Social, Cultural & Economic Working Group


  • To foster sustainable economic opportunities and options for Canadians, northerners and coastal communities;
  • To maintain and increase peoples’ sense of place and preserve cultural identity and spiritual connections as they relate to oceans and coastal areas; and
  • To improve human capacity, health, quality of life and opportunities as they connect to oceans and coastal areas.

The social, cultural and economic scope of the Large Ocean Management Area (LOMA) includes the users of the marine area and/or those impacted by marine activities occurring in the LOMA. While these impacts apply primarily to the Inuvialuit communities, it is recognized that secondary economic impacts are also realized in the Yukon and in other areas of the Northwest Territories. Changes to the ecosystem can affect all components of human well-being, including basic material needs, health, social relations, security, and freedom of choice and action. The potential loss of culturally-valued ecosystems and landscapes could significantly impact cultural identity and social stability and lead to social disruptions, cultural erosion and economic losses.

Social, cultural and economic (SCE) information is used to identify the needs, interests, and expectations of the people that live in and use the LOMA. This information also enhances the ability to understand and anticipate conflicting interests, and reveals the values and potential interests which may influence decision-making. If managers incorporate communities’ sense of identity, way of life, cultural distinctiveness, social network and kinship systems into their planning, their actions will better address local issues and visions for the futures. In turn, local communities will be more likely to play a leadership role in sustaining healthy ecosystems, cultures, and economies. Assessing SCE characteristics and issues allows diverse interest groups to find common ground and set priorities based on core social, cultural, economic and environmental values.

The six communities of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) (Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Ulukhaktok, Tuktoyaktuk and Sachs Harbour) are located in the coastal and Mackenzie Delta regions of the LOMA and people from these communities use the area for fishing, hunting, harvesting and other subsistence, recreational and cultural activities. As well, the Beaufort Sea supports a number of other activities, including ecological and cultural tourism, year-round transportation and resource industries (including oil and gas exploration, gravel and sand extraction, and an increasing interest in commercial fisheries).

If not adequately planned or managed, future economic development in the Beaufort Sea region could cause stress on the fragile marine and coastal environment as well as to the people who live there. The Integrated Ocean Management Plan (IOMP) is needed to ensure all development proceeds in a sustainable manner that takes into consideration the values, interests, and rights of the region’s stakeholders. By establishing agreed-upon SCE and ecosystem objectives, the IOMP will help to balance user needs in the Beaufort Sea while identifying areas of joint interest and opportunities for collaboration. The objectives in the following tables are aimed at maximizing opportunities for economic and social well-being while ensuring long-term ecological integrity.

While the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) typically have the lead mandates in terms of social, cultural, and economic responsibilities in the ISR, the role of the federal government in this regard must also be noted. For example, the federal government provides funding to GNWT and IRC, and also has obligations under the “Inuvialuit Final Agreement”. Federal departments have specific social, economic and resource management interests directly relevant to the social, cultural and economic theme while regional authorities have roles related to health and education.


The following table identifies three major objectives pertaining to the economy: managing large-scale marine traffic activities, taking advantage of large-scale economic opportunities and strengthening and diversifying the local economy.


Assess and develop an adaptive management
response to climate change
·  Prepare the communities for anticipated social and economic changes
Manage large-scale marine traffic·  Develop means to track Arctic marine traffic·  Use Marine Mammal Regulations, Community Conservation Plans, the Environmental Impact Screening Committee and other processes to minimize negative impacts on communities and maximize economic opportunities
Prepare to take advantage of largescale
economic opportunities in the
coastal and marine environment
·   Support sustainable large-scale economic development (e.g., oil & gas, shipping)·   Coordinate with community socio-economic development agendas
Strengthen and diversify local and
northern economy
·   Enhance existing small businesses and development of new innovative local and northern businesses connected directly or indirectly to marine resources and services


The following table addresses cultural goals including the objectives of strengthening culturally important marine traditions and promoting a vibrant subsistence economy.


Generate and promote opportunities
to practice and share culturally
important traditions, sites and
·  Identify and protect culturally important historic sites and artifacts· Support on-the-land teaching programs to transfer traditional skills and practices·  Support and participate in local practices and events
Promote a vibrant local subsistence
·  Assess and manage for a safe and accessible supply of marine resources and culturally important species·  Support inter-community trade (e.g., traditional foods and crafts) and develop trade access to outside markets


The following table lists objectives that encompass career opportunities, greater educational success, improved mental and physical health and a greater capacity to respond to ocean-related challenges and opportunities.


Engage and support the objectives of the Beaufort Delta Agenda and the MGP Impact Fund·         Develop partnerships, cooperative relationships, initiatives and funding arrangements
Improve long-term local and northern career opportunities reliant on ocean based resources·  Enhance access to local training and skill development
Increase educational success of the local population·  Support the Beaufort Delta Agenda and Mackenzie Gas Project Impact Fund
·  Increase awareness and provide opportunities for people to participate in research and monitoring projects
Increase individual and community mental and physical health and wellbeing·  Educate on the nutritional value and quality of country foods
·  Promote active lifestyles and on-the-land activities related to ocean marine resources, services and traditions
Increase community capacity to respond to ocean based challenges and opportunities·  Increase local emergency response and management capabilities for ocean-related incidents
·  Strengthen local governance
·  Develop community infrastructure required for related economic growth (e.g., ports) and spin-off industries (e.g., taxis, tourism, hotels)
·  Provide public awareness on ocean-related issues

Many of the objectives and strategies noted for the SCE theme are linked to engaging and supporting the objectives of the Beaufort Delta Agenda and the Mackenzie Gas Project Impact Fund (MGPIF), through the development of partnerships, cooperative relationships, initiatives (including IRC’s Indicator Project) and funding arrangements.