During the first trip to Canada (more info, click here), Johan participated at a four-day workshop on governance and development issues related to the north of Canada, Norway and Sweden.
The discussions were very fruitful and although none of the other participants focused on labour processes in the mining sector, a lot of relevant matters related to it were discussed. One key matter was the relation large companies in the mining and energy sector have with aboriginal people. In Canada, aboriginal people have stronger legal rights and recognitions, but they also face tougher social challenges with poverty, alcoholism etc. It was mentioned that those aboriginal communities that develop their capabilities to act as contractors/suppliers to the mine or power plant and that demand such opportunities as part of their agreement with the companies seem to be better off. This does not seem as common in Sweden, perhaps to some extent because the Samis are not recognized in the same way as aboriginals in Canada. Samis do, however, face less of the social challenges that aboriginals do in Canada. So, in Canada, many contractors are owned by First Nation bands as a direct effect of the agreement regarding the use of their land. This makes them directly involved in the labour process and highly relevant to our project!