Developing northern economies: Spotlight Finland

An Agnico Eagle Mines operation in Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)
An Agnico Eagle Mines operation in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)

Despite increased commercial activity in the world’s northern regions, the challenge of developing local economies remain.

This is true not only in the Canadian Arctic, but around the circumpolar world.

This summer, Eye on the Arctic looks back at our coverage of how different northern regions are tackling these issues – What they can learn from Canada, and what Canada can learn from them.

Today, we take a look back at Finland’s Arctic Lapland region.

Timo Rautajoki, CEO of the Lapland Chamber of Commerce, says that remote locations and sparse populations are just some of the challenges faced by the majority of northern regions, but that increasing links and sharing best practices can help break down some of these barriers.

Rautajoki points to the positive economic impact Canadian mining companies have had on the economy of northern Finland. Canadian company Agnico Eagle Mines operates near the Finland tourist centre of Levi, and the boom the two operations have given the region show that development can be win-win for everyone, he said.

“The benefit is coming to the whole society,” Rautajoki said. “(You see) more jobs, better tax income and better transport and communications. I think it’s one of the best examples in whole Finland of how things should be going.”

To find out more, I spoke earlier this year with Timo Rautajoki around the time of Finland’s 2013 Arctic Business Forum.

To listen, click here

Related Link:

Arctic Business Forum

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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