“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.