Fly with the Wind

Engaging Inuit Youth in the Canadian Economy 

Funded by the Urban Aboriginal Strategy of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada completed a project to learn directly from Inuit youth aged 15-24 years about the best ways to engage them in starting a career or starting their own business. The idea was to learn about their challenges, priorities, and interests when it comes to job training, employment, and career planning and to find out how Pauktuutit can help Inuit youth prepare for work in the Canadian economy.

Guided by an Inuit youth advisory committee, the project undertook two key activities:

1. A face-to-face forum with eight youth representing the four Inuit regions. The goal was to learn about their experiences finding jobs or starting businesses and the ways they think other Inuit youth want to learn about career development.

2. An online survey for Inuit youth. Gathering data about schooling, employment and training options, and the different tools that Inuit youth use to stay connected with each other and with the larger community, and the tools they prefer to use when looking for work or starting a career.

The two-day Youth Forum took place in Iqaluit in March 2013. The participants talked about the ways they can help each other in their community, about the job and career support that is available to them, about the challenges they face, and about the help they feel Inuit youth need to get a good job or to start a business.

A consistent theme raised throughout the youth forum was the need to improve youth self-esteem and to strengthen Inuit cultural identity. Inuit role models, mentors, and job shadowing programs were recommended as ways to provide inspiration and confidence. These programs and services must be holistic and offer community, cultural, and emotional support along with the development of job search skills. The youth also expressed a need for youth-specific services that help them take advantage of the various opportunities for education, training, and employment. The forum shows that the Internet and services like Facebook are important tools for contacting Inuit youth and maintaining connections, but in the end, role models, workshops, conferences, school events, and counselling were recommended to teach job skills and provide individual support.

The Engaging Inuit Youth in the Canadian Economy survey was posted online during May and June 2013.The intent of the survey was to get a broad idea of how to meet the information and support needs of young Inuit entering the workplace. A total of 92 responses were received, with most coming from Nunatsiavut and Nunavut. The average age of the participants is 20 years and they tend to be well-educated. About half are still in school and about half say they are not working at this time. On average, the participants have had between 2-3 and 4-5 jobs in their life. Only nine percent state that they have never had a job.

About one-third of participants indicate they are interested in starting a business, but are concerned about the lack of start-up money and their lack of knowledge about finances and the steps involved. Some expressed the need for more confidence and experience. When asked about the tools they need to start a business, many wanted workshops, job shadowing, and on-the-job training.

The survey confirms that Inuit youth recognize they may have to leave their community and the North for further education, skills, or work experience. However, 64 percent indicated that they plan to keep living and working in the North.

In terms of finding a job, family and friends, personal contacts, and word-of-mouth are important. The survey suggests almost all Inuit youth use the Internet and Facebook, usually several times a day, and that this is part of the way they find out about jobs and community activities and events.

As a result of the Engaging Inuit Youth in the Canadian Economy project, Pauktuutit has developed the following recommendations:

1. Communications: The Internet and Facebook are important tools for communicating with Inuit youth. To be effective, programs, services, and organizations must reach out to Inuit youth using the Facebook pages and Internet sites they use the most. These tools are valuable for communicating information about events and opportunities, but they should not replace face-to-face gatherings.

2. Literacy: The Inuit forum and survey suggest Inuit youth need to improve their financial and business literacy and need to learn about the requirements and steps needed to start a successful business. The current lack of understanding contributes to their lack of confidence.

3. Job Market Tools: Some Inuit youth are not aware of all the resources available to them when it comes to finding a job or a career. There is a need for community specific programs and tools that identify all the local, regional, and national resources available to Inuit youth and help them judge the current and future job market within in Inuit communities. Fact sheets, community workshops, school events, and online resources are viable options.

4. Role Models and Mentors: Role models are an important learning tool for Inuit. Role models can offer young Inuit a sense of pride, inspiration, and confidence. Programs should be developed that present Inuit youth with examples of success stories and the opportunity to talk and learn directly. Case studies or profiles are relevant but should not replace face-to-face gatherings.

