Nunavut economy grows despite global pandemic

Territory 1 of 2 jurisdictions to have its GDP increase, according to Statistics Canada report

Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine is seen near Rankin Inlet. Nunavut was one of two provinces or territories in Canada to see its economy grow in 2020, according to a recent Statistics Canada report, which showed that much of the growth was due to mining activities. (Photo courtesy of Agnico Eagle)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nunavut was one of two Canadian jurisdictions to have its economy grow in 2020, as the country’s gross domestic product fell 5.3 per cent, according to a recent Statistics Canada report.

The territory’s GDP increased 3.5 per cent in 2020 – the most of any territory or province in the country, with Yukon trailing with a 1.1 per cent increase – according to the report published Monday.

Economic growth in Nunavut was supported by a healthy year for the gold and silver mining sector, which grew by 23 per cent, and iron mining, which grew by 34 per cent.

This bodes well for the territory, said Ian Lee, an associate professor at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business.

“If the northern territories of Canada have these minerals, and there’s a demand for them around the world, which there is, and I believe will continue to grow, then that’s the competitive advantage this region has,” Lee said in an interview.

Lee said sound environmental policies in addition to policies that support growth can be a good formula for economic opportunities in the territory.

Tom Hoefer, executive director of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, said mining growth needs to continue to support a healthy economy that is rebounding from the pandemic.

“Now is the time … to support mineral resource development in northern Canada,” Hoefer said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

Meanwhile, most other industries contracted in Nunavut, such as air transportation, which declined 42.6 per cent. As well, food and drink declined 30.7 per cent and construction fell 23.4 per cent, the report states.

But Lee said those numbers are not as alarming as they may look because the economy is not in a recession, and once restrictions are lifted and people are vaccinated, Lee said, “those industries will snap back very quickly.”

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Micro-economics on

    I wish more people understood that there are a lot of positives that can come from the mines in the North for us Inuit, as long as the mines follow the guidelines placed by the Inuit org(s) and keep ethical business practices.
    More jobs for Inuit + increase of domestic product output = more disposable income = increase in affordable housing = increase in infrastructure. Something like that 😛

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  2. Posted by Micro-economics on

    I wish more people understood that there are a lot of positives that can come from the mines in the North for us Inuit, as long as the mines follow the guidelines placed by the Inuit org(s) and keep ethical business practices.
    More jobs for Inuit + increase of domestic product output = more disposable income = increase in affordable housing = increase in infrastructure. or something like that 😛

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    1
  3. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    I just wish that The CPHO would give the OK to Nunavutmiutaq employees the go ahead to get back to work very soon at the Agnico mines. We have reached a saturation point on people who want to get vaccinated In Nunavut. Life has to go on. Please let them. go back.The. vast majority of Kids do not really get sick from covid. As for the anti vaccers. It heir choice to take a chance on COVID ( Russian roulette) Let them not hold back our economy. Agnico Employees are itching to get back to work.Not every one. can and wants to move south in order to continue working.

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  4. Posted by Larry Simpson on

    The article talks about increased income from mining and declining income from other industries including airlines and construction, as factors in the territory’s GDP. But somehow it fails to mention the increased federal government dollars flowing into Nunavut to help the territory cope with covid, which would also impact on its GDP.

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