Mapping the Social Economy in Northern Canada – Northwest Territories Project

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, socio-economics, northern community

Principal Investigator: Southcott, Chris (7)
Licence Number: 14602
Organization: Lakehead University
Licenced Year(s): 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Issued: Aug 28, 2009
Project Team: Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox (NWT SERNNoCa coordinator, Arctic Health Research Network - NWT), Alana Mero (SERNNoCa Steering Committee member, Aurora Research Institute), Valoree Walker (SERNNoCa program coordinator, Northern Research Institute ), Karen Mackenzie (Nunavut SERNNoCa coordinator , Nunavut Research Institute), Ron Sparkes (SERNNoCa Steering committee member, Labrador Institute), Kiri Staples (student research assistant, Northern Research Institute ), TBD (student research assistant , Arctic Health Research Network - NWT)

Objective(s): • To continue with developing a comprehensive listing of social economy organizations in Northern Canada.
• To undertake a survey of these organizations to determine the characteristics of these organizations including locations, activities, size, employment, membership and structure.
• To determine the research needs of these organizations through a needs survey that will accompany the inventory survey.

Project Description: The objectives of this study are:
• To continue with developing a comprehensive listing of social economy organizations in Northern Canada.
• To undertake a survey of these organizations to determine the characteristics of these organizations including locations, activities, size, employment, membership and structure.
• To determine the research needs of these organizations through a needs survey that will accompany the inventory survey.

Stephanie Irbacher-Fox, the coordinator for SERNNoCa in the NWT will coordinate research for the Northwest Territories under the direction of the principal investigator – Dr. Chris Southcott. This coordinator is hoping to have a student assisting with the surveys. An initial list of organizations has been developed and many have provided input on their organization. As a follow-up to this initial survey a shorter questionnaire has been developed and will be used in a follow-up survey to obtain information for groups identified and where information is not available. The groups that are part of this inventory include voluntary and non-profit organizations, cooperatives and related organizations in the Northwest Territories. To obtain the required information a variety of methods will be utilized including:
• Website information / internet searches
• Review of materials and documents available
• Email and mailout survey (online survey where possible)
• Telephone interviews
• Informal/formal interviews
Permission for involvement in the study will be sought through an informed consent process. All participants will be fully informed of the intention of the study and how the data will be used. Participants will be informed that their involvement is voluntary.
The data will be entered into a database and then verified and validated. Once all the data has been collected and entered it will be analyzed and a draft report prepared. The draft report will be provided online for comments and additional input.

Communities in Canada’s North are currently facing substantial social and economic challenges. The social economy offers tools to help those communities face these challenges. Northern governments, both Indigenous and public, need research in this area in order to undertake realistic program development and especially to develop economic development policies. The overall intended outcomes of the Social Economy research network of Northern Canada are:
• to increase general awareness of the importance and potential of the social economy related activities to the North,
• the enhancement of social economy capacity in the region,
• to provide a greater understanding of alternative forms of social and economic development in the North,
• the improved performance of organizations and enterprises in areas that are important to the social economy,
• new policy resources for governments relating to the social economy
• better trained individuals to assist in the development of social economy organizations.

This project is part of a larger study involving the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Labrador. This project involves developing and maintaining a database of social economy organizations that currently operate within the Northwest Territories. As part of the survey, the researchers will look at addressing the research related needs of organizations and through this hope to establish partnerships and collaborations with NWT organizations. As part of the project they also anticipate hosting training workshops for additional community support and involvement. This is the second research project in this 5 year program and through this initiative it is anticipated to be additional interest and community involvement in future projects.

The results of this study will be communicated widely to individuals and communities in the NWT. The Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada will provide information through various written media including regular newsletters, website postings with discussion session and an intranet site for participating members. The website will provide a discussion site to enable feedback and input throughout the project. Where possible public information sessions will be held to keep individuals informed and allow for further input into the research. The results of the study will also be shared with other social economy research nodes and the National Hub that are also involved in this research across Canada. It will be presented at conferences, seminars and published in various journals including the Northern Review and Arctic. Presentations are planned this year for Inuvik.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 26 to December 31, 2009, in all communities in the Northwest Territories.