Ministers say resource projects attract trained workers, but keeping them after construction is finished is a challenge.
Nick McGrath of Newfoundland and Labrador says his province expects a shortage of 70,000 workers in the next decade.
Government officials also say better housing and quality of life would help keep people in northern communities.
Eric Robinson, Manitoba's minister of northern affairs, says his province is negotiating to sell hydroelectricity to Alberta, Saskatchewan and the North.
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