Northern Development Ministers’ Forum


Happy Valley-Goose Bay,  Newfoundland and Labrador (February 8, 2012) –Ministers representing Canada’s northern jurisdictions met  in Happy Valley-Goose Bay this week for the Northern Development Ministers  Forum (NDMF) to discuss priority initiatives that address distinct northern  development opportunities and challenges.

Northern Directions: an Evaluation of Strategic  Planning in Canada’s North was the theme of this year’s Forum  hosted  by Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal  Affairs and Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs, the Honourable Nick  McGrath. A report supporting the theme was tabled and results of the evaluation  showed considerable similarities in strategic planning frameworks across Canada’s  northern jurisdictions.

“Economic  activity in the North is currently expanding at a rate that is unprecedented  with mining, forestry, oil and gas and hydroelectricity among the primary  economic drivers,” said Minister McGrath. “It is extremely important that our strategic  plans concentrate on both outputs and outcomes, placing an emphasis on both social  and economic development.”

Further presentations and discussions focused on priority  projects endorsed during the 2010 Forum held in Thunder Bay. Ministers agreed that  more concrete actions and results should come from the Forum’s priority  projects and consequently, a Terms  of Reference was developed for the NDMF with a more thorough consideration of  roles, mandates and overall objectives, particularly relating to Aboriginal  issues.  Ministers approved and authorized  implementation of the Terms of Reference and revised Action Plan for future forums.    

Consistent  with an objective to increase awareness of northern issues and accomplishments,  the agenda for this year’s NDMF included a day trip for Ministers where they  toured the Iron Ore Company of Canada’s (IOC) iron ore mining operation near Labrador  City, followed by a tour of Nalcor’s Churchill Falls Generating Station, one of  the largest underground powerhouses in the world.

“I  was very pleased to have had the opportunity to showcase these two major  resource development accomplishments taking place in Labrador,” said Minister  McGrath. “One of the greatest values of the Forum is learning from each  other  so that we can continue to forge positive relationships and make  headway on a prosperous future for Canada’s North.”

A final report was presented on the Aboriginal  Youth Entrepreneurial Programs and Initiatives project.  The report concluded that while programs exist in the areas of education, training and job experience, and  business financing, there is a need for further   mentoring and business information which are  important to Aboriginal youth entrepreneurial  success.

“Jurisdictions  across Canada face the common challenge of developing our northern regions in a  manner that supports a growing economy, strong communities, and a better quality  of life for residents.  Through this Forum, we share our successes and our  lessons learned in sustainable northern development.  We believe that a  strong northern region contributes to the health of our nation as a whole,”  said the Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of First Nations and Métis  Relations and Minister Responsible for Northern Affairs for Saskatchewan.   Saskatchewan is scheduled to host the next Forum in the Fall of 2012.

The  Northern Development Ministers Forum, established in 2001, provides federal,  provincial and territorial ministers representing Canada’s North an opportunity  to advance common interests and raise awareness of northern issues and  accomplishments. Reports on NDMF projects are available on the Focus North  website at

Observations  by Ministers

“The  advancement of sustainable development in Canada’s northern regions is  particularly reliant on our ability to work together as governments,” notes  Northwest Territories Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Dave  Ramsay.  “These meetings provide an opportunity to focus, develop and  strengthen our partnerships at the federal, territorial and provincial level.”

“The  Manitoba Government has been pleased to be a member of this productive Forum  from the first gathering in Happy Valley Goose Bay. My colleagues have worked  together on Northern Development issues that complement individual government  initiatives to address the challenges in Northern Communities; “   noted  Manitoba Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Eric Robinson.

“The  Northern Development Ministers Forum provided an excellent opportunity to share  ideas about how to benefit from the tremendous growth that will happen in  Northern Canada,” said Peter Taptuna, Minister of Economic Development &  Transportation for the Government of Nunavut. “The discussion at the forum has  helped me consider ways to ensure the people in my territory don’t get left  behind when big projects start up.”

“Our Government is a strong supporter of the  efforts of this Forum,” said John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and  Northern Development. “It has given us the opportunity to expand our  partnerships and cultivate new ones—partnerships that we will use to realize the  true human and economic potential of our territories and our provinces’  northern regions.”

“Our government realizes  the importance of the North to our country. It is an integral part of who we  are as Canadians. As global interest in the North increases, and as our  Northern resources become more accessible, we have many new opportunities, and  many new responsibilities,” said Minister Peter Penashue, Minister of  Intergovernmental Affairs, and Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador.  “We must find new ways to develop our abundant northern resources responsibly.  We must encourage sound economic growth and energy production for our expanding  northern communities.”

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Media  contacts:

Carol  Ann Carter                                                        
Director  of Communications                                    
Intergovernmental  and Aboriginal Affairs
Labrador  Affairs Office                      
709-729-1674,  631-9505                                                                     

Scott  Boyes
Community  – Industry Liaison
Ministry  of First Nations and Metis Relations
(306)  425-6669, 425-8869