Government Commitments

Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation

Northern Development Ministers’ Forum Focuses on Economic Reconciliation through Action

May 17, 2023

NationTalk: CHURCHILL, MAN.—Ministers representing Canada’s northern jurisdictions gathered this week in Churchill, Man. for the 2023 Northern Development Ministers’ Forum (NDMF).

Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development Minister Greg Nesbitt hosted this year’s forum, which focused on learning from successful examples of economic reconciliation through action across the country.

“Manitoba was honoured to welcome our federal, provincial, and territorial counterparts to Churchill for this year’s Northern Development Ministers’ Forum, which offered meaningful opportunities to collaborate and support sustainable development in the North,” said Nesbitt. “The Manitoba government is committed to successful northern development through strategic investments and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. We will continue to pursue opportunities that bring us closer to achieving those goals and supporting federal, provincial and territorial commitments towards economic reconciliation.”

Strong relationships and partnerships are essential for northern communities to create and develop economic opportunities. This forum, the first since 2019, helped reinforce co-operation among provincial, territorial, and federal authorities to advance the diverse and common interests of northern communities and raise awareness on strategic priorities and actions to advance socio-economic development of the North.

Over the past two days, the ministers engaged in discussions to advance shared priorities and projects including:

  • Youth Leadership — Opportunities to advance northern and Indigenous youth leadership;
  • The North Beyond Remediation — Sustainable Planning for Remediation and Post-Remediation of Contaminated Sites to address potential social, economic or environmental risks; and
  • Looking Back, Looking Forward — Enhancing the effectiveness and best practices sharing outcomes of the Forum for the Future.

Presentations and moderated panels showcased successful partnerships and learning opportunities for exploring and applying models by each jurisdiction according to their own priorities and needs.

Ministers learned about Nisokapawino Forestry Management Corporation, a partnership between industry and First Nations, Indigenous-owned Arctic Gateway Group, which operates the Hudson Bay Railway and the Port of Churchill, Canada’s only Arctic seaport serviced by rail, as well as successful examples of industry and Indigenous partnerships in the mining sector.

During the forum, the ministers reviewed and committed to build on three priority projects in respect of each jurisdiction’s roles and responsibilities:

  • Documenting best practices to improve drinking water systems in northern and Arctic Canadian communities;
  • Phase 2 of the multi-year Youth Leadership Project focused on the proposed engagement plan, including pilot projects across jurisdictions; and
  • Development of tools, inventories and models to help each jurisdiction to advance economic reconciliation across the North.

These projects are shared priorities to help facilitate sustainable economic opportunities to ensure a strong future for the North. Indigenous engagement by each jurisdiction is key to successful project outcomes.

Observations by ministers:

“Our government is continuing to work with territorial, provincial, Indigenous, and northern partners to co-develop and co-implement innovative ideas and policies that lead to a more sustainable and more prosperous North and Arctic. This is a key priority of the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework. Through this forum and our positive discussions, we will continue to build relationships with Indigenous, provincial and territorial partners, bringing long-lasting benefits together with Northerners. We know that implementing solutions developed for Northerners, by Northerners, is the only way to achieve true economic reconciliation across the country.”

— The Honourable Dan Vandal, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Northern Affairs, PrairiesCan and CanNor

“The Northern Development Ministers’ Forum provides the opportunity to work together on mutual opportunities and challenges with our partners in the North. Newfoundland and Labrador looks forward to continuing work on our shared priorities as we host the 2024 Forum.”

— Honourable Lisa Dempster, Minister of Labrador Affairs and Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation, Newfoundland and Labrador

Established in 2001, the Northern Development Ministers’ Forum provides federal, provincial, and territorial ministers representing Canada’s North with an opportunity to advance common interests, raise awareness of northern issues and accomplishments, and learn from experiences across jurisdictions.

The next Northern Development Ministers’ Forum will be hosted by Newfoundland and Labrador.

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
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