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May 2016
Inside this edition...

  • 10 fascinating new fact sheets that illustrate the evolution of resource development in the North, the impacts, and the role of diverse, local women
  • New report on women temporary foreign workers in Canada's North
  • Interviews with Noreen Careen, Director of the Labrador West Status of Women Centre, about how Labrador West is changing
  • New documentary "Building Links Among Women" is coming to a screen near you
  • FemNorthNet news and more!
Celebrating Six Years of Innovative Research
The Feminist Northern Network (FemNorthNet), a project of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW-ICREF), is celebrating six years of innovative and intersectional participatory action research. FemNorthNet's research highlighted the experiences of diverse women in the north to illustrate an intersectional analysis on economic development and resource extraction.
FemNorthNet brought together a diverse group of women from the north with diverse women in the south. Our community research and action centered on the experiences of women in 5 northern communities - Thompson and Norway House, Manitoba, Labrador West and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. Community leaders from La Loche, SK participated initially but withdrew to give more attention to pressing needs at home. 
Our Network has grown to include about 40 community leaders, researchers and activists, over 30 students and 20 academic researchers. We engaged hundreds of women as participants in our activities and reached thousands of people through the distribution of our materials and social media presence.
Northern women are strong and resourceful.  Many are important leaders in their communities.  And they face challenges of limited social and physical infrastructure, being relatively invisible in national dialogues and with their communities being seen as places to take resources from but not to seriously invest in.
Northern women taught us to pay attention to the health and wellbeing of communities and those who were being left out of the economic boom, to not just focus on the jobs expected from economic development in the north.
Our research found a shift away from setting up a community around resource extraction in favour of Fly in - Fly out operations where workers are flown between home and temporary housing at the job site. Governments continue to neglect the interests of northern communities by not requiring community impact assessments, not monitoring cumulative impacts on communities over time, and not requiring corporate contributions to local communities.  Where there are agreements about impacts and benefits they are private and confidential, largely between corporations and Indigenous nations.
Many Network members wanted to influence local decision makers about economic development.  We supported local women's capacity to engage in decision-making related to economic development and resource extraction in their northern community.
We learned that northern women who question economic development plans often feel isolated.  The Network helped to provide support and to build links and understanding among northern women and between northern and southern women.  It underlined the structural importance of women's centres and women's programs to continue to do so.
A key finding is how difficult it is and how long it takes to significantly influence economic development plans.  Longstanding, interconnected systems of inequality like colonialism and capitalism in Canada are based on resource extraction in the north.  Some benefit greatly from resource extraction and resist alternatives that favour long term sustainability over short term profits.
This highlights the need for structural mechanisms that enable local women to voice their concerns about economic development in northern communities.
Our research underscored the importance of having enforceable Environmental and Community Impact Assessments. The current system needs to be improved and expanded to include community assessments. A gender plus impacts analysis must be required. This means, corporations and governments need to identify and monitor the
  • impacts on diverse women
  • cumulative impacts on community well-being and change over time,
  • impacts on social infrastructure and
  • on community diversity.
And they need to ensure action to mitigate negative impacts.
Our intersectional approach stimulated a range of methods including art, posters, workshops, meeting, presentations, fact sheets, videos, webinars and publications. We reached a wide audience including marginalized women, local decision makers, policy makers, other researchers, students, national and community organizations.  
We produced over 80 research documents from clear language, short fact sheets to scholarly articles. We released 40 videos and held over 40 workshops or public events, and over 20 webinars and film screenings. We were committed to making our findings accessible by formatting written materials so they could be read by screen readers, providing closed captioning of videos, providing some materials in Braille and translated into Indigenous languages.
FemNorthNet's research has shown the importance of making northern communities more sustainable.  We disagree with former Prime Minister Jean Chretian's April 2016 comments that the solution for northern residents facing challenges is to move to a less isolated location.  That approach only continues the colonial practice of displacing northern residents rather than using the benefits of resource extraction to invest in northern communities. 

Written by Deborah Stienstra and Jane Stinson, FemNorthNet Co-Directors
Wabush mine site on a cold winter morning
Wabush Mine, as seen from Labrador West
Energy & Resource Extraction in the North: What's gender got to do with it? 

Few researchers or government ministries are looking at the gendered or intersectional impacts of energy and resource extraction on northern communities, according to FemNorthNet's recent literature review and environmental scan conducted through a SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis grant. Yet resource development and extraction activities are having significant impacts on Northern and remote communities and the diverse women who live there. Women and men in marginalized groups are least able to derive benefits.
Current mechanisms such as Environmental Impact Assessments and Impact Benefit Agreements do not require an intersectional, gender analysis. As a result the specific needs of diverse women, including social infrastructure and community needs, may be left out of these important mechanisms to mitigate negative impacts.
Two policy issue papers are being developed to promote intersectional, gender-based analysis and to develop a better understanding of current impacts. Government and non-government representatives will be invited to webinars to discuss these policy issues in late May.  The discussions will inform revision of the papers.
The project wraps up in June with a SSHRC/Natural Resources Canada meeting in Calgary and the submission of a final report on this research.
You will be able to find the documents developed through this SSHRC grant on the CRIAW FemNorthNet web site in future.
Why Canada needs Gender Based Analysis in our Environmental Assessments

In early May 2016, FemNorthNet made a submission to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women regarding "Gender Based Analysis in the Federal Government". Members of FemNorthNet conducted extensive research that revealed the lack of gender based analysis in the assessment of resource development and extraction projects through a Knowledge Synthesis grant from SSHRC awarded to Deborah Stienstra (2015-16). Our brief focused on the need for Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in Environmental Assessment (EA) processes in Canada. The brief summarizes our research findings about the current state of gender-based analysis in EA processes across Canada, discusses how GBA+ could be better integrated into EA processes, and emphasizes the fact that GBA+ could mitigate negative impacts of resource development and extraction projects on diverse northern women.
New Publications & Videos
Resource Development in Northern Communities;
Local Women Matter

