NACC exists to act as an advocacy group in order to serve the interests of (up to) 56 Community Councils that NACC represents in the Northern Manitoba region. The communities served by these councils fall within the jurisdiction of the Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, formerly known as the Department of Native and Northern Affairs. NACC serves to provide a unified and collective voice for the communities that it represents as they encounter important developmental phases.
The Association was modelled after the vision of a few northern mayors shortly following the introduction of a local government system for Northern Manitoba. It was identified at this time that several remote and/or isolated communities could have a much stronger voice if they spoke as one collective entity. In 1970, the NACC would begin with a membership of merely 11 communities, and eventually escalate to as many as 56 communities by the year 2000.
The core objective of NACC is to promote the improvement of services to communities. Services to communities are those that may be classified as government services including the following, which are referred to in the Northern Affairs Act:
- Water supply
- Sewage disposal
- Garbage disposal
- Roads and drainage systems
- Fire and police protection
- Street lighting
- Community planning
- Public transportation systems
- Libraries and schools
NACC strives to make governments aware of the needs of its membership, and accountable to the communities within their jurisdiction. The success of NACC is based on the principle that unity is essential to political strength.
NACC has assisted communities by helping them to assess the economic potential of the regions in which they are located. NACC also investigates circumstances, which may inhibit the development process in said communities, and also makes recommendations for the removal of such circumstances. NACC is very pro-active in encouraging all parties involved in the developmental process, (i.e., communities and governments) to cooperate in so that all objectives may be met. The NACC holds an Annual General Conference in Winnipeg so that its members may gather to share ideas, create plans, implement changes and make collective recommendations to governments.