Both historically and presently, NACC has been involved in the area of economic development for the communities in Northern Manitoba that are members of the NACC, between crown corporations and communities and/or private corporations and communities. Indeed, the whole character and complexion of the economic structure of the communities in and beyond NACC has changed drastically over the last thirty years or more. Some aspects of these changes have been advantageous and desirable, while others have been detrimental and undesirable.
It should be dually noted that historically, many major projects in the north typically did not employ any substantial numbers of northern inhabitants, particularly those of Aboriginal descent. NACC has held a long-term interest in fostering local development that will yield favourable and long-term economic benefits to communities in Northern Manitoba. It is a central objective of NACC to have more funds made available to the inhabitants of Northern Manitoba for development of local fishing industries, Aboriginal crafts industries, trapping, transportation, commercial construction, tourism and recreational development.
NACC has assisted its membership in addressing problems with transportation. Many communities were in the past only accessible only by air or alternatively, in some instances by water. NACC was instrumental in making many of these communities accessible by air, road and/or water. NACC advocated for more adequate systems of transportation in order to improve not only accessibility to and mobility from these communities, but also to improve the overall quality of life for those living in remote areas. These improvements have made the cost of shipping goods and supplies into communities much easier and less expensive, so that the communities within NACC could contribute to real and meaningful development in Northern Manitoba.
A majority of the housing in the communities in Northern Manitoba are currently substandard and of inferior quality. NACC has been very active in the organization of a program that assisted communities in determining their specific housing needs. NACC established an entity known as NACC Housing in the mid-seventies in order to initiate action under the existing National Housing Act programs to meet the housing needs of the many communities within NACC jurisdiction. The NACC Housing Corporation is currently defunct, although it is still a much-needed support that could benefit the membership of NACC, should the proper resources be made available.
The mining industry, hydroelectric projects and other large construction programs have provided employment for the inhabitants of certain areas of Northern Manitoba in the past. However, these periods of employment have been short-lived for the most part. Employment has always been and remains until today an issue of tremendous importance of NACC. Over the past several years, much of the scarcity of populations in rural and remote communities in the north could be attributed to a lack of employment opportunities. NACC has cooperated with all of the major employers in Northern Manitoba by providing information and advice to community councils in respect to employment opportunities and all training and employment programs available to said communities.
Many of the NACC communities in Northern Manitoba have relied on Commercial fresh water fishing as their main source for livelihood. Due to mass environmental degradation, (largely the result of river diversions done by Manitoba Hydro and resultant flooding to lakes and land in the North), this industry has been greatly affected.
NACC has been active in presenting the views of its membership in regards to the problems of those communities and settlements where fishing was and/or is the main source of income for the inhabitants.
Recreation facilities in the North are still lacking and in the past several decades have been virtually non-existent. The provision of such facilities is considered to be a high priority item for the majority of the communities within the NACC. NACC regards the provision of recreational facilities as an essential part of the infrastructure of these communities. Assistance for the capital funding of recreational facilities must be obtained through programs or other assistance from senior governments. NACC has actively supported provisions of improved recreational facilities through submissions to both senior governments for special programs to be instituted for this purpose. The training and implementation of recreation directors in northern communities increase access for northern residents and young people in particular, opportunities to compete in sports activities in the north.
NACC firmly believes that economic and political development in the communities must be accompanied through social development. A focus on education, culture and other social matters is integral to the communities in the North, as in most communities. Although it has been acknowledged that the communities of the NACC cannot solely depend on government funding for social development initiatives, the communities are in need of initial financial support so that they may eventually become self-sufficient in funding and administering programs. Certain criteria, such as infrastructure and funding agencies must be in place in order to sustain social development initiatives.