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3. Government Needs Today

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3.1 Introduction

Federal and Territorial governments require reliable, affordable communication services within all communities and between communities to carry out their various mandates.

This section of the report provides an overview of federal and territorial governments' need for communication services today, including examples of various programs highlighted by departments that participated formally in the Assessment. […]

3.2 Gathering Input

Government agencies were invited to participate in one of six facilitated 'visioning workshops' held in Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Iqaluit and Ottawa… (See Appendix A for the list of participants)…

In addition, an online survey gathered additional details from almost 100 respondents from a wide range of departments across the three territories and federal government […]

Federal agencies are directly responsible for activities in the Arctic that rely on both commercially-available connectivity within communities, and on communication networks outside of communities that must be developed specifically to meet Federal needs.

3.3 Federal Departments Serving Territories

There are approximately 2000 federal employees working in the Arctic, with approximately 400 in Nunavut, 1150 in the NWT and 550 in Yukon. The vast majority of Federal employees are located in the three regional capitals, with a handful of federal employees working in smaller communities, (such as Parks Canada staff.)…

Because of the vast differences between federal departments' presence in the Arctic, their activities, and mandate, it is challenging to provide an overview that encapsulates the breadth and depth of federal communication needs. This proposal has divided the needs into two categories:

Each section will illustrate these needs using examples raised by various departments in their efforts to meet their national objectives in the provision of federal services […]

Fort Providence

Road leading out of Whitehorse. Photo: C. Small

3.4 Yukon

Yukon has the most established communications infrastructure of the three Territories.

Yukon is also the most road-connected Territory, with only one fly-in community. Their large network of roads also requires that they have communication services between communities to support traveling government employees, and to serve and protect the traveling public.

Yukon has approximately 4800 government employees, with about 3800 of them in Whitehorse and the remaining 1000 working throughout Yukon […]

Many departments are working on creative new services, that rely on robust communication networks. They are hoping to find infrastructure solutions to bring up the level of service in poorly served communities, so that new services can be implemented everywhere equally.

3.5 Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is the most populous territory, with the most significant difference in communication services within its borders. At one end of the scale, Yellowknife has the best communication access, while the 10 communities relying on satellite currently have the poorest government communication services.

Yellowknife is the largest city at about 20,000 people - almost half of the population.

There are 4600 NWT government employees working in all 33 communities in NWT. Of these, almost half work in Yellowknife. The remaining 2400 government employees work in communities all over NWT […]

3.6 Nunavut

More than any other territorial jurisdiction, Nunavut's government relies on a robust communication infrastructure in order to operate efficiently.

Nunavut took a decentralized approach when setting up its government in 1999, to share government employment opportunities with as many communities as reasonably possible. So while the capital of Iqaluit has the most government employees, many departments' headquarters and regional offices are located in the ten 'decentralized' communities.

Of the 3800 government employees, 1500 work in Iqaluit. The 10 decentralized communities - those with government offices - all have at least 100 government positions, with Rankin Inlet having over 400.

Clearly, connectivity to meet government's ability to operate effectively is a top priority to carry out the internal work of government, due to the decentralized nature of the government offices […]

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Prepared for the Northern Communications & Information Systems Working Group by Imaituk Inc.
Report funded by Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
Site by Manoverboard.
© Government of the Northwest Territories 2011.