A feature of the polar regions is that they are the integral part of economic areas of northern states. Northern Canada constitutes a single macro-region that changes the ecological balance, which does not have national boundaries. Northern territories are important not only economically and politically but also in the cultural sense (Bone, 2013). They are considered a natural and very powerful ecological and geographical barrier since they determine and constantly increase the level of environmental degradation of the planet. It is also worth mentioning that Northern Canada practically forms the Earth's climate (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). In the context of the progressive depletion and pollution of the environment, the northern territories of Canada are endowed with diverse nature. Consequently, the conservation need should have its due attention. Historical and cultural values of the area are no less obvious than the natural ones. Lifestyles, languages of people, and their cultural heritage are the important layer of world culture.
Policy of the federal government of Canada's northern territories on different strategic investments in social and economic infrastructure helped ensure the alignment of interests with provincial and territorial partners and indigenous people (Bone, 2013). The strategy to diversify the economy and develop long-term plans was chosen as the strategic direction for the future development of the region. The governments of northern provinces are increasing social housing, and, at the same time, they are enlarging the number of public work places (Bone, 2013). The growth targets a number of traditional sectors such as mining, oil and gas, and fishery. They are developed in such a way as to ensure their implementation while preserving the traditional way of life of indigenous people.
One of the main sectors of the northern territories is mining (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). It includes mining together with oil and gas extraction. Today, the north of Canada has the mines of gold, tungsten, and other ores together with the mines of base metals (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). In regard to the mining complex in Canada, the share of iron ore obtained in the northern territories is 90%, and the extraction of lead, nickel, copper, zinc, and uranium accounts for 50% (Bone, 2013). Moreover, 10% of Canada’s extraction of gold, silver, tungsten, and asbestos are also situated in the north (Bone, 2013). In addition, this region, which is rich in oil and gas, may acquire special significance against the backdrop of the current political instability in the Arab countries, which are among the largest suppliers of energy resources. If the instability continues, this may lead to a shortage of energy resources that may cause the need to develop new fields.
Human resources are one of the key factors in the successful development of the northern region (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). In the settlements of indigenous people today, there are few jobs, and the population has to work mostly in the administrative agencies. In this regard, people leave their communities for a short or long time, which affects badly the life of small communities. They lose members who are responsible for assistance in training, hunting, and other important areas of life. Thus, life supporting northerners should be a priority while developing a policy of the region. It is necessary to preserve and maintain the traditional system of environmental management and provide cultural, historical, and social integrity of the indigenous people of the North. Providing traditional nature presupposes the existence of vast areas untouched by industrial and other economic structures. Despite the fact that hunting, fishing, and gathering continue to occupy an important place in the life of the indigenous population, it is also involved in the market economy as soon as there is such an opportunity. For example, fishing for commercial purposes is widespread in the region (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). Until recently, it has been difficult to fish because of the Arctic ice cover and the lack of appropriate infrastructure. However, the global warming is raising the temperature of the ocean, and large stocks of fish are now available for fishing. In addition to fishing, seal hunting is very developed in the North. By volume, it is the largest in the world. It is an important source of income and food in small coastal communities.
In order to achieve the economic well-being, improve the lives of indigenous people, and reduce economic risks, the region needs to diversify the northern economy by investing in different directions. One of the areas with great prospects is tourism. Nowadays, tourism is underdeveloped, but it has a great potential, and in recent years, there has been significant progress in this direction (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). In the north of Canada, high technology is also developing actively. All these aspects are indicative of particular importance to the region in the context of the whole country.
The basis of the economy in British Columbia is constituted by natural resources. In this province, the transcontinental highways, railways, and ports are the largest on the Pacific coast of Canada. Due to the warm and mild climate and disregarding the fact that less than five percent of the provincial land is arable, agriculture is very developed. It is especially true in the Okanagan Valley and Fraser (McGillivray, 2009). The climate in the province influences the development of tourism and outdoors recreational activities. However, the main items of income to the budget of the province are still mining and logging.
Forestry still ranks first among industries based on the use of natural resources. Furthermore, mining is developed in the mountains and meets the needs of the market in metals from antimony to zinc (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). Moreover, rains are brought by the Pacific Ocean to flow down from the mountains to lakes and rivers. Many rivers generate hydropower that is exported to the United States. Finally, fishing in the province is based on the production of five species of salmon (McGillivray, 2009).
