliffs Natural Resources not to dismantle their local iron ore mine. Wabush mine ceased operations in 2014 and now Cliffs has submitted an environmental assessment in order to allow them to totally decommission the mine site (tear down buildings and infrastructure) and rehabilitate it. 

Cliffs will also tear down the two apartment complexes, office, and middle school they own if these assets can not be sold. Mayor Vardy says without this infrastructure in place, it will be harder to attract a new company to Wabush mine. Cliffs did try to sell the property to MFC Industrial in 2014, but the deal ultimately fell through. As many people in Labrador West rely on jobs and income generated by local mining activities, the closure of Wabush mine continues to impact them, as would the loss of infrastructure.
Sign marking entrance to 5 Wing Goose Bay base.
Happy Valley - Goose Bay, NL

Residents in Happy Valley - Goose Bay were also rallying, but this time it was not about the economy - it was about welcoming Syrian refugees. Many community members supported MP Yvonne Jones' proposal to use the nearby 5 Wing Goose Bay, a former air forces base, as a processing centre for some of the Syrian refugees who would be entering Canada before the end of the year. 

Since the proposal was first tabled, the Canadian government has delayed their target of accepting 25,000 refugees. Canada will now only take about 10,000 refugees before the end of the year and will use facilities in Ontario, Quebec, and overseas for processing. Although 5 Wing Goose Bay is not needed right now, Jones said it may be needed in the future should acceptance rates increase again.
COMING SOON!
FemNorthNet members have been busy working away on new resources about diverse women and northern resource development. Here's a sneak peek at the resources that will be released in early 2016!
 
The Dirt on Clean Energy video will explore the costs of installing hydroelectric dams to generate "clean" energy, using the installation at Muskrat Falls as a case study.
 
The Building Links Among Women documentary will build upon our critique of hydroelectric power by revealing the ways diverse women in communities neighbouring Muskrat Falls are impacted by the development and capturing the reactions of women from Nova Scotia who will eventually be using the power generated by the dam.
 
A new group of Migration, Immigration, and Mobility themed fact sheets will explore the effects of fly-in/fly-out communities on diverse women, the high rates of violence and domestic violence in the North, the efficacy of support systems for ageing people in the North, and the impact of resource extraction industries on housing markets and what communities can do to become more resilient to waves of economic "boom and bust".
 
Our summative FemNorthNet fact sheet series entitled Resource Development in Northern Communities; Local Women Matter will also be released. This series explores the legacy of colonialism in the North, the changing roles and experiences of diverse northern women, and how resource extraction policies, programs, and practices affect these women, their families, and communities. We also explore alternative models of resource-based economic development that support women and help to build sustainable communities.
...and more!
Other News
NEW Report - "I Wanted a Career, Not a Job"

Resource development projects in Canada almost always occur on traditional Aboriginal territories and it is important to ensure benefits for Aboriginal communities are discussed as part of the negotiations. Promises of short-term employment for their members are not enough - they want to know people will receive the training and support they need to secure longer-term and more highly skilled positions in the future.
 
A new report by Suzanne Mills, "I Wanted a Career, Not a Job", examines the strategies used by Moose Cree First Nation to negotiate a stronger employment package for Aboriginal workers on the Lower Mattagami River Hydro Project, led by Ontario Power Generation. It also takes a look at the outcomes of negotiations: the challenges, successes, and impacts on Aboriginal employees (with specific mention of the unique experiences of Aboriginal women).

Northern Studies Scholarship Opportunity

The Canadian Northern Studies Trust (CNST) is the student awards program of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS). It was established in 1982 to further the Association's mandate to advance knowledge and understanding of Canada's North by offering student awards for exceptional northern-based research. 
 
These awards range from $2,500 to $50,000.  Applications for 2016-2017 awards are now open. Deadline to apply is January 29, 2016. For more information visit www.acuns.ca.
FemNorthNet | Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women 
240 Catherine Street, Suite 201, Ottawa ON K2P 2G8 
www.femnorthnet.ca
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