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Northern Territories and Nunavut

Canada’s North is an economic region in its own right. Northwest Territories and Nunavut are often overlooked in traditional economic analysis due the region’s low population density and political clout. However, the North is already an important mining region is expected to rise in importance in the coming decades due to the melting of the polar ice caps, which is expected to one day free up a Northwest Passage for international shipping, and also open access to impressive suspected mineral and petroleum wealth. The sustainable use of natural resources has defined and shaped Canada’s economic prosperity, the same prospects that are now present for the North.

There are strong trade linkages between Canada and the US. At the national level, a significant amount of goods are traded back and forth between the two countries. At the territorial level, Yukon, maintains the strongest trade relationship with the US, Alaska in particular. This is likely due to the territory’s proximity to the US/Alaskan border and the port in Skagway, AK. The Northwest Territories (NWT) has the second largest trade economy with the US/Alaska, although it is significantly smaller and only consists of exports. Nunavut has the smallest trade relationship with the USand did not have any trade exchanges with Alaska in 2016. Canada’s tariff policies were historically a source of grievance in Atlantic Canada and the West, where consumers felt they were subsidizing the protected industries of Central Canada, stifling the development of their own regions.

Northern Territories and Nunavut

Main Production Sector and Useful Links

Canada’s Northern economies are highly dependent on natural resource industries especially oil and gas, mining, forestry, and fishing. Its vast land mass with plentiful natural resources has drawn companies to explore, develop, and exploit the North’s rich natural assets. It’s known for its indigenous Inuit people’s artwork, carvings and handmade clothing. Inuit art is displayed at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in the capital, Iqaluit, on Baffin Island. These primary industries are expected to continue to dominate the Northern economy and present opportunities to expand.