Community Infrastructure & Economic Development

New housing development in Labrador West, NL.

The Community Infrastructure & Economic Development theme group examines the priority infrastructure areas identified by our community partners - from soft infrastructure (such as childcare, healthcare, and employment programs) to physical infrastructure (such as housing, water and sewage, and schools).

Theme work explores the questions:

  • When economic restructuring occurs in northern communities, who has the power to decide what type of infrastructure and economic development is prioritized?
  • What types of infrastructure are most impacted by economic restructuring, especially resource extraction and development projects?
  • How do changes to infrastructure affect northern women and their communities?
  • How can diverse northern women be empowered to participate in discussions about infrastructure development and influence decision-making in their communities?

The key objective is development of a new holistic, gendered perspective on infrastructure that bridges the false division between social and economic infrastructure to see them as integrally related. For instance, this perspective sees childcare (typically categorized as serving a social function) as a necessary part of economic growth and development. In order to attract, train, and retain a labour force communities must have childcare services available for workers. Childcare then is not so much a fiscal drain as a necessary investment to strengthen our economy.

The theme group's work also explores the emerging concept in Canada that access to supportive infrastructure is a human right.

Workshop - Women from Northern Communities & Unions Joining for a Sustainable Future

In August 2014, the Community Infrastructure & Economic Development group brought women from northern and indigenous communities together with women involved in labour organizing to explore how to work in solidarity with one another. They produced a number of valuable resources from their shared learning, which we'll be sharing on our website as they become available. SEE MORE


Community, Crisis & Restructuring in Canada: An Intersectional Approach (2014) - Educational Resource (course syllabus and abstract list)

Theme Group Members

Susan Prentice, University of Manitoba
Teresa Healy, SIT Graduate Institute & Canadian Labour Congress