Pauktuutit’s online survey for Inuit youth ran until June 21, 2013. The goal of this survey was to collect data on the interests, priorities and challenges of Inuit youth in career development, whether finding a job or starting a business. The survey also looked to determine the best methods for engaging Inuit youth in economic development programming, gathering recommendations and feedback. 


As a mode of communication, the survey results demonstrate that the Internet and Facebook are paramount among Inuit youth, though the informal network of friends, family, and word-of-mouth. The Internet and Facebook are used as job search tools and as a means to stay informed about community events. The Inuit participants of the youth forum also identified the value of Facebook. On the other hand, the forum and survey both emphasize the importance of more direct face-to-face communications.

The survey results indicate workshops are an important tool to engage Inuit youth about jobs, careers, and learning to start a business. The youth forum emphasized the value of one-on-one relationships with role models and mentors and the value of workshops, conferences, school events, and other face-to-face opportunities to cultivate self-esteem, cultural identity, and to teach job skills. As a result of the Engaging Inuit Youth in the Canadian Economy project, Pauktuutit has developed the four recommendations.

  1. Communications: The Internet and Facebook are key tools for communication with Inuit youth. Programs, services and organizations must effectively use these tools when attempting to get information out to youth however face-to-face workshops and other gatherings continue to play an important role as well.
  2. Literacy: Inuit youth need to improve their financial and business literacy and to learn more about the requirements and steps needed to start a business. The current lack of understanding undermines confidence.
  3. Job Market Tools: Inuit youth are not well aware of the resources available to them to assist in entering the job market. There is a need for community-specific tools that summarize the local, regional and national resources available to youth and to provide information on the current and future job market opportunities.
  4. Role Models and Mentors: Role models offer Inuit youth a very positive way of seeing how other youth have overcome challenges and succeeded. Programs should be developed that present Inuit youth with examples of success stories and the opportunity to learn directly from role models. Case studies and profiles are useful, but face-to-face meetings are the most effective.

Looking for more information?

There are a number of places that can help you with information, business planning and possibly funding to start your new business. Here are some links, with a description of each organization taken from their websites.

Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Inuvialuit CEDO The Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization (CEDO) is based in Inuvik at the Inuvialuit Corporate Centre. Its role is four-fold.

  1. CEDO provides advisory management to Inuvialuit community-owned ventures.
  2. On selected opportunities, CEDO is a potential equity partner for Inuvialuit community-based joint ventures.
  3. CEDO facilitates study into the feasibility and viability of large-scale projects for Inuvialuit.
  4. CEDO provides advisory, administrative and advocacy assistance to Inuvialuit businesses, organizations and individuals in their endeavours, including but not limited to management advice and assistance, identifying funding sources and regulatory compliance.

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Bag Service #21, Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0 Tel: (867) 777-7000 Toll-Free: 1 855 777-7011 Fax: (867) 777-7001 Email:

Inuvialuit Development Corporation
The Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC) is a diversified investment, venture capital and management holding company, wholly owned by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). IDC receives its mandate from the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, finalized in 1984.

The IFA’s economic tenets are full Inuvialuit participation in the northern Canadian economy and integration into Canadian society through development of an adequate level of economic self-reliance and a solid economic base. Incorporated in 1977, IDC has worked methodically to generate wealth, build a sustainable financial legacy, and return secure and long-term benefits to our shareholder.

3rd Floor, Inuvialuit Corporate Centre 107 MacKenzie Road Bag Service #7 Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0 Phone: (867) 777-7000 Fax: (867) 777-3256 E-mail:

Western Arctic Business Development Services 
Invuik, NT XOE 0T0 Tel: (867) 777-2836 Fax: (867) 777-3470 1-800-244-1203


Nunatsiavut Government Department of Education and Economic Development
As part of our efforts to ensure the Land Claims Agreement is followed, we also identify ways in which it can improve economic opportunities for our people. The Nunatsiavut Government is determined to use the provisions of the Land Claims Agreement to create long-term benefits and meaningful employment and business opportunities for our Beneficiaries.

