Labrador West, Newfoundland and Labrador
Labrador West consists of two communities near the Labrador-Quebec border: Wabush and Labrador City. Wabush has a population of 1,861 and Labrador City has 9,354. Labrador West was built as a mining centre, and iron ore mining remains the main industry in the area.
The reliance on iron ore production has created a local economy affected by "boom and bust" cycles. As global market prices for iron ore rise, mining activities and revenue increase. As prices drop, operations are scaled back, local jobs are cut, and local government and businesses lose income.
FemNorthNet’s work has looked at how the community, particularly women, have been affected by the iron ore operations and how women can be better included in economic development.
Excerpts from Interview with Noreen Careen (2016)
Noreen Careen, a member of FemNorthNet, has lived in Labrador West for 41 years. Born and raised on mainland Newfoundland, Noreen and her partner were drawn to the emerging mining sector in Labrador after graduating high school – at the time, there were few job opportunities in Newfoundland.
Noreen's partner found a mining job with Iron Ore of Canada Ltd. in Labrador West and Noreen quickly joined him, becoming an administrative assistant for the company. Noreen's partner worked for thirty years in mining, the amount of time needed to attain a miner's pension. Over this time, Noreen and her partner raised three children and became integral members of Labrador West’s community.
For the last decade, Noreen has worked as the Executive Director for the Labrador West Status of Women Centre. Through the provision programming for and advocacy on behalf of local women Noreen has come to understand not only how the dynamics of the mining economy have affected her family, but also diverse women in the community.
This interview, conducted by Victoria Lake (a Masters in Social Work student) in January 2016, captures Noreen’s impressions of how the boom and bust cycle of mining has affected Labrador West and could continue to shape the community into the future.
No Vacancy: A Look at the Housing Crisis in Labrador West (2014) by Brianne Messina, Megan Johnson & Jane Stinson - A comprehensive overview of housing issues in Labrador West and how the iron ore industry impacts housing availability and pricing. The report also explores actions being taken by local community members to improve the housing situation and examples of actions from other parts of Canada and abroad that could be implemented in Labrador West. (Read the summary here)
Keeping All Women in Mind: The impacts of community issues on women in Labrador West (2014) by Leah Levac - Outlines important community issues in Labrador West, which is experiencing tremendous change as a result of the presence of the mining industry. The report documents the key challenges and possibilities for change associated with each of these issue areas, as identified by the women of Labrador West in 2012. The goal of the report is to improve diverse women’s participation, meaningful inclusion, and leadership in creating opportunities for positive change in their community. (Read the summary here)
Developing Women Leaders in Northern Communities: A Key Resource for Northern Development (2014) by Libby Dean & Jane Stinson - Profiles women's leadership development activities in FemNorthNet's partner communities, including Labrador West.