Canada’s North, and the Indigenous communities within it, are facing a significant infrastructure deficit that acts as an impediment to economic growth in the region. Exacerbated by a number of environmental factors including remoteness of some communities, a short building season, and challenging terrain mean that the costs of building and maintaining infrastructure are higher than average. Climate changes such as rising sea level and reductions in permafrost extent are contributing to maintenance and upkeep costs for existing infrastructure.
The NIEDB has and continues to study the issue of infrastructure as it relates to Indigenous economic development. In January 2016, the Board released its Recommendations on Northern Infrastructure to Support Economic Development. The recommendations address the significant infrastructure deficit in Canada’s North which acts as the predominant barrier to economic and business development in the region and the improvement of the quality of life in northern Indigenous communities.