About 60 percent of British Columbia is covered with forests (Bone, 2013). Rainforests on the coast deserve special attention, with their red cedar, western hemlock, and Douglas fir. The climate is humid here, thus preventing the spread of forest fires. The trees reach the height of more than 90 meters (McGillivray, 2009). Undergrowth and slowly rotting fallen trees serve as a kind of filter for water flowing in streams and lakes. Fragrant and light cedar trees were a major part of the culture of indigenous people of the Northwest. Woodcutters use a straight trunk of Douglas fir, which is the ideal material for the construction, and soft wood hemlock is used as wood pulp for papermaking. Deforestation began during the formation of the first colonies on the coast and along the rivers, but the region is still rich in forests. Construction of railways opened the access to previously inaccessible forest resources.
Nevertheless, more importance has the mining sector. Mining of non-ferrous, precious, and radioactive metals is concentrated in the southern part of the Canadian Shield, particularly in British Columbia (Bone, 2013). The most important incentive for the development of mining in Canada is a great demand for its products from other capitalist countries, which tend to be in dire need of wide import. British Columbia is rich in the types of minerals necessary for the modern industry (with the exception of bauxite, manganese, chromium, diamonds, phosphates, and some rare metals). Canada has 4.1% of the total and 4.8% of proven world reserves of molybdenum, and the main deposits are in British Columbia (Bone, 2013). Kimberley Mine is one of the largest mines in the world. It is known for the reserves of silver, lead, and zinc (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). The mining sector makes Canada the world’s second capitalist in the sphere, right after the United States.
The picturesque coastal ranges have become a real symbol of British Columbia. They attract more and more tourists every year. Three-quarters of the province are mountainous (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). The valleys located on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley are the regions of British Columbia that produce wine. The Okanagan region is known as one of the wine regions of Canada (McGillivray, 2009). In addition to excellent wines, it is engaged in the production of cider.
The traditional economic base of British Columbia is the exploitation of natural resources. Forestry, agriculture, fishery, and mining provide the majority of economic prosperity and jobs for the inhabitants of this region. Development of the industrial sector of the economy in British Columbia does not come without problems. First, the seemingly inexhaustible forest resources are facing the need of reforestation. Because of forest diseases, the forest area of British Columbia reduces by 5,000 square km per year (Province of British Columbia, 2014). The acid rain is another major problem of the region. It led to decreased share of forestry in economic activity of the region. Its recent share of both goods-producing activity and total provincial GDP dropped below historical averages. In 2014, total employment in the forestry sector amounted to 2.7% of all jobs in the province, and the volume of log and lumber production fell to extremely low levels (Province of British Columbia, 2014).
Although the exploitation of natural resources is still a very important part of the Canadian economy, the changes in the global economy have caused structural alterations in the economies of many industrialized capitalist countries. Pollution caused by industry is one of the major environmental problems of British Columbia. Damming of rivers for power generation has become an obstacle to salmon migration to the spawning grounds upstream. As a result, the amount of salmon decreased greatly. The restrictions on salmon fishing were imposed eventually in order to preserve the species (Province of British Columbia, 2014).
Currently, one of the most important challenges that British Columbia is facing is the economic and social disadvantage of its indigenous population. As a result of colonial oppression and other forms of exploitation, the standard of living in the Aboriginal communities appeared to be one of the lowest in Canada. Many people believe that the solution to this problem lies in the provision of Aboriginal self-government (Tremblay & Chicoine, 2013). The government has to grant the indigenous population with the autonomy mainly in political and economic issues related to the future of the communities. The provision of Aboriginal self-government will require numerous resources: financial, physical, and human.
Another important challenge that the community of British Columbia is experiencing is gambling. The number of strongly dependent players in the province has more than doubled. The provincial government has taken billions in gaming revenue. The percentage of problem gamblers among those surveyed for the report remains at a relatively low level of 0.9 per cent (Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling, 2014). In 2013, the province allocated $5.6 million or 0.5 percent of its gaming revenue to problem gamblers treatment (Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling, 2014). Nevertheless, only a small percentage of problem gamblers accept the initiative.
Still, economic development depends mainly on the development of the sector of essential goods regardless of whether they are produced on the basis of local natural resources or by industrial methods. Now, the basis of new economy lies in information and intellectual products. In the past, the resource sector of British Columbia could compete in the production of raw materials internationally. However, cheaper production, which appeared in developing countries, has made the prices of products fall. Therefore, the future of British Columbia's competitive advantage lies in the possible development of production technology resources that could be sold to developing countries.