The Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories recognize the importance of geoscience information to the Northwest Territories, and are committed to enhancing the Northwest Territories' geoscience knowledge base. This funding will leverage resources from industry and Canada's academic community, and will stimulate private sector investment in the resource exploration sector.
The Investment Plan for the Northwest Territories identified a total of $8 million for strategic investments in geoscience research over four years. In 2005-2006, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) invested $2 million to expand the territories' geoscience knowledge base and lay the groundwork for new field-based geoscience projects. This work included the production of new geological and geophysical maps, and the development of new web-based tools for disseminating geoscience information. The impact of this investment resulted in nearly 400,000 acres of new ground staked in areas where the work was undertaken, representing a commitment of over $830,000 in exploration, in addition to providing business and employment opportunities for Northerners.
INAC's Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) initiative is aimed at establishing strong foundations for economic development. The SINED initiative has two main program elements, the Targeted Investment Program (TIP), and the Innovation and Knowledge Fund (I&K). Targeted Investment Program funding is guided by a multi-year investment plan tailored to the needs of each territory, and focuses on four main investment areas: building the knowledge base, enhancing the infrastructure base, increasing northern capacity, and economic diversity.
The overall objectives of the programs under the SINED initiative are to strengthen the sectors driving the economy, broaden the economic base of each territory by enhancing sectors that can show strong economic returns, strengthen the ability of Northerners to participate in local, national and international economic opportunities, and increase coordination among partners and programs.
Geoscience is a priority investment area. The long-term strategy includes a variety of projects such as regional bedrock mapping, airborne geophysics, till sampling and specialty research. These projects will fill in geological gaps where there has been little or no previous research, produce integrated maps of large areas and improve accessibility to new and existing data.