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«Delivered to | Northern Communications Information Systems Working Group c/o Government of Yukon Delivered by | Nordicity Date | Foreword The Project ...»

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Enable careful monitoring of growth to ensure it happens in a sustainable way; and, Enhancing access to skills development, education, and healthcare for Northerners.

As connectivity is enhanced in the northern Territories, it will become easier for the Federal government to transfer ‘province-like’ duties over to the Territories. As the Territories have greater control over their economic and political destinies, being able to take greater responsibility and control over education, healthcare and social services is very important and will become even more important as the economic potential of the North is realized.

The government ofces in the Territories would also beneft directly from enhanced connectivity.

The Canadian Border Services Agency’s presence in Yukon is a prime example of where government operations and community safety relies on reliable connectivity. In addition, government employees are being fown out of their current locations to Southern locations, e.g., Ottawa, to learn new applications and standardized training on new programs that they are required to use. The issue is that when these individuals return to the North, the low bandwidth prevents these applications from working accurately and thus negates much of their training – or hinders their efciency in using these programs.

Enhanced connectivity would also improve the abilities of CanNor, the federal government agency tasked with helping to “develop a diversifed, sustainable, and dynamic economy across Canada’s three Territories, while at the same time contributing to Canada’s prosperity”, to deliver on its mission.

Public Safety and First Responders




The ability to contact rural and remote access communities in the event of a natural disaster or pandemic relies on reliable broadband. Wireless broadband technologies in particular can play a vital role in improving emergency personnel’s ability to communicate efciently and to obtain necessary information quickly, such as providing easy access to real-time videos, images, and other data. In countries (or regions) where ‘nationwide’ (or ‘region-wide’) rollout of wireless broadband technologies for public safety communications is most suitable, it would serve to ensure that the public safety benefts of wireless broadband are available throughout the nation (or region). Such a rollout strategy would also enable interoperability at the national (or regional) level, making frst responders more efective when they are called on to cross jurisdictional lines. The unpredictable shift in climate means that there are risks in the future that cannot be predicted. Public safety responders need to be prepared with reliable communication equipment and enough broadband and higher download speeds to maintain an acceptable and efective level of safety during emergencies.

Culture and Tourism The benefts of enhanced connectivity in enabling greater access to education, training and healthcare are well understood. Equally important are the benefts to it language preservation, community capacity and development, and the ability of communities to interact with external government agencies Enhanced connectivity can also be a facilitator of First Nations organizations and communities Broadband at the community level can help broker relationships among agencies and stakeholder to provide public and civic services in rural and remote communities 9 While language preservation and community capacity-building are oftencited examples of the local benefts of enhanced connectivity in rural and remote areas, above all the main beneft is greater control over community priorities. For example, one community may place a priority on the development of distance education while another may of a prplace more iority on remote health diagnostics. In general, cultural benefts that are derived from For example, K-Net in Ontario, Qiniq in Nunavut, and the Ktunaxa Nation Network in B.C are often cited as examples.

Fiser, A., A. Clement, & B. Walmark. (2006). “The K-Net Development Process: A Model for First Nations Broadband Community Networks”. CRACIN Working Paper No. 2006-12 Toronto: Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking.

enhanced connectivity in rural and remote communities are rooted in the community desire for resource pooling, knowledge sharing, and local autonomy. These community-driven needs and objectives, in turn, work to shape the network and dynamically address the social and economic development needs of its primary constituents In addition to these cultural benefts, artists in rural communities can have a more international reach and capture a higher return on selling their works by cutting out intermediary sellers and sell their crafts using the Internet. PEOPLELink is a prime example that helped soapstone carving artists to increase their proft percentage by selling directly online and not through a middleman or wholesaler.9 Individuals outside of Canada’s North can invest in artwork straight from the artist using broadband.

Finally, enhanced connectivity can, as with other businesses, open up a world of opportunities for local tourism businesses by enabling better communications and information sharing with potential visitors. Tourism is steadily increasing across the Alaska/Yukon border and to all Territories from the rest of Canada and the world based on their unique attractions. The three Territories may, to the rest of Canada and the world, seem isolated especially when connectivity and accessibility is both limited. Broadband connectivity is a portal for visitors and potential visitors to explore the North and, as with the Churchill case study, plan their trip. Hotels and tourist attractions can market their products and services to attract visitors to the area.

Broadband connectivity also provides a greater reach for cultural workers and craftspeople to target new customers outside the immediate area.


Previously in this chapter, the limitations of current connectivity and benefcial impacts of enhanced connectivity on the economy, critical health, education and public safety services and the ordinary residents of the Territories have been identifed and where possible, quantifed. In this section, Going forward, the negative consequences of current connectivity levels or even or reduced connectivity would be greatly magnifed. While it is not our intent to re-iterate the negative impacts already described, and in any case, these cannot be accurately quantifed, it is worth briefy considering the consequences of a status quo scenario going forward.