The Department of Education and Economic Development is responsible for guiding economic development and new business initiatives for the Nunatsiavut Government. The department works closely with other departments, such as Lands and Resources, to identify the best opportunities and use of Inuit resources in fishing, mining, tourism, technology, and more. Through our business development agency, the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation, the Nunatsiavut Government makes strategic investments in activities with direct impact and benefit for Labrador Inuit.

Nunatsiavut Business Development Centre The Nunatsiavut Government operates the Nunatsiavut Business Development Centre (NBDC). The NBDC provides advice to Inuit businesses operating in Labrador, as well as new entrepreneurs wishing to access opportunities related to new business ideas or existing business owners who wish to expand on their already established business. As well, NBDC provides opportunities for companies listed on the Inuit Business Registry with prospects from the Voisey’s Bay project; Nunatsiavut Government projects, and other developments.

For more information, please contact: Molly Shiwak Business Development Officer Tel. (709) 922-2942 x250

Nunatsiavut Group of Companies
Nunatsiavut Group of Companies (NGC) is the business arm of the Nunatsiavut Government. Reporting to the Labrador Inuit Capital Strategy Trust, NGC’s Mission is to create wealth in trust for Nunatsiavut Beneficiaries by owning profitable, sustainable businesses. Our business lines include marine transportation, air transportation, commercial real estate, construction, remote camp operations, logistics, and heavy civil. NGC brings capacity and expertise to projects in Labrador and beyond.

Corporate Office
2-6 Royal Street PO Box 1000. Station B Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL  A0P 1E0
Tel: (709) 896-8505 Fax: (709) 896-5834 Email:


Business Development Centres of Nunavut
Currently, there are three Business Development Centres operating in Nunavut.

Baffin Business Development Centre (BBDC)
PO Box 1480 Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0 Manager: Valerie Kosmenko
(867) 979-1303 phone 979-1508 fax
serves the Baffin region of Nunavut

Keewatin Business Development Centre (KBDC)*
P.O. Box 328 Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, X0G 0G0 TEL: 888-645-2126 FAX: 867-645-2567 serves the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut*

Kitikmeot Community Futures Incorporation
Kitikmeot Community Futures Inc. (KCFI) is a lending agency focused on creating and maintaining small businesses in the region. As a non-profit corporation our mandate is to create and/or maintain employment in the region by promoting and assisting new viable small businesses or helping existing businesses through a wide range of services from strategic planning and monitoring, technical and advisory services, business counseling and assistance by providing loans.

Box 1331 Cambridge Bay, Nunavut X0B 0C0 TEL: 867 983 7383 FAX: 867 983 7380 website: serves the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut

Kakivak Association
Kakivak Association is a community and economic development organization serving Inuit by providing business, employment and training services to enhance the strengths of communities in the Baffin region. Our board and staff are committed to working with communities, individuals, organizations and employers to help Inuit realize their goals and aspirations.

Parnaivik Building 924, P.O. Box 1419 Iqaluit, NU XOA OHO Phone: 867-979-0911 Fax: 867-979-3707

Kitikmeot Corporation
Kitikmeot Corporation is the business development arm of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and is responsible for developing business opportunities that will build an economic base in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut. Kitikmeot Corporation is 100% Inuit-owned (by the Kitikmeot Inuit Association) but more importantly is working on behalf of the Inuit of the Kitikmeot Region.

Our primary purpose is business development. We will achieve our purpose by developing and/or acquiring sound profitable and sustainable businesses that will create business and employment opportunities and contribute to the personal, economic, social and cultural wealth of the Kitikmeot Region.

Kivalliq Partners in Development
Building Healthy Communities We develop healthy communities by increasing their economic capacity. We do this through encouraging and aiding business development in Kivalliq, providing assistance with planning, developing and implementing opportunities for economic development in the region.

We provide grants for eligible Kivalliq Inuit-owned businesses. Our grants are available for pre-start-up, start up, expansion, and business relief, to a maximum of $125,000. Small livelihood businesses such as carving and harvesting can obtain grants of up to $5000 a year, for a total lifetime amount of $10,000. Kivalliq Partners in Development (KPID) was created by the Kivalliq Inuit Association to support Inuit-owned businesses in the Kivalliq region, stimulating employment and economic opportunities for Inuit.

