Network North: Communicating Research Capacity through Technology

The intensification of resource development in the Canadian North has had a cumulative effect on the health of Northern Aboriginal communities and loss of traditional lifestyles. A multidisciplinary research team (mining engineers, anthropologists, linguists, medicine, computing science, and community health sciences) is investigating the effects of resource development in collaboration with a number of northern communities to identify the relationship of industrial development to community well-being. Network North will develop a responsive, integrated model to address the sustainability of Northern health relating to development activities in Canada, a model that will also have international relevance.

The research concepts and questions are currently being developed by the communities through collaboration with a multidisciplinary research team and will be consolidated in a fall workshop to be held in the North. The research process promotes the capacity of communities to address challenges that they have identified as potential or actual health risks such as impacts of contaminants; food security and environmental impacts; impact of fly in/fly out employment patterns and increased wealth on families/communities.

Outcomes will include models for sustainable community health in relation to community identified research priorities; guidelines for industry and government policy relating to sustainable resource development; highly trained new investigators who have a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamic nature and complexity of Northern health and resource development; and the creation of a new network of stakeholders linking interdisciplinary northern and southern researchers with research partners from the communities, industry and government. With the involvement of industry and government as research partners we are able to influence direct changes in policy as well as foster a stronger working relationship between the local communities, industry and government.

Active since 2003