CanNor, Kitikmeot Inuit org sign MOU on economic development
Deal "will help us accomplish our vision of ensuring Inuit benefit from resource development"
The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency has signed a deal with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association that will see the two groups jointly promote economic development connected to resource development projects.
Under a memorandum of understanding that CanNor signed with the KIA Nov.16, the two say they will coordinate their efforts “so that Inuit of the Kitikmeot region are best prepared to participate in and benefit from major resource and regional infrastructure projects.”
A government news release said CanNor plans to sign similar MOUs “as part of its overall efforts to foster a sustainable and dynamic economy for northerners.”
“CanNor is pleased to be working in partnership with the KIA,” said Patrick Borbey, president of CanNor. “This is the first MOU that we have signed, and these types of collaborative tools will help us all to maximize the opportunities flowing from resource development projects.”
Through CanNor’s Northern Projects Management Office, CanNor and the KIA plan to identify the potential opportunities in major projects, and then map out a plan how they can get the region involved, the news release said.
“Participating with CanNor in this MOU is an exciting development for our region,” said Charlie Evalik, KIA president, who said the partnership “will help us accomplish our vision of ensuring Inuit benefit from resource development.”
The news release notes four major resource development projects in the Kitikmeot region are set to enter the environmental assessment system in the coming 18 months.
If these move ahead, the mines could mean $4 billion in capital investment and over 2,000 long-term jobs for the Kivalliq, the news release said.
Last month, Evalik complained that the federal program for large-scale public and private partnerships infrastructure projects had turned down an application from the Inuit-owned Nunavut Resources Corp., which Evalik also heads, because the KIA isn’t regarded as a government.
Evalik argued that First Nations reserves are able to submit P3 applications, so the KIA, which manages hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of lands and organizes many social programs, with the NRC as a partner, should also qualify as a quasi-governmental group.
Evalik said the NRC planned to challenge the eligibility criteria for P3 Canada regional Inuit associations like the KIA can qualify and to find a “suitable mining partner” for a new application next June.