Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada (SERNNoCa) as a network of university and college-based researchers and representatives of community-based organizations is conducting research relevant to the social economy in Canada’s North. While important for arriving at a regional understanding of how the social economy functions and the variety of social conditions it faces, the research also aims to survey the full diversity of social economy actors, systems, and practices extent in the North. In particular, the research is examining the nature and relationship of the social economy to the collectivist traditions of Northern indigenous societies.
Social economy refers to the grassroots voluntary or non-profit sector outside both the government (public) and private for-profit sectors. In addition to non-governmental organizations, cooperatives, and charitable foundations, the social economy of the North may also embrace many of the traditional economic activities of aboriginal societies given its focus on democratic values that enhance community life.
In addition to the formidable challenges intrinsic to the history, climate, and geography of the Canadian North, arctic and sub-arctic communities are currently undergoing rapid social, cultural, economic, and environmental change. However, the social economy as a third sector beyond both public and private, has long offered tools to help these communities face these challenges as seen by the region’s rich variety of both aboriginal and non-aboriginal third sector organizations. Northern governments, both indigenous and public, can use research on this sector in order to evolve realistic program and community economic development policies that builds on this rich experience while tapping into the emerging scholarship in the field.
This website highlights the nodal activities of the Northwest Territories branch of SERNNoCA. For more information on the overall efforts of the network, please visit the official project site.