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Territory has 'second chance' at economic growth: report
Nunavut Economic Forum releases 2010 economic outlook

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 2, 2011

IQALUIT - The territory has a "second chance" at prosperity as it is bouncing back from the world-wide recession faster than anticipated, concludes a report.

NNSL photo/graphic

Nunavut Economic Forum president Bob Aknavigak presented the 2010 Nunavut Economic Outlook in Iqaluit on Jan. 27. The report concludes the territory has a "second chance" at prosperity as it is bouncing back from the world-wide recession faster than anticipated. - Jeanne Gagnon/NNSL photo

The 2010 Nunavut Economic Outlook, commissioned by the Nunavut Economic Forum, is a report card of the progress made by the territory in terms of its economy. Titled "Nunavut's Second Chance," the report is the fifth in a series since 2001.

"This second chance for widespread economic prosperity is coming quicker than originally anticipated, so Nunavut must learn quickly from its experiences leading up to the recession," the report states.

The economy is set to grow by as much as 15 per cent in 2010, fuelled by the Agnico-Eagle Mines's Meadowbank Gold Mine and could grow by an average five per cent yearly over the next five years, the report states.

"Nobody at the table in the fall of 2008 was saying 'well, by mid 2010, we'll be back to where we were' and we're getting really close," said Graeme Clinton, an economist with Impact Economics in Yellowknife. "Other than the absence of the Baffinland project we're essentially back to where we were in the beginning of 2008 from an economic growth perspective so the second chance is coming really fast."

Hal Timar, the executive director of the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the problem remains accessing the new wealth.

"The hope is we're into a period of some sustained growth over a longer period of time and Nunavut now has a second chance to build on what we've had and what we've done," he said.

The report also mentions the rate of population growth has been "much lower" than anticipated in the original 2001 report but the graduation rates have climbed "dramatically" in the latest school year. It also mentions Nunavut's public infrastructure spending will drop 50 per cent this year while private-sector investment will grow.

It adds growth will be concentrated in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions in the medium term. The Baffin region, with the upcoming change of ownership of the Baffinland project, will fall behind, said Clinton.

"It will separate the territory into these three distinct regions in terms of the economic growth. Indeed, the growth areas right now are in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions in terms of mining. We're going to start to see the impacts of that in terms of the standard of employment, income statistics but also it will show some of the issues Nunavut faces in terms of labour mobility, for example," he said. "You do have large segments of population who are unemployed or employable but living in a community untouched by economic development and have no way of accessing those opportunities."

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