June 16, 2023


Inuit businesses and workers could benefit from defence infrastructure build in the North

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, pressure has been mounting from all directions for Ottawa to up its defence game, says the chair of the Inuit Development Corporation Association.

Assuming the federal government eventually succumbs to this reasonable international and national pressure, Harry Flaherty wondered what form should Canada’s increased defence and security spending take? Where could it have the most impact?

In a well-researched and reasoned article published this week in the Globe and Mail, Flaherty suggested one of the answers to this question lies in the North, in Inuit Nunangat — the Inuit homeland. 

Flaherty noted the presence of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Arctic is much smaller in comparison to Russia’s polar military efforts. 

A more robust presence of the Canadian Armed Forces in our Arctic regions would strengthen the position of the Northwest Passage as an internal waterway fully under Canadian jurisdiction.

One positive sign of change this came in the form of Defence Minister Anita Anand recently unveiling the DND’s new Indigenous Reconciliation Program, with a focus on northern/Arctic sovereignty.

In 2022, Anand announced Canada's $38.6 billion plan to modernize North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) over the next two decades.

She stated it was the largest investment in Canada's NORAD capabilities in a generation. It includes upgrades to four NORAD operating locations: Inuvik, Goose Bay, Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

"Inuit-owned businesses and Inuit workers would be at the heart of a defence-focused infrastructure program," Flaherty stated. "Inuit know the Arctic like no others. We are willing and ready to step up and contribute our traditional knowledge of Inuit Nunangat to the defence of our lands and communities."


DID YOU KNOW: Great Bear Lake is home to rare lake trout ecosystem?

Great Bear Lake’s subsistence fishery is very important to the community of Délıne It is also home to trophy-size lake trout, which is important to the local economy.

The lake contains a wide diversity of "morphotypes" or forms of lake trout, which allow populations to better adapt to environmental changes over the long term, states the 2023 Sahtu Land Use Guide.

This diversity has been extinguished or greatly reduced in the other great lakes due to over-harvesting and the introduction of non-native species.

Restrict(ions) are in place to protect the pristine nature of Great Bear Lake, the importance of its subsistence and trophy fisheries, and its importance as a benchmark for natural trout-lake ecosystem dynamics.

IN THE PHOTO ABOVE: Ryan Gregory holds a 42-pound lake trout he helped an 85-year-old guest catch while guiding for Plummer’s Lodge on Great Bear Lake in 2019. The photo was with a story in NNSL on Gregory’s Fish’N the Arctic TV show, which had a limited run on Northwestel Community TV throughout the NWT and the Yukon.

Could artificial intelligence help ease mental strain in the workplace?

Higher workplace stress among Canadians is contributing to a surge in mental-health issues that could result in losses of more than $200 billion a year in this country, according to a recent report detailed by Victoria Wells, senior editor at Financial Post.

Younger workers are being hit especially hard, with 40 per cent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 saying they are at a "breaking point."

But the problem isn't merely among gen-Zers, since 78 per cent of all employees say they've suffered from burnout during at least one point in their careers, and one in three feel they're currently at the end of their rope when it comes to workplace stress, a study by recruiter Express Employment Professional said.

The result? Workers are disengaging or even heading for the exits, which hurts companies' bottom lines. It's thought that emerging artificial intelligence software could help reduce the strain of mundane tasks. However, there are also fears that AI could result in white-collar layoffs.

The Rotary Club of Yellowknife extends an invitation to businesses in the North Slave region who would want to participate in this year's Community Parade on Canada Day. The route map was issued this week.


The beautiful, beleaguered and bankrupt Blachford Lake Lodge is set to come up for sale soon.

BDO Canada will spend until July 14 courting serious bidders, with final offers due by July 19 and the sale hopefully closing by Sept. 5.

What will Blachford Lake Lodge sell for?

  • <$1M - 33%
  • >$1M to <$2M - 34%
  • >$2M to <$3M - 17%
  • >$3M to <$4M - 4%
  • > $4M - 12%


"We also want them to be thinking about, if they're working in the North, what that means. And that the solution should be coming from here, the voices should be coming from here."

— Jackie Challis, Inuvik's director of economic development and tourism, tells CBC North during the 2023 Arctic Development Expo this week, on introducing southern companies to how business works in the North.

"Collaboration is the only way to work here in the North."

"When we began the process of revitalization, back in 2017, the market and industry looked very different. But you know, we are where we are now."

— Finance & ITI Minister Caroline Wawzonek in a Cabin Radio newsfeature on work to rebuild the NWT's freshwater fishing industry, centred around new $10M plant Hay River. She continued:

"We have this opportunity. And I’m hoping that having the plant open will be a catalyst to get the production numbers up."

"It is not just an issue for Hay River, it is an issue up the valley on how they get their fuel in there and what the cost of living is, right?"

— Hay River Mayor Kandis Jameson, quoted by CBC North story as the GNWT issued tender documents for emergency dredging in the community's harbour, after a decade of neglect. She continued:

"If you have to fly in fuel, it's going to be a lot more expensive than getting it up and through MTS and on the barges."


Friday Futures:

  • The NWT Chamber's golf tournament returns Friday, August 18 at the Yellowknife Golf Club. After 18 holes, participants will be treated to a reception with a silent auction and a delicious meal. More details here. Please save the date for this important fundraiser for the NWT Chamber. Also, keep in mind that event sponsorship is an opportunity to show your support for the NWT Chamber!

  • To celebrate the NWT Chamber's 50th anniversary this year, a major one-day conference and evening reception is being planned for Sept. 29. Stay tuned for information.

The next NWT Chamber Board meeting is June 22 at 11am in-person or Zoom

You can now find the archive of the NWT Chamber's newsletters here


Inquire with the NWT Chamber's Executive Director about sponsorship and newsletter advertising opportunities. We also offer limited numbers of EBlasts to members each month and promoted social media posts can be arranged.

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