After more than five years of storytelling, researching, and workshopping around the impacts of resource extraction in Canada's North, for FemNorthNet it all boils down to this truth: Local. Women. Matter.
The members of FemNorthNet at a 2013 meeting in Ottawa.
To encapsulate all that we've learned, Network Co-Lead Jane Stinson has produced a beautiful series of ten fact sheets that illustrate the evolution of resource extraction and "development" in the North, the ongoing legacy of colonization, the unique impacts these related processes have on diverse northern women, and how these women are choosing to resist, reshape, and reimagine northern development for the wellbeing of their communities.
#1 - Introduction & Overview
#2 - Local Relationships with the Land and Water
#3 - Colonialism and its Impacts
#4 - How Colonialism Affects Women
#5 - Displaced from their Land for Resource Extraction
#6 - Modern Resource Extraction
#7 - Northern Communities Models that Value Local Women
#8 - How Local Women and Northern Communities can Benefit from Resource Extraction
#9 - Women Improving Community Well-Being
#10 - Imagining Alternatives for Sustainable Development

Women Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada's North

Canada_s Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Women Migrant Workers in Canada_s North report
The Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) in Canada has been shaped over many decades and has sparked numerous controversies as our understanding of human rights evolves, our national economy shifts, and the dangers workers are left vulnerable to are exposed. 

In FemNorthNet's newest report, our Migration, Immigration and Mobility theme group takes a look at the women who participate in the TFWP and how global economics, Canadian policies, gender stereotypes, and placement location affects their opportunities and experiences within the program. Unique to their analysis is discussion about the experiences of women TFWP participants who are placed in jobs in the North, a demographic that is rarely considered in critiques of the TFWP program.

Noreen Careen, Executive Director of the Labrador West Status of Women Centre
A Lifetime of "Boom" & "Bust": Noreen Careen reflects on 40 years in Labrador West, NL

In a new interview-based audio series from our Migration, Immigration and Mobility theme group, Noreen Careen, long-time Executive Director of the Labrador West Status of Women Centre, reflects on how Labrador West has changed over the 40 years since she migrated there from mainland Newfoundland. Noreen expresses her love for her home and northern living, while also speaking candidly about the many challenges the community now faces. This series will be of great interest to anyone who wants to better understand how resource industries can build, dismantle, and totally reshape northern communities overnight.
Series Titles:
  • Demographic Change in Labrador West (2:48)
  • Women in Mining in Labrador West (4:26)
  • Social Networks and Social Isolation in Labrador West (5:23)
  • Resource Boom Challenges in Labrador West (6:37)
  • Impacts of Mining Bust in Labrador West (5:31) 
Building Links Among Women: Being in Right Relationship in the Resource Development Agenda

FemNorthNet's feature length documentary is coming to a screen near you this summer!
Follow along as a group of diverse women from Nova Scotia travel to the site of a new hydroelectric installation at Muskrat Falls in Labrador. With Labradorian women as their guides, the travelers learn where the electricity that will power their homes and communities in the near future is coming from and come to understand the toll this dam is taking on the local environment, economy, and social fabric.
Produced by M'ikmaq filmmaker Catherine Martin, this moving documentary will leave you grappling with some important questions as the world begins to shift away from use of fossil fuels. What is the price we pay for "green" energy? How should local communities be prepared for and involved in "green" power developments? Are the costs of green power worth the overall benefits?
Other FemNorthNet News
FNN student researcher Susan Manning receives prestigious doctoral scholarships

Susan Manning participating in FemNorthNet's Building Links Tour in 2014
A big congratulation is in order for FemNorthNet student researcher Susan Manning who is the recent recipient of not one, but two scholarships to finance her PhD research! Manning will be receiving the SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship for $35,000 a year for three years as well as a Dalhousie University President's Award, which covers the first two years of Manning's tuition.
Manning will be undertaking her PhD in Political Science at Dalhousie University under the supervision of Deborah Stienstra (FemNorthNet Co-Chair) and David Black. Her thesis builds upon her research within FemNorthNet using Happy Valley-Goose Bay as a case study to analyze resource extraction regulatory processes and identify changes to better address the negative social and economic effects that often accompany resource mega-projects in Northern communities. Manning aims to give voice to community members who have been negatively affected by mega-projects, to provide an intersectional perspective currently missing in regulatory and assessment processes, and to develop a tool to assist policy makers in creating more just and ethical regulatory processes.
Asked to comment on this well-deserved recognition, Manning said, " I was very excited to hear about my scholarships! I am grateful for the financial support to continue my graduate studies and happy to continue to pursue research interests that developed out of my involvement with FemNorthNet." We look forward to seeing the positive impact your future research will have, Susan!
Caroline Andrew Receives the Eugène de Mazenod Award
Caroline Andrew and the Director of St. Paul University at a graduation ceremony (Source: Le Droit)
On April 28th, FemNorthNet Research Lead Caroline Andrew was awarded the Eugène de Mazenod Medal in recognition of her contributions towards the development of human capital in our society. In delivering the award, the Dean of Social Sciences at the University of St. Paul specifically highlighted Andrew's work with Avenir Jeunnesse, a program that encourages youth from diverse backgrounds to pursue post-secondary education and provides mentorship along with opportunities for leadership development, volunteerism, and work experience.
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