Government Investments Help Strengthen Labrador Communities, Social Enterprise and Business

News release

Governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunatsiavut invest more than $900,000 in Labrador-based projects 

June 27, 2018 – Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 

Making smart investments that support innovation, social enterprise and economic development creates new jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it. That’s why the governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunatsiavut are investing more than $900,000 for two projects in Labrador, including an innovative social enterprise and an economic development conference to promote products and services in Labrador. 

Yvonne Jones, Member of Parliament for Labrador, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), today announced $660,000 from ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) for SmartICE Sea Ice Monitoring & Information Inc. (SmartICE) and $20,000 for the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce (LNCC). The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation announced $235,572 in provincial funding for the SmartICE project, and President Johannes Lampe announced $50,000 from the Government of Nunatsiavut. 

SmartICE is an award-winning social enterprise that works in partnership with communities, academia, industry and government to provide a near real-time sea ice monitoring and information service that blends Inuit traditional knowledge with state-of-the-art technology. Through this investment, it will commercialize its SmartBUOY prototype instrumentation for measuring sea-ice thickness and establish a technology production centre in Nain, Nunatsiavut (Labrador), operated by trained Inuit youth. 

ACOA funding for the LNCC helped it to market and host the 2018 Expo Labrador Conference and Trade Exhibition taking place June 25-28 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. This annual event provides a venue for knowledge transfer for delegates and raises local, national and international awareness about the products and services available within Labrador.  

These investments support the Atlantic Growth Strategy, one way the Government of Canada is working to achieve its Innovation and Skills Plan outcomes in this region by helping ensure everyone has the jobs, skills and learning to seize new opportunities and succeed in a growing innovation economy.

Quotes

“Through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, we are challenging the status quo. It’s about doing things differently. We’re applying new thinking and a new level of collaboration to target economic growth. These investments in Labrador are good examples of how the Strategy is helping to create real change.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA


“These are smart investments in Labrador which recognize the potential in this region’s business community and in our traditional Indigenous culture. SmartICE Sea Ice Monitoring and Information Inc. is creating positive community change and a sustainable entrepreneurial approach to the delivery of sea ice information services. Inuit youth will learn to use new technology to complement the Inuit knowledge of sea ice acquired over thousands of years of observation and use. Expo Labrador is the preeminent conference in central Labrador and benefits all Labradorians.”

- Yvonne Jones, Member of Parliament for Labrador


“SmartICE is a wonderful initiative that demonstrates innovation on a number of levels. Not only are the SmartICE technology units innovative in design, the founders chose to use a social enterprise model which includes innovative partnerships between academia, industry, community and governments. The initiative provides opportunities for workforce development, youth engagement, and demonstrates a product evolution from research stage to commercialization. This initiative highlights many of the priorities outlined in our recently released Social Enterprise Action Plan, a direction of our government’s Way Forward.”

- The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation


“The Inuit of Nunatsiavut and northern Labrador are closely connected to the land, sea and ice, and have observed the environmental changes in the north for many decades.  By combining state-of-the art technology with the knowledge and experiences of the people who live in the north, the SmartIce project will help us better predict the conditions of sea ice and make it safer for people to travel on.”

- Randy Edmunds, MHA for Torngat Mountains

“Sea ice has helped define us as a people. It’s a part of our cultural identity, which is why we often refer to ourselves as Sikumuit, or people of the sea ice. SmartICE, which combines traditional Inuit knowledge with new and emerging technologies, will ensure Inuit are better equipped to adapt to impacts of climate change on our traditional way of life. The initiative is also having a social and economic impact in our region, by engaging youth and creating employment opportunities.

- Johannes Lampe, President, Nunatsiavut Government


“In creating a technology production centre in Nunatsiavut—a first for Inuit Nunangat—SmartICE is demonstrating that social enterprise and innovation will succeed in Canada’s North. SmartICE technology not only benefits Inuit youth who will  assemble it, but also the safety and well-being of communities across Inuit Nunangat who rely on safe ice travel in a changing Arctic.”

- Dr. Trevor Bell, Founder/Director, SmartICE


“As the region’s leading resource development event, Expo Labrador has long been a catalyst for economic growth in such sectors as energy, mining, tourism, and many others through a program of information exchange, networking opportunities and unique Labrador hospitality. We appreciate ACOA’s continued support, which has been key to Expo Labrador’s success since inception.”

- Sterling Peyton, President, Labrador North Chamber of Commerce

Contacts

Paul McGrath
Director, Communications
ACOA NL
709-772-2984
paul.mcgrath@canada.ca

Eric Humber
Media Relations Manager
Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
709-729-4819, 725-9655
erichumber@gov.nl.ca

Bert Pomeroy
Director of Communications
Nunatsiavut Government
709-896-8582
bert.pomeroy@nunatsiavut.com

Carolann Harding
Director of Business Development
SmartICE Sea Ice Monitoring & Information Inc.
709-725-0820
charding@smartice.org

Brian Fowlow
Chief Executive Officer
Labrador North Chamber of Commerce
709-896-8787
bfowlow@chamberlabrador.com


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