Box 709 Rankin Inlet, Nunavut  X0C 0G0 Tel: (867) 645-2122 Fax: (867) 880-8809

Nunavut Economic Development Association
Welcome to the Nunavut Economic Developers Association (NEDA). We are an active, membership-driven organization assisting community Economic Development Officers (EDOs) and economic development professionals in Nunavut. Our mandate is to support our members through professional development, networking, advocacy and the exchange of information and ideas. In partnership with the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut, we are a leader in economic development within the territory.

1104B Inuksugait Plaza Phase II P.O. Box 1990 Iqaluit, NU XOA OHO Phone: 867-979-4620 Fax: 867-979-4622

Nunavut Economic Forum: Nunavut Economic Development Strategy (2013)
About the Nunavut Economic Forum The Nunavut Economic Forum is a broad group of member organizations developed to identify and share information on economic development activity in Nunavut.

The primary focus for the organization is to bring the members together to collaborate in the implementation of The Nunavut Economic Development Strategy, each within their own area of activity and expertise. Successful implementation of the Strategy depends on the actions of each of the stakeholders. Participation and collaboration are key components of progress.

Qikiqtaaluk Corporation
Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) is a wholly Inuit owned birthright development corporation created by the Baffin Regional Inuit Association (now called the Qikiqtani Inuit Association). QC’s purpose is to provide direct employment and financial opportunities for Inuit within and outside the Qikiqtani Region.

QC aims to become a major contributor to all segments of the Nunavut economy. By balancing tradition with innovation, QC strives to improve the social and economic well-being of all people in the Qikiqtani region by investing in or creating sound financial opportunities.


Kativik Regional Government (KRG)
Every year, the KRG makes a solid and direct contribution to businesses and socio-economic enterprises. At the Katimajiit Conference in 2007, the Québec government and the KRG signed the Economic and Community Development Agreement.

One component of the Agreement provided for a second phase of the Makigiarutiit Fund to stimulate the creation and development of private enterprise; phase one was implemented between 1999 and 2003. Pursuant to a new investment policy, the Fund offers loans, loan guarantees and investments in preferred shares for infrastructure and equipment start-up and development projects that respond to specific and cyclical economic situations. 

KRG Office P.O. Box 9 Kuujjuaq, Quebec, J0M 1C0 Telephone: (819) 964-2961 Toll free: 1-877-964-2961 Fax: (819) 964-2956 General inquiries: 

Other Useful Links

Government of Canada Industry Canada
Industry Canada can help to:

  • Find research and statistics;
  • Start a business;
  • Find financing;
  • Find permits and licenses;
  • Do business across borders; and
  • Incorporate.

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
The Government of Canada is committed to delivering its programs and services effectively for its clients and Canadians. Since it was created, CanNor has invested $185 million in over 910 projects to create a more dynamic, sustainable and diverse northern economy.

CanNor is taking a systematic approach to strengthen its business processes for contribution programs to continue effectively delivering on its mandate to foster economic development in Canada’s three territories. CanNor has recently introduced new business processes and service standards as well as a suite of tools so our clients have the information and guidance they need to apply forCanNor funding.

General Enquiries

Telephone: 1-855-897-2667 Email:
Email NPMO:

Regional Office contacts:
CanNor, Nunavut Region 2nd Floor, 1106 Allavvik Building P.O. Box 40 Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0 Tel: 867-975-3746 Fax: 867-975-3740 Email:

CanNor, Northwest Territories Region P.O. Box 1500 Yellowknife, NWT X1A 2R3 Tel: 867-766-8327 Fax: 867-766-8401

CanNor, Yukon Region Suite 215-305 Main Street Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2B3 Tel: 867-667-3263 Fax: 867-667-3945 Email:

Government of Nunavut Department of Economic Development and Transportation
In the Department of Economic Development and Transportation, we put people first, helping to build healthy communities and the infrastructure they need to link to each other, the rest of Canada, and to the world.

If you have any questions contact us toll-free at 1-888-975-5999 or when in Iqaluit call (867) 975-7800 or email us at

Government of Nunavut: Information for Businesses