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Hudson, H. (2006). “From Rural Village to Global Village: Telecommunications for Development in the Information Age”.

Publisher: Routledge.




As discussed in Chapter 2, connectivity needs in the north are even more critical than in southern Canada due to geographical challenges and lack of infrastructure such as roads; these connectivity needs are not being met; and the connectivity gap between the Territories and the rest of Canada is widening.

Without signifcant improvements to broadband connectivity levels in the North, the three Territories would likely see reduced economic growth, lower territorial tax base and correspondingly, stagnant or lower household income and fewer jobs. The competitiveness and business development of the Territories relative to southern Canada would be impeded.

As development of the north is a key to overall Canadian economy, on a global basis, Canada’s ability to attract new capital into critical resource and transportation projects would be lessened.

There would also be signifcant negative socio-economic impacts in particular, in the delivery of health, education and other government services. The overall quality of life would be afected and while improvements are made in the rest of Canada as a result of improving technologies and better tools in these sectors, the north will be at a disadvantage since the technological requirements would impede proper functioning of these newer technologies. The ability of the Territories to attract and retain talented workers and their families would be also be hobbled since connectivity is so ubiquitous in the north, a perceived change in connectivity standards and availability will be seen as something that may isolate new workers in the area with the rest of Canada. The northern workforce - already characterized by retention difculties in recruitment and retention – could become ever more unstable.

Surveying Technician with theodolite in Nunavut

6. CONCLUSIONS Implementing this report’s recommended minimum starting point download speed of at least 9 Mbps (1.5 Mbps upload) by 2019/20 in all Territories is expected to have positive impacts on GDP, employment, and consumer surplus.

Overall, improved broadband can add to territorial GDP, and improve employment and social services. In each Territory in the projected 2016-2023 timeframe, the impacts on GDP and employment overall are forecast to be positive with the introduction of broadband and improved connectivity. Consumers who experience afordable communications can beneft because of an increased consumer surplus.

The total (quantifable) impacts are summarized in the table below.

Table 3 : Total Economic Impact Summary, by Territory, 2016-2023

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Without improved broadband connectivity in the North, the three Territories may lose potential growth and their ranking relative to other economies worldwide that are experiencing these positive impacts. As a result, the North might lose its competitive advantage in the global market, experience losses in jobs (migration of workers) and a decrease in quality of life (e.g., consumers would no longer gain utility via consumer surplus).

For more detail, please refer to Appendix 4 – Detailed Economic and Socio-economic Impact Analysis.

Chapter 5: Implementationand Stakeholder EngagementPlan

Chapter 5 presents a vision for going forward based on the groundwork established by the Northern Communications and Information Systems Working Group (NCIS-WG). When the NCIS-WG was formed in 2010 as a joint federal and territorial response to critical gaps in Arctic communications infrastructure, it became a platform for research and discussion. It helped

northern stakeholders to:

Identify communications defciencies and develop an overall understanding of communications capabilities in the north, particularly through its publication of the Arctic Communications Infrastructure Assessment (ACIA) in 2011;

Identify what assets are available to all concerned parties, through its research and regular discussion forums with public and private sector parties, as well as local community and Aboriginal stakeholders; and, Understand the need for standards and systems to ensure that Arctic communications infrastructure will continue to develop to meet the evolving demands of northern stakeholders.

It is worthwhile providing a perspective on the role to date of NCIS-WG as the key joint federal and pan-territorial group that has guided both this project and the previous ACIA project.

Within the span of just three years the NCIS-WG has proven that federal and territorial government stakeholders can work together, and with communities, and the private sector, in taking ownership of the relevant issues and challenges. With the release of this report, the time has come to build on the NCIS-WG’s foundational work and collaborative structure, to establish a joint federal and pan-territorial mandate for funding and overseeing the next generation of critical Arctic communications infrastructure.





Given the NCIS-WG’s limited resources, going forward requires a new mandate with new commitments from federal departments and their territorial counterparts. This mandate will also require innovative solutions and new commitments from the private sector. Yet, in going forward, the spirit of collaboration the NCIS-WG has fostered, and its evidence-based approach to understanding and communicating the issues, must continue to drive the collective enterprise of achieving accessible, afordable, adequate and adaptable communications infrastructure in Canada’s Arctic.

This chapter provides a recommended sequence of action steps for an Implementation and Stakeholder Engagement Plan that will meet the present and future needs of Canada’s Arctic.

There are numerous stakeholders implicated in going forward, including federal government departments and agencies, territorial governments and agencies, regional and municipal governments, Aboriginal governments and organizations, civil society organizations, and private industry participants. The implementation plan must recognize and engage representatives of all the key stakeholder groups and reach out to communities in the regions that may be targeted for new infrastructure.

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